About to Die: How News Images Move the Public by Barbie Zelizer

By Barbie Zelizer

Because of its skill to freeze a second in time, the photograph is a uniquely robust equipment for ordering and knowing the realm. but if a picture depicts complicated, ambiguous, or debatable events--terrorist assaults, wars, political assassinations--its skill to persuade conception can turn out deeply unsettling. Are we actually seeing the area "as it is" or is the picture a fabrication or projection? How do a photo's content material and shape form a viewer's impressions? What do such photos give a contribution to old reminiscence? 'About to Die' specializes in one emotionally charged classification of stories photograph--depictions of people who're dealing with drawing close death--as a prism for addressing such very important questions. monitoring occasions as wide-ranging because the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, the Holocaust, the Vietnam warfare, and Sept. 11, Barbie Zelizer demonstrates that modes of journalistic depiction and the facility of the picture are mammoth cultural forces which are nonetheless faraway from understood. via a survey of a century of photojournalism, together with shut research of over sixty images, 'About to Die' presents a framework and vocabulary for realizing the inside track imagery that so profoundly shapes our view of the area.

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Extra resources for About to Die: How News Images Move the Public

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65 Graphicness thus is a moveable, serviceable, and debatable convention, dependent on those who invoke it and for which aim. As a standard of depiction whose moderation pushes the “as if ” over the “as is,” it often acts as a barrier when information is too proximate, either culturally or geographically. Viewer involvement in pushing the “as if ” over the “as is” is facilitated by today’s porous mediated environment. As public lobbyists, religious and pedagogic leaders, members of militias and insurgencies, aggrieved or bereaved family members, celebrities and activists all articulate their sentiments about news images, the image moves into environments where multiple displays and meanings can be continuously recrafted.

Chapter 7 tracks the about-to-die image in the so-called war on terror. S. journalism and its public. Taken together, these chapters consider the question of how the “as if ” of news images helps to move the public in its response to unsettled events. Journalism, Memory, and the Voice of the Visual • 27 Through the trope of the about-to-die moment, this book considers how visual subjunctivity has shaped the treatment and response to a slew of unsettled public events over a century and a half of news images, and it targets the strengths and problems this raises.

One recurrent image depicted such individuals jumping or falling from buildings—following fires, accidents, attempts at suicide or, more recently, terror attacks. Because response to the trope did not only depend on journalists and news executives but also on the separate interests of officials, politicians, and viewers, the usefulness that they found in the displays of impending death suggests how central they were to its resonance as a trope. Four such images, discussed here because they spanned half a decade of widespread 38 • About to Die public attention, exemplify how the trope shaped the news of impending death against different interests of the public, Here too the depiction of people formerly unknown to the public helped broaden the trope across the unsettled events of breaking news.

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