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Survivor! The Bangladesh Factory Collapse

May 10th, 2013 No Comments

The photo album of the day for the story of the day comes from the Baltimore Sun’s Darkroom.  It illustrates the rescue of a woman after a seventeen-day ordeal of entombment – a miracle of survival – alongwith relevant images of the overall tragedy.

The overall tragedy is, as you might guess, the Bangladesh garment factory building collapse in which over a thousand people perished.

The album comprises of the work of four photogs bringing us a type of photojournalism most would probably prefer to avoid.

One image picturing the survivor clearly conscious and apparently in her senses is the most heartening image in a collection of grim and sorrowful ones. 

A pure reportage photograph showing an earth mover looking like an insect within the vast expanse of the razed plot conveys the magnitude of the disaster.

Among the many powerful photojournalistic images is one of a a woman comforting a maimed family member and grief-struck relatives, of which one image is particularly jarring.  Then there’s the sombre scene of relatives hovering over a line of shrouded bodies.

One wonders whether to point out the art or technique (or even the dignified beauty of human anguish) in some of these photographs or simply be respectful of such images, considering their subject-matter.

However, in the midst of images of death and destruction an incongruous one sticks out like a sore thumb.  A photographer with a keen eye snapped a photo of women workers’ feet, showing a queue of brightly-coloured flip-flops.  Indeed, there is a brilliantly composed and executed image by the same photographer, Munir uz Zaman, conveying the bleakness and starkness of the scene around an odd splash of colour; that of rescue workers.(!)

The album includes a superb, hypnotic image that can be called an ‘art photo’ even as it conveys one personal story within the overall tragedy.

No matter how you approach this collection of photographs – as interested viewer or as a photojournalism student – it is well worth a go-through.


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