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The unphotographed war

Like a tree that falls in the forest and no one is present to hear it fall. Did it make any noise ? The war in Sri Lanka, is it even happening ?

War photographer Don McCullin reflects in the Times ( UK) how the war in Sri Lanka has become another example of how governments manage to  shield themselves from word opinion by blocking photographers to do their jobs. As the USA, along with other countries, continue to loose daily newspapers and reduce staff and cost, so goes the truth in information. It is slowly vanishing. Trust me, if a news outlet would offer $100,000 for any valid images coming out of Sri Lanka, there would have be hundreds of photographers. But why risk your life for $200? or less. Why bother getting arrested or wounded for your images to end up as a few frames in a bland daily wire feed ?

It is just not governments that have succeeded in hiding the truth. Corporations like Getty Images, by applying their “burned grounds” pricing policy, are they accomplices. They have rendered the job of photojournalist unsustainable for individuals. Thus, making it unrewarding to try and capture the images that make us learn.

Citizen photojournalisms, the buzz of  2008, cannot help here, as the victims cannot be observers in their own tragedy. And even if they did, they would have a hard case in getting those images out. Only a pro could have brought us back compelling images.

As McCullin writes, ” I am 74 now and I have been watching this conflict in Sri Lanka unfold with the same horror I felt 50 years ago. We cannot afford to be shielded from what people do to each other in war.”

Thanks Will !

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