An American Journalist in the Role of Partisan - Dickey Chapelle's Coverage of the Algerian War

Webb, Sheila
April 2005
American Journalism;Spring2005, Vol. 22 Issue 2, p111
Academic Journal
This article argues that photojournalist Dickey Chapelle's coverage of the Algerian War in 1957 was unique in American coverage of the conflict. The work of Chapelle prefigued the more engaged photography of the 1960s and thus served as a bridge in photographic practice between that later period and the style prevalent during the late 1930s. Unlike other reporters, Chapelle became a partisan of the FLN, viewed her work as a chance to further its cause, identified strongly with the Algerian rebels, and chose to present them sympathetically. Often the sole woman in the field of war correspondent, her automatic role as outsider helps explain her point of view. Based on a content analysis of 160 articles, this study identifies the common themes in American coverage of the Algerian War. Edward Said's concept of how the Occident framed the Orient as "other" provides an interpretive frame for understanding the American coverage of the conflict. Chapelle departed from the common discourse; in Erving Goffman's terms, her photographs became a collaboration between her and the rebels. The photographs and copy she produced in the Algerian Hills in 1957 offered a fresh discourse in style, approach and visuals.


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