Dear <<First Name>>

There are certain, inescapable images, forever part of our collective consciousness, that influence who we are, whether we are cognizant of it or not – Steve McCurry

There has been a debate in the media and online about whether or not it is time to make a regular practice to publish the grisly photos that show the true impact of gun violence. As has been widely reported, an AR 15, as used in Uvalde and many other mass shootings, can and usually does “vaporize” its victims’ bodies, erasing their humanity as it eviscerates their lives.
In newsrooms there’s been a longstanding rule not to show such grisly images, in the interest of protecting both the victims and the audience, who presumably would not be able to handle such things. Taste and decency are often used as the justification for not publishing these images.
On the other hand, some have been arguing that this is the time for gun violence to have its’  “Emmett Till moment,” referencing the 14-year-old Black boy who was tortured and murdered by white racists in Mississippi in 1955. His mother insisted on an open casket saying that she wanted the world to see what her son’s murderers had done. And the world did. The photograph of Till taken by Jet magazine was reproduced throughout the country and abroad and is cited as helping invigorate the civil rights movement.

The power of photographs helped change directions of the Viet Nam war when society faced the young Vietnamese girl running naked after being hit with napalm (who, 50 years later, wrote about the experience in The Times). Recently we have written here about the challenges and question of war photography or you can take a look at the recent Lynsey Addario’s devastating photos of the deaths of Ukrainian civilians for another perspective on this.  Videos have opened our eyes to misuse of force by police officers.

University of Oregon's Nicole Smith Dahmen wrote for Photo District News that “research has shown that when audiences feel emotionally connected with news events, they're more likely to change their views or take action," and “the power of images is limited." While shocking images can provoke "short bursts of activism," that power dissipates quickly.  Journalism professor Susie Linfield notes that  people, not photographs, create political change, which is slow, difficult and unpredictable. Don't ask images to think, or to act, for you.

You can read more here and here.
Ultimately, a family would have to decide, just as Mamie Till did, to show the images. So, as these debates swirl, the fact is this: first and foremost this is a matter for families and survivors. Sensitivity and respect for them is what matters because these kinds of decisions are not ours to make, nor are they our business. 

If they chose to show images, then the media outlets can wrestle with whether to publish them or not. And only after that, would you and I also have to wrestle with our own thoughts about looking at the pain of others. 

In our contemporary society, one so over-inundated with imagery, it is easy to overlook the power of a single frame to change the way we look at the world, or rally disparate hearts to a single cause. Yet, ours is a society shaped by this very phenomenon -- Steve McCurry

Summer Time
sually I try to use this section of the newsletter to connect something I am doing with the mini photo essay about photography above. I have nothing to connect with the topic above.  And, it was a difficult topic to write (visualize) and think about.  As a result, I thought I would change it up here.  Since it is officially summer, perhaps you might enjoy some summer scenes -- simple viewing pleasure.  I dug deep in the archives to find the black and white infrared images that are scans of old film images. Click to enjoy them in a larger size.

Binhammer Photographs Website

Photography News
Links to Gander

The New York Times and others are raving about an exhibit at the International Center of Photography, "William Klein: YES".  Street photographer. Fashion photographer. Painter. Graphic designer. Abstract artist. Writer. Filmmaker. Book maker. Few have transformed as many fields of art and culture as William Klein. From his wildly inventive photographic studies of New York, Rome, Moscow, and Tokyo to bold and witty fashion photographs; from cameraless abstract photography to iconic celebrity portraits; from documentary films about Muhammad Ali, Little Richard, and the Pan-African Festival of Algiers to fiction films about the beauty industry, imperialism, and consumer culture, Klein has made every form and genre his own. Through it all runs his distinct graphic energy and deep affection for humanity’s struggles through the chaos of modern life.

Alec Soth's Obsessive Ode to Image Making in the New YorkerPhotography doesn’t just force me to leave the house, it forces me to leave my head (briefly),” Alec Soth writes in his new book, “A Pound of Pictures” (Mack). Since the work published in his 2004 début, “Sleeping by the Mississippi,” landed him in that year’s Whitney Biennial, Soth has been leading the movement of photography out of the house, out of the head, and back into a lively engagement with the world. At fifty-two, he’s arguably the most influential photographer of the past twenty years, owing, in large part, to how comfortable he is with his own influences.

Wolfgang Tillmans at MOMA, coming in September. Following its presentation at MoMA, the exhibition will travel to the Art Gallery of Ontario and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  "The viewer...should enter my work through their own eyes, and their own lives,” the photographer Wolfgang Tillmans has said. An incisive observer and a creator of dazzling pictures, Tillmans has experimented for over three decades with what it means to engage the world through photography. Presenting the full breadth and depth of the artist’s career, Wolfgang Tillmans: To look without fear invites us to experience the artist’s vision of what it feels like to live today." More info here

Kurt Markus, an internationally acclaimed fine art photographer known for his black-and-white portraits, magazine and fashion work, and luminous landscapes, died in Santa Fe on June 12, after a battle with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body disease. He was 75 years old. Check out his gorgeous images here and here.

In the summertime when the weather is high, You can stretch right up and touch the sky, When the weather's fine.
Hoping you find some time to kick back and touch the sky 
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