Positions and Practice – Week 13

Reflection and Looking Forward

The images shared this week of the gunman shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey have made quite an impact on me.

My fellow students and I have have previously discussed the moral and ethical grounds linked to the sharing of images that some may find distressing or showing content that is, for most, uncomfortable viewing.

Regardless of the reasons for this shooting, the reason I felt most moved by these images was due to the fact that I felt there was something almost poetic to them. I’m not sure I like that reaction – the situation is horrific; a dead man, a gun-wielding assassin, cowering people attending a photo exhibition.

In one image the suit-wearing gunman apparently stands slightly out of shot and out of focus behind the Ambassador – the images more chilling as they could be stills from a movie  – and now, knowing the context, serve as a reminder as to the fragility of life.

Another image shows what appears to be the victim’s spectacles flung across the floor, perhaps when he fell.

I have chosen not to watch the moving footage that has also been shared. I’m not sure if the fact that this took place at a photo exhibition that these moments before and after a life is taken have had more of an impact on me, because it is a situation I can relate more to. Or perhaps it is as a photographer I have questioned if I would have tried to take these images or run away. I think I would have done the same as the instinct to do something that marks a situation such as this, if I could not do anything to change the actual outcome, would be too strong to ignore. Or perhaps it is simply because they show an incredibly sad event that yet again begs the idealist and simplistic question of why can’t humans just get along?

What it has made me realise even more is that photography has to be about a feeling. It needs to invoke a reaction, especially in a plethora of images. It can take many forms; it doesn’t need to seek to shock on purpose and nor does it just have to act as an emotionless recorder. But it does have to make us feel.

It’s wanting to make people feel something that I believe is motivating my work – and maybe, perhaps through imagery we can continue to use it it as a tool that educates and sparks conversations that may potentially influence an individual’s path for the better.

If you have not seen the images I refer to and chose to do so there are a number of online articles but you could visit: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russian-ambassador-turkey-shot-ankara-andrey-karlov-a7484881.html