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Pentagon Demonstration, Washington D.C. – November 1967

This image by Benedict J. Fernandez illustrates the concept that “photographic truth hinges on the idea that the camera is an objective device for the capturing of reality, and that it renders this objectivity despite the subjective vision of the person using the camera. Hence, the photographic image has often been seen as an entity stripped of intentionality, through which the truth can be told without mediation or subjective distortion. Yet, as we have seen, photographic images are highly subjective cultural and social artifacts that are influenced by the range of human belief, bias, and expression.”

The image is photographed with an objective intent but is subjective in reality. I think if you were not given background information on this image, you would think about the photographers feelings about war and soldiers without even realizing it. Being a photographer (and I am not a photojournalist), I know that taking an image objectively is what I should do when need be but sometimes it is hard to stray from my own perspectives on a topic.




The photographer has made the black soldiers look threatening and the white soldier look inept. Not sure about the biases of the author, but in 1967 this could have been the intent, depending on what side of the more violent leanings of the Black Power movement the photographer was on. I don’t find this objective at all, but then again, I disagree with the statement that photographs capture objective reality. Photos not only can be altered (which is not the case here), but both the subject matter within and outside of the frame informs the intent of the author. It’s tough to call that truth more than any textual story that emphasizes one viewpoint over another.

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The photograph is appealing to me because of the angle at which it was taken- at the end of the barrel of a gun and at an upward angle. It really puts the viewer in a unique position for interpretation.


The fact that the soldiers look kind of nervous, like they don’t know what they are doing, also adds context to the photo. The angle the photo was taken can represent point of view to its viewers. It makes me feel like I am a child with a gun being pointed at me. To me, it represents a government’s abuse over its citizens.

Roxanna Challenger

Appreciate you sharing. Years ago my mom would say “Try and fail, but never fail to try” :)

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