Pasternak, Gil (2012) Scabbed Pictures: On the Familial Birth of National Postmemories. In: Urban Encounters: The Image of Public Space, 6 October 2012, Tate Britain.

This talk revisited a body of research that I completed and published in 2009: Pasternak, Gil, “Covering Horror: Family Photographs in Israeli Reportage on Terrorism,” Object, 11: 87-104, London: Routledge, 2009. Focusing on the presentation of family photographs in reports on politically-motivated violent attacks in the leading Israeli dailies since the first intifada of 1987, I further elaborated upon the role such images play in the revision of Israeli history and historiography. How should the Israeli media cover terror attacks carried out against the Israeli population and within the environment of its daily life? What kind of images should it circulate? How explicit should these be? Such questions have concerned a variety of professional members of the Israeli society since the mid 1990s. Having realised that a too explicit coverage of attacks might damage the morale of the Israelis, Israeli dailies virtually agreed in 1997 to refrain from publishing explicit photographs of corpses, expressions of panic, hysteria, grief and anxiety. Instead, the Israeli media turned to what eventually became the only valid, indisputable means to represent the dead victims: their family photographs. These pictures, however, refer to a different space, time, and occasion; they draw attention to more pleasurable moments and biographical highlights, whereas the nature of the reported event and the report itself inevitably focuses on violence and death. This talk aimed to provide a greater insight into the social and professional perception of this phenomenon in the context of the Israel-Palestinian struggle.

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