We Americans Can Learn Something from the Chilean Celebration of Miners Rescued
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
A satellite image shows the relief efforts to reach the trapped miners in the San Jose Mine in Copiapo, Chile. (credit: DigitalGlobe/Flickr)
Watching those miners emerge in a steel-cage projectile from the collapsed mine in Chile is miraculous. It’s risky business and it has been done with aplomb. What I’ve been struck with is the celebratory spirit of the event. Chileans gather in a central plaza waving Chile’s flag and laughing and cheering; rescued miners surface to quickly embrace their loved ones and then play to the surrounding crowd, pumping fists and yelling and urging supporters on.
I don’t think we would see that type of celebration here in the United States. I imagine a sense of solemnity and solitary viewing might take place. We Americans would silently be waiting for the news of disaster avoided rather than success achieved. And, for me, this is the lesson: acknowledge our frailty as human beings and revere how we move forward and do incredible things in spite of it — with our fists pumping in the air.
And, since I’m a father and a brother, these following three images really grabbed me. They are not shots of the first rescued miner, Florencio Avalos, but of his father and brother thanking the stars, embracing the moment and each other with amazement, and weeping over a loved one who will be coming home again.
Alfonso Avalos (right) and his son Wilson embrace after learning Florencio successfully made it to the surface after spending 10 weeks trapped in a collapsed mine 800 km north of Santiago, Chile. (photo: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)
Gaza’s Steadfast Faces of Survival
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
“This, I realized, was what I could add. Not the familiar scenes of destruction in Gaza but the steadfast faces of survival. To capture each intimate portrait required that I spend just a little more time with people, that I hear a bit more about their lives, look more deeply at them. And find the story of Gaza in their faces.”
—Asim Rafiqui, photojournalist
The Virginia Quarterly Review has published Rafiqui’s stunning set of black-and-white portraits of Palestinians living through the ongoing struggle for Gaza. The photojournalist’s introduction to “Portraits of Survival” with its brief captions give the viewer an intimate glimpse into his subjects’ lives.
A point emphasized that resonated with me in several stories: stripping a person of the ability to offer hospitality to a guest is to strip one of his or her dignity.
Kashmir Through the Lens of Ami Vitale
by Andy Dayton, associate web producer
News broke last Thursday that mass graves were uncovered in Indian Kashmir containing 1,500 unidentified bodies. This is sad news, but it stood out to me especially because I had just finished reading an interview with photojournalist Ami Vitale in which she discusses some of her photos of Kashmir.
The interviewer mentions that Vitale had come under criticism for photos she took of the area during conflict, that they were “too pretty.” Vitale’s response:
“There are beautiful human beings caught in the middle of something much bigger than themselves. Unless we can see the humanity that exists everywhere and allow the people to touch us in some way, then there will never be resolution. We must be forced to see ourselves in the faces of war and realize that in fact, we are all no different from each other.”
(photos: Ami Vitale/Getty Images)