JENN K. – Shellshocked Marine – Post 10

This last post I decided to find another current photograph to analyze in relation to the “Shellshocked US Marine, Hue, Vietnam” photograph. I know that the current photographs should come from the War on Terror, but I believe I may have found a more useful one from the attack on 9/11. Specifically this photo comes right after the fall of the Twin Towers; it depicts an unidentified NYC firefighter. This image is so powerful because like the image of the marine it offers a lone man with a gaze that conveys so much emotion, without any superfluous things in the frame to detract from the strength of that gaze. Although there is trauma evident in this firefighter’s eyes there is a sense of purpose behind them as well. He realizes that he still has work to do and something to work toward accomplishing. The marine in McCullin’s photograph has lost that, he stares blindly forward traumatized and lost in the world.

The photographer Anthony Correia’s quote connected to the image “I acknowledged him, and he acknowledged me. But he never stopped,” (Life). Correia recognized the importance of this lone man working through the chaos and captured the scene in a beautifully simple way. His corresponding quote seems very similar to things that Don McCullin has said of his subjects in his various works. The acknowledgement between the subject and the photographer is something that McCullin always emphasized; it even prevented him from taking photographs, notably one that he has mentioned in many interviews and his own books. McCullin says of the soldier, “His eyes were like infernos, pleading with the pain. I raised my camera as he turned his head from left to right, requesting me not to do it. I backed off,” (McCullin 103). To him the connection between the people beyond the camera mattered more than finding that shot. Thus far in my research this photograph of the firefighter seems like the best choice to connect to the other photograph because the story behind them is similar the subject is unknown and the photographers seem to function in similar ways.

Firefighter's Gaze


Source for the photograph:

Don McCullin’s autobiography:

McCullin, Don. Unreasonable Behaviour: An Autobiography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992. Print.


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