The techniques of victimization in photojournalism

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Geovanna Bravomalo Geovanna Bravomalo Post 1 of 1
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Hello everyone :)

Need a little help with a small research that I am conducting about media visual representations and Old Age Poverty in South Korea. The main objective of this study is to show how the visual portrayals of the South Korean mass media are “misrepresenting” the phenomena of elder rubbish collection in South Korea. This, by placing the narratives of the elders as the central subject of study (which I argue is a contrasting one with the "victim" portrayal).

The agency and the inherent value that I assume this work (rubbish collection) have for this elder generation, goes further than just as a coping system for daily survival; it has an inherent value for them, it makes them feel they are still active and contributing to some extend through their work. In that sense, I want to show how the “victim” portrayal that the mass media creates, is actually a misrepresentation of what this group of people really feel and think about themselves and the work they perform in their daily lives.

In order to conduct this study, I plan to first select some of the media visual representations that show “victimization” in relation to the subject in the photo (in this case is elder rubbish collector(s)). Second, I plan to conduct a series of interviews with the rubbish collector. Through this process I would like to show him the selected photos from media and talk about how far this photo relates with himself.

Since I aim also to give the space in this study for them to “visually talk”, apart from his narratives, I ‘ll apply Gideon Mendel’s approach “a live documentary space”, used in 1990’s to promote the media coverage of the people who lived with HIV-AIDS in Africa. A given frame will be given to this rubbish collector, and he may chose the object, landscape or subject that he thinks better represent himself, as a human being and most importantly, as an “elder rubbish collector” in South Korea.

Having explained this, I would really like to know if there is the possibility that you share with me your personal and professional perspective in regard to media representations and victimization.

As I’ve been reading, one of the essays that caught my attention was Nigel Warburton’s in the book “Media Ethics”. The ideas that he appoints in this specific essay is the importance in the usage of the “aesthetic devices” in photo documentary or photojournalism. Warburton emphasizes that these “tools” help to construct powerful images that simultaneously encourage readers to accept a particular meaning of a certain image. In that sense, I got to understand that before choosing an image to show to my interviewee, I had to thoroughly understand how the media represents “victimization”. Furthermore, I also got to understand the importance of knowledge on the usage of photography techniques to produce that message in photojournalism. Based on those ideas, I wonder:

1. Based on your professional experiences, what would you appoint as the techniques of victimization in photojournalism or photo documentation?
What I mean by asking this is: how can one actually judge and chose what is in an artistic and technical bases, intended to show the photographed subject as a victim?


Many thanks in advance!
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