Thursday, October 7, 2010

Red Is the New Green Disaster

Seeing Red: Photo by Tomas Benedikovic/Isifa/ Getty Images
Does the color of a disaster matter? Yes, I think. The red sludge that has washed over dozens of villages in Hungary has provided photographers with a striking emblem—a color-coded warning about the dangers of toxic reservoirs, specifically, as well as an unmistakable sign of a more generalized fear for our world. 

     Natural disasters like mudslides are often horrific, but they usually come in earth tones. A mudslide that is red has another meaning entirely, one that we don't have to think hard about to understand. Seeing a picture like the one above, by Tomas Benedikovic for Isifa/Getty Images, is  enough. 
     It isn't surprising then that so many pictures have been turning up in portfolios on news websites. Here is a collection of six particularly effective shots gleaned from some of those sites. Each, in its own way, communicated fear and loathing, red and dread.

1. Beauty and the Burst

An aerial view of the damaged reservois: Photo by Sandor H Szabo/AP

2. Sludge Report 

A firefighter empties his boot: Photo by Lajos Nagy/EPA

3. Dead Planet
Near the village of Kolontar, Photo by Bela Szandelszky/AP

4. Air Presumptive

A Hungarian Soldier: Photo by Bela Szandelszky/AP

5. Crimson Side

High-water mark, October 5: Photo byWaltraud Holzfeind/Greenpeace/Reuters

6. Hue and Sigh

A resident rests: Photo by Tamas Kovacs/EPA

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