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Some days I wake up feeling 60 and other days I wake up feeling 6. So if your within that age group .. we can relate.

Monday, February 25, 2008

More then JUST a picture

Well with my mugshot taken for my student ID I am officially a prisoner in Monash and so begins my 3 year sentence there :) Kidding . So far in my 1st week i have no complains , the people have been great , met so many old and new faces , my orientation went smoothly , shook countless hands and introduced myself so many times that even I'm sick of hearing my own name. I spoke to this guy and when i introduced myself it went something like this :

Me : ..... and my name is Malati.

Guy : Oh don't you mean Malathhhhhhhhhiii

Me : No its just Malati its not pronounced with a H

Guy : If you say so.

LoL What, did he think I'd pronounce my OWN name wrongly . Dude after 2o years of living thats one thing I think I got covered . Nice guy tho. Had to allocate my timetable online , with much confusion i managed to get that done . Ah i miss those days where all we had to do (with much groaning and moaning) was copy down to timetables given to us on the first day of school . Next week classes commence, so hello to 8 am lectures and goodbye to afternoon naps . On the brighter side however i have Fridays off :)

Anyways i just watched a program on CNN which was on photography. It was so interesting to listen to these great photographers who shot some of the most iconic photographs talk about what goes through their mind when they hold a camera . I love to take pictures though they aren't great pictures but i still love it when amid the hundred of badly taken shots i see a single one which to me, looks perfect , and that makes it all worth it . It is easy to take a picture but it takes a great photographer to tell you a whole story from just a single shot . So by the power of Google i bring to you some of the World's Most Famous Pictures and the story behind these pictures :

1. Afghan Girl (1985)

Sharbat Gula or better known as the Afghan Girl was forced to leave her home in Afghanistan during the Soviet war for a refugee camp in Pakistan .

At the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in 1985, Gula's picture was taken by National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry. Gula was one of the students in an informal school within the refugee camp; McCurry, rarely given the opportunity to photograph Afghan women, seized the opportunity and captured her image. She was 13 years old at the time.

Although her name was not known, her picture, titled "Afghan Girl", appeared on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic. The image of her face, with a red scarf draped loosely over her head and with her piercing see-green eyes staring directly into the camera, became a symbol both of the 1980s Afghan conflict and of the refugee situation worldwide. The image itself was named as "the most recognized photograph" in the history of the magazine.

In 2002 , a National Geographic team traveled to Afghanistan to locate the subject of the now-famous photograph. The team finally located Gula, then around the age of 30, in a remote region of Afghanistan; she had returned to her native country from the refugee camp in 1992. She vividly recalled being photographed – it was the first and only time she had ever had her picture taken. The fame and symbolic character of her portrait were completely unknown to her.

This is a picture of Gula aged 30 :

The brilliance in her eyes dulled and the wrinkles in her face underscores the hardship she faced growing up. Her face captured a nation yet the main thing on her mind was surviving another day . However I'm pleased to find out that in recognition of her, National Geographic set up the Afghan Girls Fund a charitable organization with the goal of educating Afghan women.

2. The Starving Sudanese girl crawling towards a food camp (1994)

In March 1993 Kevin Carter made a trip to southern Sudan. The sound of soft, high-pitched whimpering near the village of Ayod attracted Carter to a young starving Sudanese toddler. The girl had stopped to rest while struggling to a feeding center, wherein a vulture had landed nearby. He said that he waited about 20 minutes, hoping that the vulture would spread its wings. It didn't. Carter snapped the haunting photograph and chased the vulture away. However, he also came under heavy criticism for just photographing — and not helping — the little girl:
"The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene."

The photograph was sold to The New York Times. Practically overnight hundreds of people contacted the newspaper to ask whether the child had survived, leading the newspaper to run a special editor's note saying the girl had enough strength to walk away from the vulture, but that her ultimate fate was unknown.

Carter was awarded the most coveted prize for photography , the Pulitzer Prize for Feture Photography in May 23,1994 . However 2 months later on July 24,1994 Carter took his own life by taping one end of a hose to his pickup truck’s exhaust pipe and running the other end to the passenger-side window. He died at the age of 33.

