The end of every year is marked with personal, professional and public reflections of that year’s successes and failures. A task undertaken by the media at this time is finding the events and pictures that have left the greatest impression on the public.
In a limited, humble personal attempt, I sought to ask some people of varying backgrounds and concerns about their key photo and event for 2006.
The gave various answers, ranging from the scenes of the daily massacres in Iraq to the picture of the 11-year-old Gaza schoolgirl who lost her whole family while on a beach picnic, while others sighted the victims of second Qana Massacre during the July war in southern Lebanon, as well as many other important events.
What is remarkable is how difficult it is to concentrate on a single snap shot or event, as if these events have become the norm. Even if we were moved to a certain degree, these images often disappear once television fades to black or simply following a personal decision to select another channel.
The huge leap in the age of photo journalism and information coupled with conflicting, international interests have expanded the volume of events and images that are successively and rapidly conveyed by today’s media.
But such an expansion has made it difficult to single out a particular event or image of the year taking into account the numerous wars taking place around the globe.
Such a reality prompts one to ask: should media outlets seek another methodology in its coverage that avoids making tragedies commonplace in a manner that turns them from a momentous event into an ordinary image shown on a television screen or a newspaper front page.
A few years ago, the photo of Palestinian boy Muhammad al Durrah, who was shot dead before the cameras by the Israeli soldiers, was so powerful that Muhammad al Durrah became a TV icon, whilst the photos of Gaza beach girl, whose family was killed in front of here very eyes, or the photos of Iraqi Haditha massacre or Qana massacre, though by no means less, have gone by; however, we cannot dub any of them as the photo of the year because all of them were photos of the year.
Regarding the image of the year it has become almost natural to talk about a negative image since positive ones do not stir our memories, particularly as we feel that the media today have become one of those tragedies. This does not mean the media are to blame since conveying such tragedies is of course the key part of their role.