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The importance of context

I was really struck by the emotion of the police officer in this ad on the front page of Yahoo to donate to the Red Cross. He looks like he's just breaking down. I wondered who he was and if we'd ever find out what was going on in this photo.

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And here's the same photo again, with the officer i.d.'d and some context provided for what he was doing. According to the caption, yes, he was looking for victims, but he was also "cooling down" in the rain. Suddenly his expression doesn't look like grief, but like relief. Not to take away at all from his terrible task or the awful conditions. But, to me, the caption made me look at the photo differently.

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 1st, 2005 08:56 pm (UTC)
Just goes to show that context is everthing.
Sep. 1st, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC)

It's like that film experiment where they intercut the same photo of a man so that it seemed he was looking at a woman or a plate of food, and his expression went from horny to hungry.

Sep. 1st, 2005 09:23 pm (UTC)
LOL, which is essentially the same thing.


(Also, GIP)
Sep. 1st, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC)
Well, with the tragedy of 9-11, we're programmed to be looking for these moving images to rally around. It becomes a historical, but artistic documentation that we can identify our own feelings with.

They mixed some of the saddest soundbites with Listen to your Heart by DHT, and I swear, I'm standing in 98 degree weather with goosebumps. I haven't cried yet, but I feel like that dam is gonna break soon.
Sep. 1st, 2005 09:21 pm (UTC)
It's true, it is an iconic image, like so many we're seeing, like one I saw today of one yellow schoolbus in a sea of thousands of people outside the Superdome. Just so completely inadequate to the job.

I saw a Red Cross ad last night, Johnny Cash singing (I forget the song now), in that broken voice of his, and wow, had me choking up. Of course, that's not hard if you just turn on the TV at all these days.
Sep. 1st, 2005 09:25 pm (UTC)
Ugh, I'm sorry, but that just pisses me off. That's just a blantant manipulation of our emotions, just like when they put 9/11 soundbites to Enrique's "Hero". To me, it's inappropriate and a little wrong.

Sorry, I'll quit ranting on you, heh.
Sep. 1st, 2005 09:39 pm (UTC)
nah...it's alright...it annoyed me the first time, and I don't really want to lose this song that I love to the memory of this...Is that completely cruel? I don't really think so.

But here's the lyrics. The guy whose wife was swept away, who said to take care of their kids...*shiver*

Sometimes you wonder if this fight is worthwhile.
The precious moments are all lost in the tide, yea.
They're swept away and nothing is what is seems,
the feeling of belonging to your dreams.

Sep. 2nd, 2005 12:47 am (UTC)
It's a fine line between showing the news and exploiting it and pop songs (especially *crappy* ones) cross the line, if you ask me.
Sep. 1st, 2005 10:34 pm (UTC)
Isn't it amazing how a visual can be interpreted completely different than what's going on in it, really?

It's like this one photo I once saw in Smithsonian of George Bush Sr. in the Gulf War. He's giving a Thanksgiving Eve speech to the troops, and he has one arm up in the air, gesturing boldly, as the men look up at him with rapt attention and serious faces. Guess what's happening?

He's distributing tie clips.
Sep. 2nd, 2005 12:48 am (UTC)
Wow. It pays to look a little harder, doesn't it?
Sep. 2nd, 2005 01:55 pm (UTC)
Good lord
I have avoided as much news as possible over the past week, but I clicked on your cut to see these pics and I'll be damned if that man isn't in Waveland, Mississippi. That's where my grandparents spend every winter and where me and my kids spent Spring Break last year. It was such a beautiful little gulf coast town...

Jeez...everything I click on in your journal has some personal attachment for me...
Sep. 4th, 2005 05:39 am (UTC)
Re: Good lord
The news is so harrowing, I totally understand you've been avoiding it. Especially since you have small children. The devastation is staggering.

As a new dog owner, I was in tears over stories I read today of people having to leave pets behind. That was my final straw in following the coverage and I decided to unplug for now.

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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