The Omran Daqneesh Imagery from the Streets of Aleppo to International Frontpages: Political Contestation, Documentary Value and Emotional Appeal

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This article studies the virality and assigned iconicity of visual icons by examining the roles and interplays between photographers and other media actors contributing to early phases of making and sharing the Omran Daqneesh images from Aleppo, 2016. We draw on theoretical frameworks concerning the mobilization of iconic imagery in today’s digitalized and globalized media landscape as well the interpretive continuum of documentary evidence and emotional appeal typically applied to iconic imagery of children. Empirically, we take our point of departure in interviews with photographers, NGO workers, editors and journalists involved in facilitating, producing and initially disseminating the Omran Daqneesh imagery, to explore how – in contrast to the seemingly straightforward communication offered by visual icons – they are in effect the result of an intricate interplay between these actors, which in different ways and for different reasons contribute to spreading the images and determining their significance and meaning.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Media and Communication
Volume17, 2
Pages (from-to)261-277
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

ID: 235526528