The Show Must Go On

August 14th, 2006 4:40 PM


According to Reuters photographer Zohra Bensemra, an elderly injured woman lies injured in the ruins of her house, awaiting rescue as Bensemra snaps these pictures.

Let's for a moment try to look past the staging elements that we've become accustomed to searching for over the past weeks.

Ignore for a moment the fact that a wounded elderly woman in a bombed out building is unlikely to be in the kind of physical condition needed to drag several pristine sofa pillows through the rubble and make a bed out of them. Look past the fact that she, in her weakened condition, has found a nearly spotless black blanket in the fine gray dust of a bombed out building to cover her legs against the 80 degree cold. Ignore the conveniently-placed bottled water she somehow found intact and had for the middle photo only.

Look past all this, and the total absence of any readily identifiable injury, to momentarily take Zohra Bensemra's word at face value that this is an injured, elderly woman lying in the rubble, that he seems to have stumbled across before help has arrived.

Now place yourself in Zohra Bensemra's shoes.

If you came across someone lying injured in the rubble, would you cry for assistance, seek to comfort her, or stop to determine which camera angle best captures this scene?

Would you come forward quickly and see how badly she is injured and try to render assistance, or would you compose an increasingly intimate montage of photos?

woman2 woman3Reuters, no doubt, will offer the excuse that the photographer has the duty to capture the story, not to become part of it.

I'd like to ask Reuters when a photo-op becomes more important than basic humanity, but I'm afraid they'd be all too ready and willing with an answer.

Update: After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided one element of these photos deserves more attention, so I updated the second photo to highlight the interesting detail.

According to the photographer's caption:

An injured Lebanese woman lies in her damaged house as she waits to be rescued during the first day of ceasefire, at Bint Jbail, east of the port city of Tyre (Soure) August 14, 2006. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra (LEBANON)

If she "waits to be rescued" alone, who, then, is moving the bottled water in the second photo out of frame in the first and third pictures? Is it Gatorade's new fitness drink, "self-Propel?"

Cross-posted at Confederate Yankee.

Update 16:46 by Matthew Sheffield. Allahpundit at Hot Air is tracking more possibly staged photos, this time of damage to cars supposedly bombed by Israel that look rather similar to sledgehammer damage.