This is a photo of Gaza posted with this tweet which I saw after someone I follow RT’d it. I haven’t fact checked anything about this photo. If it is in fact Gaza, the timing of it, nothing. Given what I know of the conflict and what has been reported on the news the above depiction is believable. Believability is not truth, it just resembles it. This image might be a fake. I have a feeling it is not.
The thing with this photo I find the most curious is its color. The Before image is much more saturated than the After. The sky is more blue, the red buildings are more red. The After image is toned down. The sheer destruction has something to do with this. Colorful architecture and plant life is obscured or obliterated. But certain buildings, the sky and objects clearly visible in both photos do appear less saturated in the After photo. Seems like less red and blue saturation but someone with a better eye for this kind of thing should correct me.
I don’t posses nearly the expertise to say why this might be. Perhaps it’s on purpose or perhaps it is not. These images were necessarily shot at two different times so maybe the difference in daylight, camera, lens or a dozen other factors contribute to the difference in color. Either way I think it’s noteworthy because of the association of vibrance of color with vibrance of life. In the after photo it is as if the life has been drained from the city itself and in a significantly less metaphorical sense that is exactly true.
I’ve been to places that have been bombed out and dust and ash do cling to buildings somewhat obscuring colours but you’re right, this appears to be more than that. Perhaps this is merely indicative of my own cynicism but I wouldn’t put it past a less than reputable news company to desaturate a photo (or increase saturation on the before photo, or both) in order to make it seem more sad and devastating and align with viewer expectations. People are used to seeing conflict in movies and old black and white historical documentaries, they don’t imagine that a clear sky in a war zone is just as vibrant blue as it is out their front door. It does raise an interesting question about the ethics of doing that though. If a photo doesn’t fully convey the emotional reality then is it okay for them to slightly enhance it so that it does? If it’s not okay with computer software like photoshop then what about with camera lens filters et al. which essentially do the same thing before the light hits the sensor and the “actual” image is taken?
I also find it interesting that we do, as you said, associate “vibrance of color with vibrance of life” considering that in nature super vibrant often also means super poisonous/venomous/run-away-ous. I understand the lack of colour being correlated with death and decay but (at least on initial inquiry) I would have thought moderation of colour to be the most life affirming. Of course that sort of pre-assumes that our preference for colours is mostly genetic which is probably ascribing it too much credit however it’s still a curious question as is the whole nature-nurture balance in, well, pretty much any human behaviour topic.
I’ve so many questions, and probably too much caffeine.