Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Truths

25 Truths Everyone Raised By Lebanese Parents Will Understand, April 9, 2017

Growing up Lebanese: it’s quite an adventure.
1. You know how dangerous it is to walk on freshly mopped floors.

2. You know better than to tell your dad “ma khassak” (it is none of your business)
3. It’s guaranteed that if you’re going somewhere, you’ll be taking ekhtak/khayyak with you. (Have to be accompanied by a sister or a brother)
4. It’s not your dad who’s wrong, it’s the brand new DVD player that “doesn’t work properly”.

5. You were forced to take a jacket with you everywhere, even in sunny 30-degree weather.
6. That feeling of true happiness when your dad tells you to take money from his pocket.
7. This:


8. Smoking is the worst thing you could do, but both your parents smoke.

9. Granted you have pictures of yourself smoking a cigarette as an infant.
10. The 20 questions you get bombarded with every time you want to leave the house.
11. Running away when you get a phone jammed in your face so you can talk to your 3amto (aunt) from the day3a.

12. To your face: you’re the worst kid. Behind your back: you’re a straight-A angel.

13. You’re not really sick unless you have a 40-degree fever and/or are hospitalized.
14. You get screamed at for walking barefoot. During winter it’s too cold, and during summer it’s too dirty.
15. 7Up and Panadol are guaranteed cures to every illness under the sun.


16. Your parents buy fruits by the ton. Oh you want strawberries?Here’s a field.
17. This reality:


A post shared by Arab Problems (@arabproblems) on Aug 28, 2016 at 6:39am PDT

18. The waynik/waynak (hey you) text is guaranteed to send shivers down your spine.
19. Slippers are not just footwear, they double as weaponry.

20. You don’t know true fear until your mom finds out you ate out while she spent all day making mloukhiyye.
21. Your mom has one set of gold encrusted tea cups reserved for guests.
22. Ice cream during winter is a huge no-no.
23. Leaving your hair wet after a shower is a sure way to get pneumonia.
24. Fucidine on everything and anything.
25. And this is how you knew shit was about to hit the fan



Steve McCurry, a photographer who has reached iconic status following the publication of his Afghan Girl portrait in National Geographic in 1985, has found himself at the center of a controversy over image manipulation.
The Magnum member is accused of photoshopping elements out of his photographs – a “mistake” McCurry has blamed on bad procedures at his studio.

Peter van Agtmael, also a Magnum photographer and one of McCurry’s colleagues, reacts to the industry’s outrage in the following opinion piece. His views, he says, do not represent those of Magnum, “a place that often seems to have far more opinions than it does photographers.” He adds: “Although Steve and I are both Magnum photographers, we have only met in passing several times.”

If my Facebook feed is any judge, there are a whole lot of people in the photojournalism community who are upset with Steve McCurry.

When I saw the alterations, my first reaction was confusion. If he wanted to manipulate the images, why would he have approved such incredibly shoddy work?

His explanation that someone in his studio acted unilaterally seems plausible enough. I don’t know the answer, nor do I care much (for me, the content wasn’t meaningfully altered, nor were the prints being made for a context that demanded absolute adherence to a precisely captured moment), and really this most recent scandal is a springboard to discuss some parallel issues.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

“Photography is an incredibly subjective craft.

In the criticisms of McCurry, there were a lot of loaded words like ‘truth’ and ‘objectivity’ being thrown around. I don’t really believe in these words.

I’ve never met two people with the same truth, nor seen true objectivity ever demonstrably applied to anything. They are nice words, but remain aspirational and cloud a more nuanced interpretation of reality and history.

We shouldn’t mistake something factual for something truthful, and we should always question which facts are employed, and how.”

Peter van Agtmael addresses the controversy behind Steve McCurry’s manipulated photos

There is one very important qualifier I’d add. Any photographer working predominantly in a photojournalistic context needs to be rigidly transparent about digital manipulation (and Fred Ritchin’s “Four Corners” proposal, which transparently embeds each photographer’s code of ethics into their images while including the necessary context, could help if adopted by the industry).

I don’t take issue with most forms of manipulation, but deception isn’t acceptable.

The refugee crisis was doubtless one of the most documented events in human history. But if you look at the images that dominated the mainstream media and were validated by contests, they usually showed misery and fear, mostly in the form of rafts of refugees arriving in Lesbos.

Are those pictures a potent symbol of the crisis? Absolutely.

Is it accurate or balanced that they almost entirely control the visual narrative? Absolutely not.

Arabs (and many other groups) have been objectified and dehumanized in the media for decades. The same tropes constantly repeat themselves, mostly highlighting violence, victimization and exoticism.

After ten years working in the region, this certainly isn’t my truth, nor does it even hint at anything that could be called objectivity.

Yet these kinds of hyper-dramatic but ultimately repetitive and narrow images repeat themselves year after year, usually devoid of context.

The very nature of what is photographed and how is heavily affected by the influence of admired photographers with distinct personal visions, patterns of success in contests and the traditions and expectations of the commissioning body. Style, lens choice, position, what to show and what to exclude in the framing, editing, equipment choice, toning, sequence are all manipulative and subjective.

The result is a collection of facts that tends to be sanctimoniously declared as representing ‘truth.’ At best, these facts are a coherent personal truth.

At worst, they are a distorted and overly dramatized look at complex issues in often marginalized, objectified communities. Often, they are something in between.

To capture something happening in a pinprick of time is inherently a limited means of understanding.

Factor in history of representation, complex racial and identity politics, and the demographic breakdown of many World Press winners (white, western males, or those working for organizations dominated by them), and you end up with a very imperfect rendering of the world.




July 2022

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