T75-155_Oklahoma-City_fireman+dead-baby_1995When it comes to responsibly taken photographs that poignantly tell a compelling story, this photograph of a firefighter holding a baby in his arms after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, comes to mind. Amateur photographer Charles Porter captured firefighter Chris Fields carrying one-year-old Baylee Almon away from the site of the blast. Baylee died not long after the photograph was taken. Porter went on to win the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography.

This image contrasts with that of Fabienne Cherisma taken by Swedish photographer Paul Hansen, in which Cherisma’s body had apparently been re-arranged before being photographed by Hansen. Hansen’s photo went on to win a Swedish press photo award.

So what’s the difference between the two photographs? Porter’s wasn’t staged and Hansen’s very likely was. Yet both photographs won awards.

Sources: cbsnews.com, worldsfamousphotos.com


  1. So the fact that the world is made aware that Fabienne Cherisma was murdered by the police over the theft of some pictures is of less importance to you than that someone (not necessarily Hansen) moved her body slightly to make the message clearer? Your sensibilities are terribly skewed.

  2. The whole idea about the Hansen shot being made after the body was moved is clearly faulty. If you take a look at the so called “before” (Rawlins) shot and comapre it to Hansens, the bloodstains on the ground are evidence: the Hansen shot was actually taken BEFORE Rawlins photo. The body was moved, yes, but it happened efter the Hansen photo. The blood beneath the picture of the flower is evidence, unless somebody went there and wiped the stains off the ground. Or maybe the blood is running UP the hill?

  3. So blood doesn’t run uphill? You don’t say … and maybe young girls who get shot in the head with a high-powered fire arm fall to the ground perfectly, clutching their picture frames as if nothing ever happened.

    You bring up a very good point about the blood stains. But I’m afraid your conclusions are deeply flawed. Think carefully about what would happen to the human body after it sustained an instantly fatal shot to the head.

  4. Neither Jeffrey Maciejewski or the commenter Tito Chris is competent to say what would or would not happen after a person is shot in the head, or to judge from a photo whether the injury was instantly fatal.

  5. But we can begin to ascertain the circumstances behind the photograph in question based on other photographs of the deceased. That said, one can reasonably assume that if a person is shot in the head, the person would not fall to the ground clutching a picture. I can reasonably assume that even a superficial head wound produced by a gun shot would result in a sufficiently stunned reaction so as to force one to immediately drop what one is carrying, if only due to an involuntary response. It would seem that a basic understanding of human physiology would point to that as an outcome.

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