The Bang Bang Club Book Review

1258 words - 5 pages

Nowadays, photojournalism plays an essential role in the media. Almost every article has at least one picture on the side, which makes a pertinent job in attracting readers’ attention. The photos depicting victims of tragic events are preferred by the media, since they make a good lead. Even though some readers might feel offended by photos presenting shocking events, many Pulitzer Price winning photos have violence and poverty as topics. They horrify people, they are shocking, but controversy makes them popular and thus, they serve their cause: to point out that our society is not perfect. “It is as if viewers want to see violent pictures, but through gaps in the fingers in front of their face.”1Everyone has a word to say about controversial pictures. But not many think of what the photographer had to undergo to take that picture. Few people perceive photojournalism as a risky job.Four American photojournalists experienced great risks to cover the South African war during 1990-1994. Greg Marinovich, Joao Silva, Kevin Carter and Ken Oosterbroek formed “The Bang-Bang Club,” nickname a South African magazine gave them for being fearless and also reckless in taking their job to extremes. During the struggle to end the apartheid, the four white photographers had their privileges -“relative protection afforded by their skin,”2 but they had to pay extreme psychological costs, and two of them even with their lives.The risk being so high and the pictures controversial, a couple of moral questions came up: How much should a photographer risk in taking a photo? And when should he stop being a simple photographer and get involved into what is happening around?“These were the moral dilemmas the four members of the Bang-Bang Club grappled with on a daily basis.”3 They were all rewarded with honors as photojournalists for the risky job they had done. Marinovich won the Pulitzer for Spot News in 1990, with his picture “Hostel Wars,” depicting a burning man as a young boy runs away.Three years later, Carter won the Pulitzer Price for Feature Photography for one of his photos of a starving girl stalked by a vulture. The image of the emaciated child making her way to a feeding center became a symbol of many humanitarian groups in their fundraising campaigns. It served a good cause, so it was worth taking it, some might say. But others raised some moral issues concerning the duty of a photojournalist – when does it end, when should the journalist intervene and help the people he or she is taking pictures of? Carter could have chased the vulture away, and helped the girl to get to the humanitarian center, which was only one hundred meters away.4 Had he done this, the event would not have reached so many people. The picture would not have had the same effect if it was of a starving girl brought to a relief station. Also, the image would have reflected a distorted reality: the photographer had intervened in...

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