Cross-posted from the Columbia Journalism Review. [By Amanda Darrach and Fred Ritchin] “Decisions made by photojournalists and their editors define traumatic events in the cultural consciousness. Throughout coverage of COVID-19, many news outlets have published photographs that reiterate racist tropes, suggest a false gap between ‘East’ and ‘West,’ and fail to engage a fuller range of human efforts to respond to a pandemic.
CJR spoke with Fred Ritchin, Dean Emeritus of the International Center of Photography (ICP) School and a former professor of Photography and Imaging at New York University specializing in visual media and human rights, who shared his opinions about early photographic coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way journalism illustrates trauma. Ritchin’s comments have been edited for length and clarity.”