Shattered Lens: Part 6 – Photo Bias in Depictions of the IDFMarch 9, 2011 15:01 by Simon Plosker
It is very difficult to portray any military in a positive light for obvious reasons. Soldiers and weaponry are, by their nature, not conducive to creating positive imagery.
The three international wire services, however, consistently employ photo bias to show IDF soldiers in a dehumanized way.
Wire and Boots
Above, we see through the use of camera angles and positioning of the photographer, the jackboots, a gun and barbed wire with the Palestinian and Turkish flags perfectly centralized to create maximum artistic effect. There are only three other demonstrators visible in this picture but it achieves the goal of showing Israeli soldiers in a negative light.
This again is an example of the above technique for the same purpose.
Smoke and Fire
In the images below from AFP/Getty and AP, the thick black smoke is caused by the burning of tires, creating the dramatic background reminiscent of a battlefield.
Gunning For Children
The following images deliberately show children in a position that makes it appear that a weapon is being pointed at them.
Note in the image below, the use of the word “unseen” in the caption in relation to a Palestinian demonstration.
The next three images are made to appear that the IDF is firing directly at Palestinians for no apparent reason, with just the photographer’s description on the caption taken at face value.
The image below highlights another very important aspect of this style of photography.
Through the use of an ultra wide angle lens the photographer is actually standing directly behind the soldier which gives the effect of the picture being elongated and the soldier’s arm being very long.
The photographer is putting himself and the soldier in danger by positioning himself so close. There are very few situations throughout the world, certainly in the Middle East, where an army allows photographers to be in these kind of positions where the army’s own activities can be undermined.
The following pictures show examples of instances where the army are provoked to the point of forcibly removing demonstrators – a PR coup for the demonstrators aided by the photographers.
Indeed, note how some of the demonstrators deliberately pose for the cameras during confrontations with the IDF.
The two images below from the same day from AFP/Getty and AP in Hebron highlight the use of cropped images. The few visible demonstrators indicates how the photographers have made the crops. The photographers also employ certain angles to make the soldiers appear big and the demonstrators small.