Photography as a Weapon

Morris’ argues when people should trust photographs to be trustworthy evidence or ways to deceive them. In the interview with Mr. Farid, Morris discussed how important photos and text are together when a person sees them. Sometimes photos can include captions that would help validate them, while other captions can turn photos into fakes. With Morris’ discussion with Johnson, they debated how the public viewed Iran’s faked photos. For some, Iran is weak because they had to cover up a failed missile launch, but on the other hand, Iran fired three out of four missiles successfully. After the interpretation of several other photographs, Morris shows that photographs are used to show reality as well as an altered reality.

This image has both the original and altered photo of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre in China. The top photo is the original, and the altered one is on the bottom. The background to this photo is there were thousands of people, mainly students, who were mourning the death of a pro-democracy official. After over a month of protesting, the Communist Chinese government sent in the army to clear the area, but ended with the army killing thousands of Chinese civilians.

I am unsure of when and where this photograph was published. However, I do know that the Chinese government has gone to great lengths to prevent the Chinese public from seeing any images from the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Since the event, the government has censored the media to not allow any anti-government ideas. The public’s reaction to the original photograph was how one person was bold enough to stand up to the powerful Chinese government by standing in front of an oncoming tank. Because the man was standing in the middle of the road, the tanks had plenty of room to go around the man, but chose not to. In the altered photograph, it appears that there is a parade for the Chinese military where the tanks are. So instead of a wide-open road, it seems like the tanks had no room to maneuver around the man. In the altered image, the man is not making a statement against the government, but now looks like he wants to be run over.

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