Does event even live. Furthermore, professional photographers are still

Aftermath Photography help to change the way we look at a serious issue?

(an essay on
Late photography).

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The recent
technological invention of cheap Smartphones with decent cameras, the
availability of cheap and fast internet in the mobile phones and the social
networking platforms allow almost everyone to become a “photojournalist”. We
are able to capture and share images and videos of a newsworthy event even
live. Furthermore, professional photographers are still covering newsworthy
events. It is almost impossible not to find images of a newsworthy event in

However, the
photographer’s interest for a meaningful story does not stop with the end of
the event. With the end of the event, starts the Aftermath of it. In the Aftermath
or Late Photography, the photographer tries to capture the effects of a
disaster. The photographer does not only want to inform but also raise
discussions and hopefully with the awareness to prevent these events, when
possible to happen again. But is this possible? Can only photographs of
catastrophic events change attitudes and policies? Can the view of socking
images and the sad feelings raised from them, reduce the number of war crimes,
wars, terror attacks? Can socking images like the ones from the fire in Grenfell
Tower (BBC News, 2017b) change the way we build buildings etc?

Late Photography

A genre of
photography (Faulker, 2014), (Campany, 2003)  has emerged the last two decades in which
images of the effects of historic and / or catastrophic events on landscapes,
buildings, items and people has been captured. The photographer arrives late,
walks around in places that something already happened and tries to capture its
effects. These are images of what left behind after the ending of the event. This
type of photography of the aftermath of the events was termed “Late
Photography” by David Campany.

The earliest
photos (Tello, 2014), (Johnstone 2015) of this type were photos of the Crimean
War in the mid- nineteenth century by Roger Fenton and were taken around two
months after the events. His photos still influence practitioners of the genre.
However, Aftermath Photography as a genre did not emerge properly until the 2000s.
Characteristic examples of this era’s Late Photography are the images taken by
Joel Meyerowitz after the 9/11 attack at the World Trade Centre and photos of
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by Paul Seawright (Seawright), Lyndell Brown
and Charles Green (Brown, L. , Green, C., Cattapan J., 2014). Meyerowitz (Phaidon,
2011) was the only photographer that has been granted access to the scene and
the clean- up operation at the World Trade Centre.

 Joel Meyerowitz, Images from Ref. Phaidon,


The Vietnam
War (Bull,2009), (Sontag, 2003) was the last one photographed as it happened.
In most recent wars, only limited number of photographers is allowed and even
those are not free to take photographs (Harrison, 2015) as they wish, but they
are under the army’s control. Under these conditions, what a photographer can only
do is to document what comes after the war.

Images from Ref. BBC News, 2017a

Late photography is not only limited in the aftermath
of war conflicts and terror attacks (Touster, 
2016), (Mansfield, 2016), (Time, 2016), (BBC News, 2017a) but also
includes images of what happened after the dropping of the atomic bombs
(Johnstone, 2015), (Hall, 2015), nuclear accidents (Teicher, 2014), genocides (Torgovnik,
2008), typhoons (Kitwood), hurricanes (Murrmann, 2015), (Reinis 2015),
earthquakes (Ruck, 2016), tsunamis (Pletcher, Rafferty, 2016), toxic waste
spills (Abbe, 2012a), flooding (Abbe, 2012b), avalanches (Sharipo, 2015),
chemical wars (Schouweiler,2009), explosions (Taylor, 2015), fires (Evans,
2016), (BBC News, 2017b) and even more personal issues like the battle with
cancer (Mansfield,2014).









Images from Ref. BBC
News, 2017b