In an op-ed published in The Baltimore Sun, media and communication studies assistant professor Rebecca Adelman describes how pictures and video of chemical weapons casualties in the Syrian civil war did not follow the traditional model for war images.
In her op-ed titled “Atypical images of war,” Adelman writes about how the images required extensive explanation and interpretation due to what they were depicting:
The amateur photos and videos of the victims of the attacks do not follow the familiar model of the war casualty image. They were recognizable as such primarily in their quantitative aspects: the number of images and the astonishing volume of casualties (many of them grouped together) that they depicted. The scale of death bespoke militarized violence, but the qualitative dimension of those images was a bit more equivocal.
Adelman also notes how many of the images raise concerns and confusion as it relates to how they will be viewed in the future.
“Myriad uncertainties hover around these pictures. We cannot know how they will function or signify in the future, especially because changing dynamics in the region might compel the United States to negotiate with the Assad regime to prevent a jihadist takeover of the country,” Adelman writes.
You can read the full op-ed in The Baltimore Sun here.