Favorite Photograph 2016 #10, “Mahmoud Rslan/AFP, “Rescued Syrian Child, 2016”

Last year, when we reached this culminating point in my favorite photographs list, I found that I could not escape the immediate and haunting images of Syrian refugees and in particular of  Nilufer Demir Aylan’s Story showing a police officer cradling the lifeless body of the drowned child.  When I first saw that picture everyone said that it would prove to be a “game changer.” I doubted it at the time and have not been proven wrong.

So now twelve months later we find ourselves on “that sad height.” We are haunted once again, this time by a photograph taken by Mahmoud Rslan of the AFP of a dazed and bloodied Syrian boy named Omran Daqneesh, who had just been  rescued from a destroyed building in Aleppo after an air strike. Again the call for outrage and inaction. This must be my “Favorite Photograph # 10 for 2016.” Rslan has captured all the tragedy and despair of the moment, ever so masterfully.Funny to call it “favorite,” since it will haunt me for a very long time. Little Omran reminds me ever so much of the two children revealed beneath the Robes of the Ghost of Christmas Present in Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” Their names we are told are “Ignorance and Want.”

I do not know the answer to the problems which cause such tragedies or the solution to global impotence. I only know that there will be more such photographs. The New Year will usher in its own iconic photographs of misery. I only know that the world could benefit from more empathy and acts of human kindness.





This entry was posted in History of Photography, Reviews and Critiques.