Time Magazine is famous for their provocative photos, but this week, the cover is that of a bloodied 3-year-old, crying in terror (and what appears to be pain) after the horrific Boston Marathon bombings. It may be prize winning, moving journalism, a la Nick Ut’s horrific photo of the naked 9-year-old Vietnamese girl running from the napalm attack on her village or the 1943 shot of a young boy in the Warsaw Ghetto, but does that make it right?
As a mom I say no. Hell no. Whatever the journalistic power this may have, the private anguish isn't worth the price. This child's photo maybe could have been used inside the book, but with so many powerful photos coming out of those initial moments after the blast, why was this one chosen?
I'll tell you why. It's this right here. It's this discussion. Time knows print is dying and they will do anything in their power to get attention. So here I am giving it to them. But mostly it's to say shame on them.
Good photo journalism tells a story and there is a story here. The anguish on this tot's face is moving. But there were so very many moving photos to come out of that day. There were so many editorial choices to be made. And yet this is the one they made?
It seems fairly obvious that they wanted attention. They wanted controversy. Just like they did with their Mom Enough cover last year. But at what cost?
That is the question every journalist ought to ask him or herself before running with a photo like this. Does this inform the public? Yes. But so would many other shots. Does this hurt someone? Well, let's see ... do they have permission from the parents? Are the parents injured? Do they know this photo was taken at all?
This child belongs to his mother and father, not the public. We do not need to see his grief or anguish or pain. But Time Magazine thinks we do.
I am all for information when it's important and it tells us something we need to know. But this? This is just gratuitous. It exploits for exploitation's sake. And it's pretty appalling.
Do you agree with running this photo?
Image via Marco Gomes/Flickr