An Examination of Multimedia

March 18, 2010

The first thing I’m drawn to in The Long Haul by Lucian Read is the essay portion rather than the pictures that I have deemed too intense for 10 o’ clock in the morning. He talks about his son, not yet born, and his morning breakfast habits of fresh pomegranate juice and weak tea while he is away. I love this view from the inside of Afghanistan from an evident outsider. He is armed with camera as the others around him are incessantly ready to aim and fire bullets.

Looking at the three pictures available in The Long Haul Gallery, I don’t get as transparent a picture as the one he provides of Kabul in his introductory essay. Of the three pictures, I only connect with this one.  Probably because the man baring a nameplate of “Stafford” on his camouflage uniform is staring right into the camera. I would have loved to see pictures of pomegranate plants, or pictures of the people of Afghanistan sweating or shriveling because of the extreme change of temperatures Read has described previously in his essay.

Another Digital Journalist feature called Sides of the Wire: America in Afghanistan by David Bathgate features more personal documents of life in Kabul.

The photo of the completely covered Shiite Muslim woman, turned away from the camera is the one I connect with the most. It might be the ghastly green color of the doors she is trying to feel her way back in through. These photos capture the little details that convey important things about life in Afghanistan. In this picture I noticed the little photos he has glued to the little step stool or seat the baker has next to him. As you can see, the photo is very grainy even though it’s apparently very bright when Bathgate took this photo. I wonder how come. Maybe it was a lack of access to high-quality photo equipment that was easy to lug around.

Dslrnewsshooter.com offers another look into the Afghanistan War with photos taken by PBS Frontline photojournalist Danfung Dennis. This feature offered a limited behind-the-scenes look at how Dennis has managed to capture the story of the U.S. Marines on a mission against the Taliban.

The photojournalist who is sent to this war ridden plane is the most objective eye to capture what’s going on. I feel photojournalists are more looking for artful or emotional scenes rather than hard news. Reading an interview with Dennis linked on the DSLR feature, it seems as though he has only a rough idea of why he is there.

“I didn’t personally see any Taliban. The Marines say it is very much like fighting a ghost. They’re very difficult to see, and even if they did actually kill or injure one of the Taliban, there were never any bodies.”
–Danfung Dennis

The Long Haul [The Digital Journalist]
Sides of War [The Digital Journalist]
How I Cover the Afghanistan War with the 5dmkII [DSLR News Shooter]

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