The story a photo can tell

December 30, 2008 at 2:00 am 1 comment

Now, regular ThinkingShift readers know that I’m an amateur photographer so it will be no surprise that I frequent a lot of photography blogs. And it will be no surprise to hear me say that photographs can be extremely evocative and powerful. In fact, one simple photograph can sum up an entire period of history.

I came across just this sort of photography on one of my favourite blogs Things That Make You Go Aaahh. Normally, I have a chuckle over cute photos of fluffy kittens or squirrels in all sorts of bizarre poses. But one photo stopped me dead in my tracks. For some reason, I’ve seen it pop up on several sites and blogs over the last few weeks and this prompted me to go find it again as I’d dismissed it as disturbing when I first saw it. And the reason I’m showing it to you is because a photographer is a painter of light who isolates and captures a combination of subject matter and illumination to produce something visually meaningful. Normally, the photo is visually pleasing or captures a moment in history. But sometimes I see photos that are just plain creepy, chilling, disturbing or frightening. And here is one of those photos.

What do you see disturbing about this photo? Hopefully, you see the grenade next to the kitten. Regardless of whether or not there’s a pin in that grenade, this imagery for me sums up Nazi Germany. I’ve seen some people comment on this photo along the lines of “oh look, Nazis with a kitten. They can’t have been that bad because they’re smiling”. Yes, I’m sure that some Nazis smiled whilst despatching Jews off to the concentration camps too.

The imagery in this photo perfectly reflects the Nazi regime – the kitten is like a Jewish person, unsuspecting of their fate. The grenade is the concentration camp or death. It might or might not go off; you might or might not die in a concentration camp. The Nazi soldiers (not SS from their insignia as far as I can see) smiling at the kitten – it’s like they are trying to assure the kitten (or Jewish people) that everything is roses and they are there to protect them. I’m not sure quite what to make of the flower.  Perhaps you have an idea.

I find this photo hauntingly creepy.


Entry filed under: Photography. Tags: , .

Welcome to Japan Ringing in 2009

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Ohlala  |  January 6, 2009 at 7:40 am

    A picture is worth a thousand words indeed!!


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