While stories of people drowning at sea as they flee to Europe has been a staple of news reporting this summer, it is this heartbreaking picture that has shocked the country into action. Charities have seen donations soar, petitions have been signed and marches planned since it was published – while, in the face of mounting pressure, David Cameron has finally agreed to taking more Syrian refugees. But this is not the first time a photograph has changed the course of world events.
Photo editors and experts discuss their decision to publish an image that has shocked the world by Olivier Laurent in Time
“The reason we’re talking about this photograph is not because it’s been taken or not because it’s been circulated, but it’s because it’s been published by mainstream media,” says Hugh Pinney, vice president at Getty Images, a distributor of news images. “And the reason we’re talking about it after it’s been published is because it breaks a social taboo that has been in place in the press for decades: a picture of a dead child is one of the golden rules of what you never published.”
The last time a photograph of a dead child was widely published was in July of 2014 when New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks captured the mangled bodies of four Palestinian youths killed in an Israeli airstrike on a beach in Gaza. What is unique about this case, however, is that many news outlets’ decisions to publish the images followed a public outcry on social media. “We got to this point because individuals have had the balls to publish the pictures themselves on social media,” says Pinney. “I think that gave the mainstream media the courage and the conviction to publish this picture.” READ MORE HERE
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