The spectatorship of global issues

I found this image of the recent riots and deaths int he Ukraine …

It shows women holding pictures of protesters killed in the Ukraine in a riot with police officers. The point of view in this image is from slightly below the women’s eyesight, with the silhouette of one woman in the close foreground on the right side of the image (you know she is close because you can only see part of her). All of the other women are looking in the same direction, away from you as the viewer. This gives the viewer the feeling that he or she is standing in the crowd of women honoring the death of these protesters. It puts the viewer right in the middle of the ceremony, making the loses of these protesters seem personal. The viewer can see the pain and grief on the faces of these women because we are physically close to them.

In regards to spectatorship, this image quite literally gives the viewer the sense of their place in a world that is full of such violence and injustice because the point of view of this picture is right in the crowd with those most directly effected by the violence. The gaze of the viewer onto these women shows the power dynamic between the viewer and protesters; the viewer holds the power in relationship to the object in the picture, or these women. But the viewer is also likely to be someone in the Western world that is economically stable and far from the uprisings occurring in the Ukraine. In comparison to these women, the viewer has more agency to protest and do something about these injustices, just as the viewer has more power by being the subject, and not the object. Therefore, the image interpellates the viewer to do something about the violence and uprising; it makes the issue seem more personal and pressing. Therefore, the gaze of the viewer establishes a power dynamic that encourages the viewer to act on these injustices and help the mourning women that are photographed.


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