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Informing Contexts – Constructed Images in the Media

Some constructed images alter the true view of an event.  But are they lies?  The images below show several different versions of the dead body of 15-year-old Fabienne Cherisma.  She was shot dead by police on January 19th 2010 for reportedly stealing three framed pictures in Port-au-Prince after the Haitian earthquake. The photograph won an award for the photographer Paul Hansen. The photograph taken by Carlos Garcia Rawlins was reportedly taken minutes before Hansen and others arrived at the scene. The body of Cherisma has been moved between images.  The blood trail is present in some images and not in others.  Which photograph do we believe?  Are any of them lies?

Figure 1: Various 2010 

Whilst the image has been constructed, in my opinion it is still not a lie.  Cherisma is still dead, allegedly shot for stealing.  The construction of the resulting images does not change that fact. The constructed images have allowed us to see her more clearly and identify with her plight more.

The photograph below shows the mass of photographers around Cherisma’s body, all capturing a constructed image.

Figure 2: Prison Photography 2010

Today, internet use is ubiquitous and we often turn to social media networks to see what the latest news is.  This means we need to sift through the fake news stories to find the ones that are true.  The images on these sites have not been filtered for content.  People seem intent to post the most shocking pictures just to get a reaction and a following.  News now reaches us in real-time, often hours before the official media outlets publish the story.

But this style of journalism led by normal people around the world, is a double edged sword.  We do not know what to believe.  Unchecked facts and names released without the security forces agreement can lead to suspects getting away or the wrong people being hunted down.  In the case of the Boston marathon bombings in 2013, a manhunt for the wrong person resulted in the falsely accused man committing suicide.


FIGURE 1: Shot To Death | Sanjiv Bhattacharya. 2017. Shot To Death | Sanjiv Bhattacharya. [ONLINE] Available at: http://sanjivb.com/blog/shot-to-death/. [Accessed 20 February 2017].

FIGURE 2: Prison Photography. 2017. Fabienne Cherisma | Prison Photography. [ONLINE] Available at: https://prisonphotography.org/tag/fabienne-cherisma/. [Accessed 20 February 2017].


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