Such a tragic end , why Carter killed himself still remains unknown . Though the critics may have found many faults against him , yet , this iconic picture made the world sit up and take notice of the crisis in Sudan .

3. The Burning Monk (1963)

June 11, 1963, Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk from Vietnam, burned himself to death at a busy intersection in downtown Saigon . It was to bring attention to the repressive policies of the Catholic Diem the regime that controlled the South Vietnamese government at the time. Buddhist monks asked the regime to lift its ban on flying the traditional Buddhist flag, to grant Buddhism the same rights as Catholicism, to stop detaining Buddhists and to give Buddhist monks and nuns the right to practice and spread their religion.

While burning Thich Quang Duc never moved a muscle.

This shot was taken by Malcolm W. Browne a Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist and photographer.

I'm amazed by how serene the monk looks . I cannot imagine looking at someone do that let alone take out a camera and take a picture . Its a good thing Malcolm did.

4. Albert Einstein (1951)

On Einstein's 72nd birthday in 1951, United Press International (UPI) photographer Arthur Sasse was trying to persuade him to smile for the camera, but having smiled for photographers many times that day, Einstein stuck out his tongue instead . This photo became one of the most popular photos ever taken of Einstein and it is well recognized in popular culture, often used in merchandise depicting Einstein in a light-hearted sense.

I've seen this picture loads of times somehow i always thought it was fake , you know through the power of photoshop and all that . But the picture checks out its Real .

5. The Plight of Kosovo Refugees (1999)

Kosovar refugee Agim Shala, age 2, is passed through a barbed wire fence into the hands of grandparents at a camp run by United Arab Emirates in Kukes, Albania. The members of the Shala family were reunited here after fleeing the conflict in Kosovo.

The photo is part of The Washington Post's Pulitzer Prize-winning entry (2000) about the plight of Kosovo refugees. The picture was taken by award winning photojournalist Carol Guzy.

The determination of the parents to let their child have a better future and to what extent they will go through to make that happen. I couldn't find more information on the child in the picture but i hope he survived. Hopefully with Kosovo's newly declared Independence they will finally have peace and there will be no more pictures like this .

6. Segregated Water Fountain (1950)

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

- Excerpt from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'I Have A Dream' speech

I for one am glad Mr.King's dream came true . Though some forms of racism do occur in todays world yet nothing can be compared to the racial segregation faced by the People of Colour (blacks, Hispanics, Asians ) during the 1950's and 60's . This is a Picture of segregated water fountains in North Carolina taken by Elliott Erwitt . Erwin is a advertizing and journalistic photographer who is described to take pictures with a touch of humor and an eye for the humane . This picture does not only tell the story of injustice faced by the one Black man in the shot but the injustice faced by a whole group of African Americans and other minorities during that time . Its pictures like this that makes us reflect on the past and make sure that it never happens again in the future

7. The Falling Man (2001)

The Falling Man is the photograph taken by Richard Drew at 9:41:15 a.m., on September 11, 2001 showing one of the many men jumping from the WTC towers. The photograph provoked feelings of anger in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, particularly in the United States. It ran only once in many American newspapers because they received critical and angry letters from readers who felt the photo was exploitative, voyeuristic, and disrespectful of the dead. This led to the media’s self-censorship of the photograph . When asked to comment on the people's reaction to his picture this is what Richard said :

"This is how it affected people's lives at that time, and I think that is why it's an important picture. I didn't capture this person's death. I captured part of his life. This is what he decided to do, and I think I preserved that."

again when i first saw the picture i thought it was photoshoped . But it is real , i think what Richard captured from that picture was the desperation and the feeling of hopelessness each and every victim of 9/11 felt . There has been speculation as to who the person in the picture is but until today the identity of The Falling Man has never been officially confirmed. May he rest in peace.

