Stevenson : Homework 3

Robert Whelan’s arguments regarding Robert Capa’s photograph “Death of a Loyalist Soldier” are very convincing because he builds his argument by refuting other arguments, which removes the reader’s doubt that Whelan is speaking accurately. Whelan also used irrefutable scientific evidence when describing the validity of the photograph. He explains how the hand of the soldier would have appeared differently if the photograph were staged. Staged photography begins when the photographer wants to show a perspective that is not present when the camera is ready to take a photograph. When a photograph is staged, it is not always, because the moment never occurred. In regards to the Capa’s photograph, it could have staged. The soldier in the photograph could have duplicated an earlier tragedy that occurred to a fellow soldier. It did strike me as odd that such an image was captured during war. During an assault, it is expected that everyone would take cover to protect his life, including the photographer. However, it appears that Capa decided to capture a photograph rather than protect his own life. The authenticity of a photograph should not take away from the message that it sent and the imagery that was depicted. The photograph shows the brutality and unexpectedness of combat. Photography can be compared to words because both are used to tell stories. When writers publish their novels, as memoirs or biographies there is not much controversy over the authenticity of the stories. People may question some aspects of the book however for the most part they assume that the majority is true and enjoy the story. Photographs should be considered in the same way. Photographs are used to tell stories and much like novels they can be altered to empower and dramatize the photograph. Stories are often dramatized to make a lasting impact on the viewer. I do not think that there is anything wrong with a staged photograph. All information should be questioned but its impact on the community should not be discredited. Whelan proves his conclusion, provides evidence, and disproves contradictory evidence. There is however still a slight possibility that Capa’s photograph was staged but it does not matter. Because of “Death of a Loyalist Soldier”, people were able to gain some insight into the brutality and spontaneity of war. A story needed to be told and in telling that story, no harm was done. If the story was staged, exaggerated, dramatized it served its purpose. It is very difficult to capture the perfect moment in life on camera often times we may need a redo to get it on camera.


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One Response to Stevenson : Homework 3

  1. Sandra Cheng says:

    This is a very well-argued post about the complexities and potential of staged photography.

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