Discussion Question – Offer you own visual analysis of “Saigon” and “Napalm.” In others words how do the elements of content, composition, framing, angle, lighting, context, and focus used by the photographers tell a story in these images. What is that story and how does it confront the inhumanity of war?
peer post 1:
The images from Saigon and Napalm show the gruesome truth of war. The picture from Saigon demonstrates a man executing another man. The picture is solely focused on both man. What stands out most on this picture to me is the gun and the person who is getting executed. The background is blurred with buildings. The gun and the man being executed look to be cased around an aura of light. This image emphasizes the deaths that occured during war time. This image is called beautiful for its simplicity. This picture is a simple picture. When you see this picture it does not confuse you or make you overthink. It simply is the truth. Death in war. This is the beautiful, un-wanting truth that many try to overlook. War takes life and gives anguish. The image from Napalm highlights fear and terror. Not only do soldiers suffer but the families and the children. In this image I see the carnage that war has caused. This picture to me looks like a portrait, a portrait of children escaping and running from evil. The background in this picture is black from the smoke. Again it resembles darkness following and the children escaping. The child that stands out the most in this picture is the child in the middle. The horror in the child’s face, and on the others children faces demonstrates how war interrupts the daily life of the innocent ones. War brought pain, and anguish. Whether you won or lost in War, the effect was grand. War is not a portrait of meadows and sun kissed hills.It does not portray happy families sitting around and waiting for their loved ones. It does not portray the smiling faces as loved ones go away into the darkness. It is the reality that was demonstrated in the pictures of Saigon and Napalm.
Peer post 2:
There is a lot of dark, vivid connotations in the black and white photographs of Eddie Adams’ Saigon, 1968 and Nick Ut’s Napalm, 1972 that depicts the atrocities of battle. The lighting just black and white brings out a depressing mood. Just by the way you look at the content of the images, the lighting, and the focus, together it connects to bring a surrounding meaning. Both images symbolize all the chaos of war, the presence of inhumanity. The behavior and the posture of the subjects expose. The focus on the subjects projects deeper meaning than the ones that are not as focused. I feel the context that the photographers wanted to project from those pictures is the tragedy of what war makes people do, like there are no morals, no rights, only death. A man with a gun in his hand pointing another man, and on the other, children exposed to a bombing, one left unclothed. The man behind the gun shows control and power, while the man in front of the gun appears helpless and scared. The kind of story that I get from this is what war makes people do and the inhumane steps they had to look pass in order to survive. There can’t be any second thoughts. The frame of the pictures seems to look like the photographer had to be standing close enough to take the photos. The courage the photographer had to be in the middle of war directly forces us to confront exactly what he sees. Despite the dismal nature it was taken, Saigon image shows violence and offense, exposing the many innocent deaths that war demands, while even though I get a similar feeling, but not so, Napalmlooks more of the aftermath of war, somehow the subjects in the image projects protection and defense. The armed men in uniform stand post behind the children running the opposite direction looking afraid and seeking safety. These photographs portray the same representation of the “quality of a war”though they have been angled in a different perspective, taken in different composition, I get the similar negative sense from both of them– the worst feeling in the world.
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