8. Omayra Sánchez (1985)

Omayra Sánchez was a 13-year old victim of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano which erupted on November 13, 1985 in Armero, Colombia, causing massive lahars which killed nearly 25,000. Omayra could not escape and was trapped under her own home's concrete and debris.When rescue teams tried to help her, they realized that her legs were trapped and there was no way to pull her out.

Omayra was trapped up to her neck in water, concrete, and other debris for 3 days before she succumbed to gangrene and hypothermia. During three nights of agony, Omayra seemed strong but was suffering. According to Cristina Echandia, a journalist who kept records of the events, Omayra sang and had normal conversations with the people who were trying to help her. The little girl was thirsty and scared. On the third night, Omayra began hallucinating , saying that she did not want to be late for school. At some point she asked the people to leave her so they could rest.

Television coverage of the disaster introduced her to the world when she was still alive. The photo shown here was taken hours before her death and published after her death.

Her image was taken by photojournalist, Frank Fournier, The image caused controversy due to the photographer's work and the Colombian government's inaction in working to prevent the Armero tragedy despite the forewarning that had been available when it was published worldwide after the young girl's death.

What does one feel when commenting on this photo ?I can find no adjective to describe my feelings and describing it as feeling horified is an understatement . I just hope that after Omayra's tragedy and the 25,000 who died along with her , the Columbian government took the necessary procedures to prevent history from repeating itself during another natural disaster.

9. Born Twice (1999)

An experimental – and controversial – procedure for treating a crippling birth defect called spina bifida in the womb offered Trish and Mike Switzer the only chance that their daughter would walk like other children. But the fetal surgery posed a fatal dilemma: Their baby could die before she was born. However despite the odds the parents agreed to have the surgery.

This shot was taken by photographer Max Aguilera-Hellweg for LIFE magazine. During the, July 1, 1999, operation he captured the moment as Dr. Bruner gently placed Sarah Marie's hand back into the uterus.

Her parents would agree when on August 22, 1999 almost two months after having the surgery Sarah Marie Switzer was born. Born nine weeks premature, doctors were amazed at the health of the baby and allowed Sarah Marie to go home with her parents in early Sept. Sarah Marie showed none of the signs of extreme spina bifida and even kicked her legs as an infant rare in most spina bifida patients.

That is the most beautiful picture i've ever seen . If your a huge House fan like me , you would have seen this scene in one of the episodes in Season 3 . However unlike the TV drama the hand of the featus did not dramatically reach out and clutch the doctors hand , the photographer who took this shot was also trying to spin the same story to everyone , however what the doctor in the picture was doing, was placing back Sarah's the hand into the uterus .

Regardless it is still a beautiful picture that really portrays the gift of life.

Those are few of the World's Most Famous Pictures and the story behind each picture that i gathered from the Internet . Some of them may have been inspiring , touching and even disturbing . The fact of the matter is that these pictures represent real events , and through one picture the photographer manages to evoke mixed reactions among the people .

To me every picture has a story to tell, its just up to you how you read it .

"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."

- Dorthea Lange (Famous American photojournalist)


Naviin said...

Amazing post mal. Loved each and every picture there. You must've put in a lot of effort in this. Good one! Keep it coming.

Anonymous said...

It's really good the way u captured the moment.Keep up the good wotk,would like to read more from you.

Namie said...

this is a very interesting post (:

Anonymous said...

mal it's me tim! babe i was like sO sayu while seeing and reading tis post.good one mal.

zewt said...

very cool that you're creating awareness...

the world needs awareness.

Anonymous said...

I have been recommending a book called "My Stroke of Insight - a Brain Scientist's Personal Journey" by Jill Bolte Taylor and also a TEDTalk Dr. Taylor gave on the TED dot com site. And you don't have to take my word for it - Dr. Taylor was named Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People, the New York Times wrote about her and her book is a NYTimes Bestseller), and Oprah did not 4 interviews with her.

Brittney said...

Im glad people know about these incidents and im happy you posted something like this.:)

I hope you have much luck in the future, I very much enjoyed reading your thoughs on the events even some or should I say most I didnt know about. Good Luck. :D