AFP photographer Ilia Yefimovich sounds pretty defensive about his 2010 photo of a Palestinian kid getting hit by a car in Silwan.
Yesterday, his image was chosen Best Photograph in a Tel Aviv exhibition. Yefimovich talked about it with Haaretz:
Yefimovich vehemently denies these claims. “Who staged the photo? It can also be interpreted in defense of the driver. Who staged it? The children who felt like being run over that day?”
Yefimovich told Haaretz that he arrived with other photographers at the area because of the tension in Silwan after a local inhabitant was shot dead by a security guard.
“On the way there, stones were hurled at me as well,” recalls Yefimovich, “little children throw stones in Silwan, that’s the essence of the place.”
The image was the result of an unspoken — but understood — dynamic: that the very presence of photographers influences the behavior of the stone throwers. Italian photographer Ruben Salvadori was so disgusted by this dynamic, he exposed it by pointing his camera at the cameramen.
Salvadori was even more specific in an exclusive interview with HonestReporting:
I was shocked by hearing how many photographers were completely sure that seeing us arriving on the spot in a pack, carrying helmets, gas masks and an average of two big cameras each, had no effect whatsoever on the parties in conflicts.
. . .
“You claim that we influence the events, so you need to show it in the photograph” was one of the comments that I mostly remember, “show the photographer telling a boy to pose for the camera”. This was clearly missing the point, as influencing an event does not mean actively manipulating it.