This paper is about a popular kind of photograph associated with demonstrations for the cause of missing persons. It focuses on Cyprus, where the demonstrators are often women who lost family members in the events before and during the Turkish Army invasion of 1974. In documenting these demonstrations, photojournalists capture a typical kind of image, here called ‘the photographic Pietà’. Although the photographic Pietà first came to the author’s attention in Cyprus it is not limited to that country, and this paper will establish some of the political, temporal and religious parameters in which it is prevalent. The paper establishes links with similar forms of representation in protests that appear in the context of other wars, and it isolates the uniqueness of the photographic Pietà among other kinds of photographs. One of the main attributes of the photographic Pietà is a kind of disappearance, which is
related both to the basic rules of visual perspective and the mechanisms of photographic reproduction, and this is described here by way of example and experiment, then reviewed in the contexts of social science, political photography, gender and the media.
gender, media, photography, demonstration, human rights, politics, Cyprus
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