Video Proof That Many War Images Are Staged

Video Proof That Many War Images Are Staged

We have all read how biased different news organizations can be when it comes to the cold hard facts. We've also pretty much come to expect that a photograph tells a story better than anything else. Documentary film maker Ruben Salvadori recently exposed how some of the most epic images from war torn areas of the world are actually staged...and it's pretty surprising. Ruben recognized how photographers can drastically change the mood of a scene just by being present, so he decided to turn the cameras on the photographers themselves and show just how "dangerous" many of events we see on tv and in print really are. Next time you see an image that appears to be in the thick of the action, step back and ask the question "but how many photographers are standing right off camera?" You can read more here about this video project and let us know what you think in the comments below.


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Previous comments

In hot button issues we want to believe what we want to believe. We was to see the Palestinians as rock throwing terrorists. But as soon as that illusions is shattered we have to come up with a reason that what we believe is true. This is a difficult concept for members of the dominant culture to grasp. But people who have been cast as "others" or "less than" live this everyday.

It's the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle - the mere act of observing changes what's being observed. The camera does that.

The big question is why trust the 2nd camera point of view, simply because it includes the photographers.
Is there a 3rd camera point of view that shows the entire scene, where it is revealed we are on a stage set? Shot with a super wide lens to reveal the bare ugly honest reality of it all. Is ugly a style that means real?

Mike's picture

'recreating' a scene and selling it as what actually happened seems wrong to me.
if it said under the photo caption that "this is what it would of looked like in a 'real-life' situation" then id understand. otherwise its either a lie for some extra cash or a distortion of truth to fuel propaganda or misinformation

Yea, like I said, you can't take a picture of kids throwing rocks around in the street and call it anything different than "Kids throwing rocks around in the street", otherwise it's a lie. Period!.  Note that I spelled out Period which shows you how serious I am about stopping the sentence right then and there... except for the fact that I had to explain it. so ignore everything after Period and the ".". 

Rex Larsen's picture

Video Proof That Many War Images Are Staged----This headline is sensational and misleading.
Please list all pictures in the piece there were posed and directed by the photographer.
What is needed here is to see how the pictures were published, and what the captions, stories, and headlines stated.

Vadim Berestetsky's picture

Bit more on the same topic:

In case you are interested to learn about staged images from the Middle East...

Martin Beebee's picture

Really, Lee, I love this website, but the headline is simply wrong.
"Evidence that photographers can influence the events they photograph"
would be much more accurate -- there is nothing in the video to suggest
that any photos were staged. All the images shown simply show a
photographer behind the scenes at work -- not doing anything unethical.

When you say "many war images are staged" you attack the professionalism
and integrity of all war photographers. Many war photographers have
been killed doing what they do -- and I bet they weren't staging photos
at the time.

As a Media Operations Photographer with the British Armys Combat Camera Team, I can tell you that none of ours are staged. We patrol alongside whoever we're shooting with rifles and cameras and capture things as and when/if they happen. 

It's a shame some organisations feel the need to stage shots. Any civilian journalist I ever come across over there always seem massively disappointed if they go out and there's no 'action'. They just want the action shots, shooting and smoke. They tend not to bother focusing on the actual work the forces are doing in some of these countries. 

Brian White's picture

I just had to sign in to say that neither the kid who made the video, nor the person here who wrote the headline and blurb when re-posting it, have any idea what they're talking about.  

I agree with Martin in that it attacks the professionalism and ethics of photojournalists.

If anyone wants to see genuine war photography, watch James Nachtwey's documentary War Photographer. It is very powerful.

Clement's picture

It is clearly poor ethics. But the guy is using only one scene to make his point. That's a little short if you ask me... Show us bunch of examples if you want to convince us!

Israel-palestina its an old conflict, no one disturbs there at seeying a camera. Try to do the same in Siria right now, if you come back alive your can consider yourself a lucky one.

Very interesting, but troubling. The globalization and sensationalism of the news degrades it's credibility. Really makes you question every conflict images you see. I am a lowly freelance photojournalist working for my father; Like many others I dream about rushing towards the chaos with a heavy helmet on my head. This video impacted me. Where is the news real, as opposed to news created by the newsmen? The media hoard has a falsifying effect.

This is how it happens in riots and protests, which this was. The protesters want to be seen by the media. I am a world traveled photojournalist and have covered war, and I assure you all, nothing is "staged" by the media and they are indeed in a great deal of danger by being where the action is. To anyone who thinks for an instant that they stage that stuff, I suggest you go there yourself and cover it. First, you don't need to stage anything because lots to photograph is happening on its own, second, photojournalist have very strict ethical rules to follow and third, they are very much in harms way and would not take the time to stage anything or hype it up because that would make it even more dangerous.

However, many Civil War photos you see were very staged and photographers would move bodies around and that sort to compose the war shots better. But not in today's war setting. You'd get your ass shot off! 

We are talking about the same journalists that was involved in the hacking scandal right? Ethics? please you are all still human. i assisted a photo journalist in Afghanistan. Yes, there was war raging but at times when we were "slow" some photos were staged for National news distribution. You just haven't been around people that have done it.

And that's why Photo-Journalism is a sham and is made up of hacks that "wannabe" photographers.

When you give crazy people attention they only get crazier.

What you need to keep in mind is that this piece appears to have been done by a pretty young person who is only speaking of his experience in this one particular conflict in this one particular time in history.  That would be like summarizing "All War" by analyzing the war in Falkland Islands. 

In real conflict and war situations the last thing photographers are doing is manipulating or staging the situation.  Our job is to document the events and people.  The picture used in this discussion did not lie or distort the truth.  It was a strong image of what was going on there.  The photographer has zero control over what the new editors do with the image.  So you can blame them for making more of a story out of it than there really was.

By the way this just adds to why photographers hate videographers.  Many photojournalist like wide lenses because it forces them to get close to the subject.  This accounts for both the popularity of still images from conflicts as well as the large number of conflict photographers deaths.  Videographers on the other hand like staying on the outside shooting it.  This is why most of their stuff never makes it past the evening news and their death count is much lower.  Then video guys have the audacity of taking reputation and professional pop shots at photographers.

Al Jezeera has been doing this for years with terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That's why I always go on high alert whenever I see them out on the battlefield, usually something is going to blow up very soon and I'M the target.

And now the video's been pulled from You Tube.

Erika Barker's picture

Wow! Both video, and website have been pulled.

I was a war photojournalist in Iraq. I can assure you that the average photographer doesn't pose or manipulate the circumstances to their photos at all. You don't need to. The events are crazy and intense enough on their own. Also, it makes it more dangerous when you even seem to get involved at all. Sure there may be a group of photographers together, but that doesn't mean the situation isn't dangerous. I assure you it's very very very dangerous. FS is just being very misleading by saying the photos are staged. Shame on you. Have you ever been in a combat situation where your life is on the line and you could get shot at any moment? This is a very misleading and stupid post from someone who has probably never been in a situation like that themselves and just wants to judge from their armchair.

Chuck Eggen's picture

Great post FS! This is so very relevant today. Anything for a buck, even from war correspondents. Having been to many war-torn areas I can tell you this is much the norm. The sad part is, it's not always just to make a buck. Often it's to push a social / political agenda. It's sad we are heading down this road.

Same video right?


can you imagine whats in our food