A Pacific Northwest Editorial Photographer's Blog

Power of Photojournalism

A couple of weeks ago I saw in my new issue of The New Yorker the black-and-white portraits of men and women who’d volunteered to serve in the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The photographs were made by Platon the highly talentated staff photographer at The New Yorker. The photos are more than handsome, assertive, and intimate, they are politically powerful and set off a charge in Colin Powell that according to Maureen Dowd’s Oct 21st, column “Moved by a Crescent” in the NY Times, resulted in him endorsing Barack Obama for president.
Powell noted, both to Dowd and on television talk shows, that it was one of Platon’s images that convinced him to endorse Barack Obama.

As Dowd wrote:

But what sent him over the edge and made him realize he had to speak out was when he opened his New Yorker three weeks ago and saw a picture of a mother pressing her head against the gravestone of her son, a 20-year-old soldier who had been killed in Iraq. On the headstone were engraved his name, Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, his awards — the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star — and a crescent and a star to denote his Islamic faith.
“I stared at it for an hour,” he told me. “Who could debate that this kid lying in Arlington with Christian and Jewish and nondenominational buddies was not a fine American?”

Powell decided he’d had enough of derisive political campaigns that claimed to know which Americans are “pro-America” and which are not. It was one image that clarified his thinking.

View the rest of Platon’s powerful portfolio here.


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