Haunting Portrait from Bangladesh Tragedy

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WARNING: GRAPHIC It's incredibly difficult for many people of the world to have a point of reference on this type of tragedy, but this image my be one of the most tragic images that I have seen in recent memory. It is both devastating and incredibly heartbreaking. The image is of a male and a female, embracing in their final moments. The couple hasn't been identified, nor is their story known. They were found about 2am buried under fallen concrete with blood coming from the man's eye like a tear.

Photographer Shahidul Alam said of the image "This image, while deeply disturbing, is also hauntingly beautiful. An embrace in death, its tenderness rises above the rubble to touch us where we are most vulnerable. By making it personal, it refuses to let go. This is a photograph that will torment us in our dreams. Quietly it tells us. Never again...If the people responsible don’t receive the highest level of punishment, we will see this type of tragedy again. There will be no relief from these horrific feelings. I’ve felt a tremendous pressure and pain over the past two weeks surrounded by dead bodies. As a witness to this cruelty, I feel the urge to share this pain with everyone. That’s why I want this photo to be seen."

Read the rest of his entry at Time Lightbox

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Timothy Jace's picture

Our condolences. Lets all pray...

Felipe Paredes Schulz's picture

Pray is not going to change the abuse of workers in Bangladesh, we have to do more.

Eric Gould's picture

I am not sure if I would have taken the photo given the same circumstances. Seems like such an invasion in privacy. But, I understand the need....

Kyle Sanders's picture

That is the eternal debate of photojournalism. The counter-argument touted by PJ's is that it is their *obligation* to take exactly these kinds of photos; to bear witness to the events and tell the stories of the people involved.

43434234's picture

can we have beheadings next....? will sure yield some hits on your website....

I'm sorry you can't see the difference!

This is definitely a difficult situation for a photographer to be in, and the ethics are certainly debatable, but I can't say it was wrong to take the photo. Considering the knee-jerk reaction to dismiss tragedy with statistics or to define them as such, it's important for these sorts of images to come out and properly--some may say artistically--represent just what a tragedy means.

Most images from the disaster are of the outside, including grieving people around the vicinity, and while these can be powerful they are also common. Presented with this kind of image, which evokes far deeper emotion than just a dead body or an act of brutality might, a far deeper connection can be made between the audience and the event. It's still a horrible image, but it's a horrible image that serves a purpose. That's what makes it good photojournalism and not simple shock tactics.

Tony Guillaro's picture

Not very Graphic....If you want to see graphic check out what islam does

wishnu's picture

moron..if you want to see graphic, check out what israel does to palestine children ... so you think all muslims are the same? stupid thinking..

apollo's picture

Not sure if ignorant or just plain stupid...

jimifilo's picture

This photo needed to be taken.

Karel Schoonejans's picture

Showing these pictures in the western world will not change anything. Who from us will actually take action to change the working condition of these people? Be honest... No one. We say and truly feel how wrong it is... but eventually we remain 'motionless' and hope that some local politician takes action... At the end, we still want our consumer products as cheap as possible.

tuhije's picture

You can sometimes learn about good people who are doing important work for others and to change things for the better at: radio4all.net (a little sorting might be required)

"Showing these pictures in the western world" is an important function as we educate ourselves and each other.

There have been a number of articles about this factory collapse and the recent factory fire in Bangladesh here:

Luis Arias Villa's picture

It's somewhat shocking to see, but it had to be taken. I'm not sure if I'd have the guts to do it but kudos for the photographer! This had to be shown to the world. Shocking but beautiful.

May they both rest in peace <3 Real Love Does Exist 'till the END!!!