Some mothers son

March 6, 2007

One of the most affecting images I have seen for a long time is from the aftermath of a suicide bombing on a U.S military base in Afghanistan. Shot not at the scene but in a domestic environment thousands of miles away, it shows the distraught mother of one of the victims grieving the death of her soldier son.Korea Mum - Low Res.jpg

Lee Chang-hee (R), mother of South Korean sergeant Yoon Jang-ho, is comforted by a relative at her home in Seoul February 27, 2007. Sergeant Yoon was among those killed in a suicide bomb attack outside a U.S. military base in Afghanistan where U.S. vice President Dick Cheney was visiting, South Korea’s Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.

It is rare in Northern Europe to see raw emotion expressed so publicly. Certainly any photographer seeking similar access to a bereaved parent in the UK would be accused of insensitivity and intrusiveness. This is a remarkable document not least because the photographer was clearly inside the womans home at a time at which in many other places the door would be firmly closed to all but family. Even so this picture seems to me to justify the intrusion because it succeeds so effectively in putting a face and a name to the daily toll of human carnage so often expressed only in terms of numbers.

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