Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, December 20, 2004

Photo of Assassinations Raises Questions

Eddie Adams It Ain't.

Hat tip to Belmont Club for getting me thinking about this with their reference to Eddie Adams' famous photograph of the execution of Vietcong Captain Bay Lop by South Vietnamese General Nguyen Ngoc Loan. As Belmont points out, Adams was invited to the execution by Gen. Loan and had the opportunity to ready himself for the shot ... well, two shots: Gen. Loan's with a gun and his with a camera.

This was not the case with this photo of the assassination of election workers in Baghdad, but I still wonder about the news judgment involved in publishing it. As shocking as the photo is, it could have been much more shocking.

Zooming in would help, which could have been done by an editor as well as it could have been by a photographer.

Presumably, the next frame would have shown the execution, not the moment before the execution. Another frame might have shown the face of the person about to be executed. Either would have had much more impact than this photo.

Adams' photo was used to fuel anti-war sentiment, even though Bay Lop deserved his fate. It seems as if photo editors just may have decided they didn't want to fuel an anti-insurgent sentiment, so they muted the impact of what might have been a very powerful photo.