LynseyAddario is a war photojournalist who encounters war in real life, andthe powerful images she takes from the scenes enables people torelate and get a clear perspective of conflicts in the 21stCenturies in different parts of the world. As individuals establish aconnection with war events in various nations, it makes them advocatefor change and a peaceful world. Lynsey pays attention toconflict-prone areas, and most of her photos capture events involvingthe operations of the combat and the lives of people in Darfur,Syria, Afghanistan, Mogadishu, and Iraq or any other region in theworld that poses a tense environment to people’s lives. This essaypurposes to analyze four photos of Lynsey in different locations, andestablish the nexus between their contents and the visual.
O`Connor(2015) interviews Lynsey, and in his article, he has excerpts fromLynsey’s memoirs of photographs taken in various location. Thephoto that captures attention is that of a human skeleton lying in adeserted field in Darfur. Lynsey uses the diminishing scaleperspective because the skeleton in the foreground is larger than theimages of the military officers and the civilians in the middle andbackground. When one views the photo, it creates depth and one makesan assumption that the smaller an object seems, the farther it is.For instance, the skeleton seems nearer to the viewer, unlike thesoldiers and the civilians. However, Lynsey could have tricked theaudience by reversing the order of the images while capturing thephoto. The human skeleton elicits emotional reactions of distress dueto the suffering inflicted on the people. One ends up questioning thehumanity of individuals who executed the bombing and destroyingpeople’s lives.
Thecondition of the corpse revealing a visible skull shows that thedecomposing body had been in the open for quite some time. The greenvegetation near the skeleton despite the dryness of the desertdepicts some hope to the situation although the position that theskeleton lies on the ground shows a sad state of helplessness(O`Connor, 2015). However, how Lynsey captures the photo is symbolicbecause it shows an improvement of features from the foreground tothe background. The front with the skeleton makes one horrified, thepresence of the officers in the middle symbolizes an interveningforce to calm the situation that led to deaths, as the photo advancesto the background, the civilians walk freely in the abandoned region,and finally the horizon represents peace manifestation in Darfur.
Mostphotojournalists who went to Syria before Lynsey focused on takingphotographs that involved action and combats operations, but shedecided to do something different by revealing the lives of people inAleppo(Estrin, Day Life in Syria`s Civil War, 2013).One of the images she takes is that of a woman with her five childrenoutside their makeshift tent. Lynsey applied selective focusingtechnique while taking the photo. She concentrated the camera lens onthe woman and her five children. Their images, positioned at theforeground are sharp and distinct compared to the remaining featuresin the middle and background. The skill used attracts the attentionof the viewer to the five individuals, and it shows that theintention of the photo was to capture them close to their tent toshow the audience the life the woman has been forced to live due tothe Aleppo conflict.
Thebackground displays seemingly additional shelter that appears blurredof other displaced Syrians from their homes, making them resort intents. It indicates poor living conditions for the people and onewonders if the woman affords her family basic needs, whether thechildren attend school, and whether she has a husband or not. Also,since she has seven children, where might the other two be and arethey safe? In general, it is sympathetic that innocent people such asthe woman and her young family have to bear the brunt of the fightingforces.
Theaspect of women involvement at the front line in combat in a shootinghas attracted a lot of controversies, especially after the ban lift.Lynsey takes a landscape photograph from an aerial perspective of afemale in combat uniform holding a propeller of a stationary militaryhelicopter in an open field. (Estrin,Women Shooting on the Front Lines, 2013).The military woman and the helicopter’s images in the foregroundare sharper than the frontier because of the decreasing luminancecaused by atmospheric diffusion. Thus, the open field towards thebackground becomes blurred and faded.
Thewoman is alone on the ground, and the helicopter has no passenger. Itdisplays her competence in piloting, independence and a fearlessapproach as a lady to fly the aircraft in conflict areas, which isadmirable. Thus, her role in combat cannot be obsolete. Similarly,she displays confidence being alone in the field through her posturewith her raised arms touching the propeller. The open fieldsrepresent calmness, but the dark clouds are a sign of rain, whichsignifies the war in the area the woman will fly the aircraft.
Apartfrom capturing war events, and civilians’ lives, Lynsey has workedin collaboration with the army forces, and she can relate to thesuffering they endure when they get wounded or shot dead afterengaging an insurgent group. The last photo is an indoor picture in amedical tent taken using an overlapping perspective. The militaryofficer lying on a stretcher and covered with the United States flagin the foreground partially obscures the personnel in the middleground and as the photo advances to the background, the officersfurther obscure those behind them and the features in the tent. Theobstruction in the photo renders the viewer to estimate the depth ofthe images and establish the actual distance the objects are fromeach other in reality.The partial obstruction of the stretcher shows that it is a bitdistant from the officers on the front line, but the obstruction ofthe officers towards the others indicates that they are closer toeach other (Radiolab, 2015).
Thephoto connects the viewers to the reality of what the militaryencounter in their operations in places like Afghanistan. Themilitary too is aware of the possibility of getting injured or dying,but their selfless nature to aid their country, the ailing nation andits people lead them to the war-prone regions. The officers display asymbol of unity and solidarity from their posture and closeness inthe photo, after attempts to resuscitate the officer. One sympathizeswith the affected police and the counterparts for losing one of theirown.
Inconclusion, Lynsey’s photos touch on a crucial humanitarian aspectthat cannot be ignored. Lynsey displays competence in her use ofvarious photographing techniques, which serve the intended purpose tothe viewer. The display of war and its impacts drives the viewer toscrutinize the pictures, draw one into deep thoughts, and true to herwords, one asks a lot of questions about the events that occur.
Estrin,J. (2013, March 13). DayLife in Syria`s Civil War.Retrieved March 14, 2017, from The New York Times:https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/13/daily-life-in-syrias-civil-war/
Estrin,J. (2013, January 28). WomenShooting on the Front Lines.Retrieved March 14, 2017, from The New York Times:https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/28/women-shooting-on-the-front-lines-2/?_r=0
O`Connor,J. (2015, February 9). Insidethe conflict zone: War photographer Lynsey Addario documents historyfrom the front lines.Retrieved March 14, 2017, from National Post:http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/images-from-the-conflict-zone-war-photographer-lynsey-addario-documents-history-from-the-front-lines
Radiolab.(2015, April 28). SightUnseen.Retrieved March 14, 2017, from Radiolab:http://www.radiolab.org/story/sight-unseen/
(Estrin,Women Shooting on the Front Lines, 2013)