How photographs depict the same thing differently
Photographs of the same thing can bear different ambiences and so can war photographs. Thinking of a war, you are prone to come up with cruel and woeful images. However, depending on what photographs depict, you also can feel ironically calm and peaceful. Here are two photographs of Korean War. The first one is a picture of a Korean child being searched for weapon taken by unknown AP photographer and the other is a picture of a child being helped by a soldier, which is also taken by an unknown photographer. Both photographs depict the same war, child and soldier but the details and backgrounds imply that the two photographs are totally differing.
In the first picture, as you can see, a soldier is searching a child for weapon or bomb and the face of the child is dark and drab. Some may guess that the child is alright and even does not know what is happening or what the guy in front of him is doing. In fact the child does not look starving or hurt. He looks rather intact. But he is clearly bearing a facial expression which well shows that he is unstable and fretful; furthermore he is likely to burst into tears considering his upraised eye brows and some wrinkles in the middle of his forehead. And it is also noticeable that light is only on the child's face whereas soldier's face is shaded. It also emphasizes the ambience of the situation, which feels quite solemn and negative. We also can gather that the war is still going on in the picture seeing that the soldier is even strict to an ingenuous young boy whose face is likely to tell us "I do not know anything ". The picture also shows that the child is not wearing any shoes and the land is rough and inappropriate for naked feet. So the overall ambience in this photograph is fairly dark, drab, and woeful. It is bleak enough to have us think that this war is still going on and feel this war so pitiful.
The other picture, which has put in another child and soldier, on the other hand, is showing the polar opposite. In comparison with the soldier in the first picture, the solider here is stretching his hand to a little girl. The girl looks pretty carefree and unafraid of a tall soldier. The little girl and the soldier even look heart-touching. we can't know whether the child lost her mother and received a hand of help or the soldier is holding her hand just because the land is a bit high to step up for her. But what is so obvious is that the child and soldier are making the ambience unlike a war. One more contrary to the former picture is the background. This picture, despite black color film, is showing, green mountains, grass, and weeds and a man looking like a farmer. The main two people and the background things are even in harmony. The child is also wearing some shoes. Not only the child and soldier but also the accessories in this picture make the ambience of this picture quite still and much more stabilized than a usual war's. And furthermore people seeing this picture's green periphery must be able to gather that this war is already over. So the ambience in this picture is quite bright and peaceful. It's evident that the background implies the post war situation.
Both of two photographs of the same war each show a soldier and a child. Anyone can make out what the two pictures' theme is. But as we explore the details in the two pictures, they vary in so many ways and also convey the obviously different ambiences. The first one expresses a drab and dark ambience with the child's unstable face and the soldier' shaded. On the other hand, the other photograph expresses a peaceful and calm ambience with the unafraid child's behavior and face. Furthermore we also can find that the child in the first picture is not wearing shoes but the other is wearing shoes. Although it is very trivial, it clearly shows that the first is miserable and the other is stable. Both of the photographs also obviously differ in the background. The first photograph has such a bleak and stark land that we feel more cold and somber, whereas the other is getting along with rather green and bucolic backgrounds, which have us feel warm and heart touching. Therefore the difference of the details and the backgrounds displays the clear contrast of the two situations, and ambiences.
In my conclusion, as the two pictures above each showed two different ambiences and many difference-making accessories in a uniformed theme, photographs can vary in so many ways and depict the same person, background and situation differently like a kaleidoscope. Therefore, the photographs enough deserve looking into more carefully and meticulously. The real fun of photographs comes when we not only see and recognize what the pictures' theme is but also focus on more details and backgrounds and think of what makes the pictures dark or bright.