The age old debate over whether images are too graphic to display will always be prevalent and one in which reasonable people on either side can disagree over. Speaking directly to the aftermath of Haiti’s devestating 2008 earthquake, I believe that it is the job of the media to report as accurate a portrail of events as possible. The stories surrounding the destruction in Haiti tried to explain the situation, and words alone often suffice, but sometimes you need more to tell the whole story.
Sometimes there are events so desperate that occur that only the most graphic and hard hitting images will do. Why? When people see images that disturb them it can cause them to rally, and attempt to become more proactive. Even with peoples busy lives, when they are affected emotionally they are much more apt to engage in actively finding solutions to the images they see. It could be starting a petition to gain awareness and to place thought behind the needs of those effected. It could be that they find the calling to expose humanitarian issues as a life pursuit. It could also be that it causes the viewers of these images to challenge the governments response to the crisis. To demand that there is accountability for the actions taken, or lack of ones.
The influence that strong images have over the people that see them is far and wide reaching. There are a 1000 ways that graphic images can spark change and create enough outrage to truly make a difference. Each new generation will be faced with the choice of how to handle what’s too graphic or what is not to graphic to present to viewers. This debate has been with us since the first camera was invented, and it will continue to be one in the future. The next time a photograph that shakes you to your core is presented, take a moment and ask yourself, what can I do to help make a difference. What can I do to ease peoples suffering. Sometimes that, too graphic image, is simply all it takes.