Monday, June 20, 2011

Week 4 in DC!

This week in D.C. I visited the famed Newseum (for free) thanks to InternsRock. I found the exhibits heartwarming, tragic, funny, and heart breaking all at once. I'm mostly referring to the Pulitzer Prize winning photos from past- 2010. I think that three of the most thought provoking photos were easily "Vietnam Napalm" taken by Nick Ut and "Waiting for the Sudanese Child" taken by Kevin Carter. I found these two especially memorable because in a kind of un-explainable way, they were heart wrenching, but explosive in emotion and symbolism. It's like you can't bring yourself to take the photo in, in its entirety because its so tragically powerful, but it captivates you with such intensity that it commands your attention. The first, "Vietnam Napalm" was taken by Nick Ut during the bombings of Trang Bang, South Vietnam. Famously, it pictures a young girl running toward the camera with nothing on, crying from the napalm burning her skin. Something from the exhibit that I especially appreciated was the "explanation/ background" of the photo. I found out that this young girl continually shouted"Too hot!" at Ut until he wrapped her in a blanket. Despite the incredible horror emanating from the photo, it was slightly more comforting and hopeful (I do suppose) to learn that the girl survived, got married, and stayed in touch with Ut.
The second photo, "Waiting for the Sudanese Child" was a photo that actually became more difficult to look at, the more I read about it and examined it. Carter's photo shows a skeletal and barely alive, Sudanese child curled up on the ground. Taken some distance away from a local Sudanese feeding camp, there's no question the child is dying of starvation-- at the very least. Behind the child lurks a black vulture, waiting for its soon-to-be next meal. This photo is haunting at the very least, and with this one especially I had to move on before I started crying. I learned from the exhibit explanation that after taking the photo Carter shooed the vulture away, but (I assume from advice to avoid contracting disease) left the child behind. Then three months later Carter committed suicide, perhaps due in part to the "Sudanese Child"--his greatest work and his greatest regret.

Anyways, I don't mean to put such a damper on this post! It was just a very powerful experience and for that I thought it was worth talking about. :) In the meantime, I've also been recovering from my sinus infection (woo hoo...) and will hopefully be on the right track with some antibiotics!


-Nicole Tay

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