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Research Findings

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I have spent the last 9 weeks researching the story behind my main image. Looking at the photograph, there is a man and a woman in uniforms, obviously soldiers, in what looks like a prison. They seem quite intimate, with him protectively leaning over her. Also the huge smiles on their faces seem very genuine along with their sparkling eyes. Their comfort almost suggests that they’re home. But because now we know the story, we know that there is more to it than this.

From my research, I found that the picture we were given wasn’t used much, probably because it’s not ‘shocking ‘ enough. The rest of the series display the torture a lot more graphically, maybe too graphically even, which guarantees the pictures to have a bigger shock-factor.

This picture, like the others, was taken as a souvenir. This put them into the category of Domestic Photography. However, these pictures later became forensic evidence of what happened at Abu Ghraib. So in a way they served as photojournalistic photographs, which could have been taken by a journalist.

But how ethical is it that these photographs were so casually displayed all over the world? Native Iraqi’s who being tortured by the invasive force because in they’re eyes they were ‘all terrorists’? On the other hand you have this photograph of a couple pretty much taking a ‘holiday snapshot’.This will be the main point of discussion for my critical review.
I also came to look at different representations and theories about those representations. The media mainly focused on Lynndie England and Charles Graner who therefore became the faces of this scandal, which turned into the outcome of a twisted love story. Lynndie’s, possibly choreographed, defense more than played up to this reflection of the story, claiming that she was so in love that, even though she didn’t want to be in the pictures, she was did so to please her man. I also found a book, which analyzed Lynndie’s role in the media and the Army, and why she was portrayed in this particular way. What the book suggests is because the Military denotates “hegemonic masculinity”, the Lynndie England case’s message was: when women finally get some significant empowerment, they use it for the worse.

When it comes to justifying what happened, there were a lot of theories. The soldiers claimed that they were following orders, the Bush administration claimed that this was the work of a “few bad apples”. Researching into it, it seemed that there were a lot of policy changes for how detainees were to be treated. Soldiers claimed to be confused and said that they were never given clear guidelines. So why take pictures if you are only following orders? Lynndie England said that they were taking photographs to show the C.I.A their work, who then told them “good job”.  I would have to agree with Seymour Hersh, who said, “372nd abuse almost seems routine, a fact of army life that the soldiers felt no need to hide. Others said that this happened because, for example, Lynndie “came from a place where people didn’t know better”.

But surely all this doesn’t justify what went on?


Written by coskufertingercmp

November 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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