Triumph of Love or Face of War?

What strikes me is the various ways one can read the photo. Is it an anti-war statement? A testament to true love? Both simultaneously? Nearly everyone is in agreement on one thing: this young couple is going to have a tough road ahead of them.

This photo by Nina Berman, which won a World Press Photo award last week, has sparked a lively debate on Michael Shaw's progressive blog BagNewsNotes. The picture, originally taken on assignment for People magazine, shows Iraq veteran Ty Ziegel and his wife, Renee Kline. Ziegel, a Marine, was severely burned in a suicide bomb attack in Iraq.

Shaw posted the photo last Sunday, and by today it already had 90 comments. Shaw, who analyzes and writes about news photos, asked his readers to offer their first reactions, which range from shock to sadness to hope. As expected, some of the comments are thoughtful and considered, some not so much.

What strikes me is the various ways one can read the photo. Is it an anti-war statement? A testament to true love? Both simultaneously? Nearly everyone is in agreement on one thing: this young couple is going to have a tough road ahead of them.

After originally running in People with other photos of the couple before Ty's injuries, the picture set sold in several markets around the world. Now, after winning first prize in the portrait category at World Press Photo, this particular image has taken on a second life, and is likely to have a third act when the World Press Photo exhibition begins its multi-country tour later this year.

I'm curious to hear what our readers think.

--Jay DeFoore

Photo: Copyright Nina Berman / Redux Pictures

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