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Many people criticize the current photojournalism for being too frivolous with others’ misfortunes. Many claim against the media for publishing pornography.

Well known photographers like Sebastiao Salgado have been often repudiated for trying to do “poetry” with the pains of others, for trying to “beautify” the rawest misery that enrages our society.

But many do not know that the publication of bloody images is not only a product of our days. It comes from many years ago, when there was already the need to spread the calamities and the injustices in distant territories.

The above picture was taken at the beginning of the 20th century in Congo, when it was under the bloodthirsty control of king Leopold of Belgium. The man who appears in the image is named Nsala and he is staring at the remains (a hand and a foot) of his five-year-old murdered daughter.

This one and many other photographs published on the Belgian Congo were viewed all around the world and made possible that main countries showed their rejection publicly to the wild pretensions of king Leopold.

Surely the photography can never solve anything of what happens in the world (Libya, Syria, Afghanistan …) but it can influence the public opinion.

It is always better a conscience “bothered” by a disgusting image than another one that ignores what happens. Many can say that too much pornography is published in media, but nobody will tell us that there is a lack of information.

Photojournalism has rescued us from the ignorance.

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