Monday, March 17, 2008

Powerful Photograph - Culture Clash

I found this at Reuters. It's part of a series on What Makes a Great Picture.

This one is worth a thousand words

Hats off to Luis Vasconcelos for this powerful picture.

The caption says, “An indigenous woman holds her child while trying to resist the advance of Amazonas state policemen who were expelling the woman and some 200 other members of the Landless Movement from a privately-owned tract of land on the outskirts of Manaus, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon March 11, 2008. The landless peasants tried in vain to resist the eviction with bows and arrows against police using tear gas and trained dogs. REUTERS/Luiz Vasconcelos-A Critica/AE (BRAZIL)”.

Images of heavy-handed oppression really don’t come much better than this - defenceless, screaming woman clutching naked child is shoved and beaten by faceless, armoured authority.

The symbols are reinforced by the strong composition. The woman and her child appear all the more vulnerable as the only elements of humanity and colour against the advancing wall of shields and boots.Such a potent image leaves very little room for any doubt. In such circumstances do we need to know the details of the dispute to have any doubts that what we are witnessing is wrong?

This seems to be a perfect example of what happens when rational-industrial progress tramples tribal-based cultures. Indigenous peoples all over the planet are going to be increasingly eliminated as natural resources become more scarce. Shameful.

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