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Old May 3rd, 2004, 11:20 PM
Tim L. Walker's Avatar
Tim L. Walker Tim L. Walker is offline
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Seattle Times' Photo Sparks National Debate

Article: Times' Photo Sparks National Debate & other articles

Summary: A moving photo published by the Seattle Times is stirring a national debate. The Pentagon says the picture is insensitive to military families. The paper claims the photo tells a compelling story. The photo, taken by a Seattle woman working in Kuwait, shows 21 flag-draped caskets of soldiers killed in Iraq this month.

Question: I'm sure most of you (at least those living in the US) have seen/heard about this photo and the debate that followed. As photographers, what are your thoughts on this? Should photographs of fallen US soldiers be something that the public sees, or does the government have the right to suppress these photos from public eye?
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Old May 9th, 2004, 04:04 PM
Dephie Dephie is offline
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I don't live in the US, but we get a lot of US news up this way... I don't see why those photos shouldn't be shown... We see all sorts of graphic photographs from wars... why not photographs of coffins that show us the price of these wars?
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Old May 12th, 2004, 12:48 AM
Successguy Successguy is offline
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Well I think the point is that it's disrespectful to the service men/women and their families. But yes, I agree with you Dephie, we need to see the price paid for these wars.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 01:46 AM
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Tim L. Walker Tim L. Walker is offline
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Do you really find it disrespectful, though? The photos themselves showed rows of coffins with American flags over them... I think most soldiers and families would be proud that their son/daughter died protecting their country.

Honestly, I think regardless how you look at it, pictures like these need to be shown.
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Old May 14th, 2004, 02:05 AM
Successguy Successguy is offline
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No, I don't find it disrespectful to publish such pictures. But I was offering what I think *some* of those who are against it are saying.

Say someone had a son who died over there and didn't want pictures of his coffin used for political reasons, i.e. to garner support for a political candidate based on his stance on the war. Well I can understand that person's feelings towards this. That doesn't mean I agree that the Govt. has the right to supress such images.

But there is another group I'm sure who are against it strictly for political reasons, which is a different story. They don't want the pictures shown, *solely* because it might garner support for the politcal opposition. In this case, I would say tough beans, even if it is my side that could potentially be hurt politically, because censorship is not a good thing and is not the answer.

The bottom line is yes, I agree with you, the pictures need to be shown. It's like Dephie says, the price of war must be known.
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Old May 14th, 2004, 02:35 AM
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Tim L. Walker Tim L. Walker is offline
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Yeah, exactly... good points... political agendas have to be left out of the equasion (if possible)
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Old May 26th, 2004, 07:00 AM
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CathieT CathieT is offline
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I don't believe that showing the coffins is disrespectful, if anything, it "validates" the soldiers' existence, they aren't just one of a faceless, nameless "army" that the powers that be would have you see. When you humanise war, you can see up close and personal just what a waste political and religious fighting is .....
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Old May 26th, 2004, 04:01 PM
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Well put, CathieT... that's exactly how I see it as well.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Successguy
Well I think the point is that it's disrespectful to the service men/women and their families. But yes, I agree with you Dephie, we need to see the price paid for these wars.
Totally agree. While it is important to keep respect for the families and deceased, it is the price of war. Nothing is free. As a non-american living in america, I have to say that those pictures achieve a lot more then just shock value. I think it really hits home to each and every one of us the reality of what the soldiers are going through, and that it could be me, you, your best friend.... anyone.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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Siberpop Siberpop is offline
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As a retired military man, who had a son serve in Iraq, I see both sides of the issue. The military has a policy of no photos which is supposed to prevent exploitation of dead soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines and insult to the families. The same no photos policies protect sensitive areas on military bases. As a matter of respect it, should not have been taken. As a matter of policy, it should not have been taken. As a matter of law, I don't know the circumstances well enough to be sure, but most military airfields I've been on have a "No Photos" policy and are designated "Restricted Areas". We have the right to free speech and once published the photos do make a compelling statement. What the cost of that statement is must now be borne by families who have already paid too much.
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