POV – or who sees what ….

The internationally lauded book Why Mister, Why? by photojournalist Geert van Kesteren makes at least one thing clear: we in the ‘West’ have gotten to see extremely little of the conduct of the American army in Iraq. Van Kesteren’s report on the collision between the soldiers bringing ‘freedom and democracy’ and the Iraqi people is not only revealing and shocking, but it has also provided information about the situation on the spot, and has thus fulfilled a desperate need.

That raises the questions of how it is possible that the majority of these images have hardly been seen in the Western media before – and why for instance one could not escape images of the tsunami, while Darfur remained – and remains – largely invisible?

What does the rise of embedded journalism, the ‘amateur’ with his digital camera (Abu Ghraib!) or camphone, and the internet mean for the position of the photojournalist in international conflicts? What do they mean for the future of photojournalism in this context? What news media are still effective today, in 2005, when it comes to war and conflicts, and for whom do they work? What possibilities do photographers and other image-makers have in this context for bringing their work out, and who determines what appears in the news?

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