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A Rare Photo of a Rarely Photographed Crisis

An image can make an atrocity seem more real to the American public—but why do people need to see in order to feel?

  • Ashley Fetters
  • The Atlantic

It’s hard to describe the thought process that ensues when you first look at a photograph of two dead bodies—one of a man and one of a small child clinging to him—floating in the shallow water near a riverbank.

Partly because the process of making sense of it is just so fast; the tragedy that has occurred is communicated, beyond a shadow of a doubt, immediately.

A photograph that has been circulating virally online (and that framed the…

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