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Vivid Photos Remain Etched in Memory

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told senators last week that it wasn't until he saw photographs of Iraqi prisoner abuse that he realized how serious the offenses were.

Disturbing photos of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad are the latest images that have defined the perception of a news story. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.

Photos of police dogs loosed on black civil rights protesters in Birmingham, Ala.; a naked Vietnamese girl cries in horror after a napalm attack; and the famous flag-raising on Iwo Jima during World War II are seared in the collective memory.

Hal Buell, former photography director for the Associated Press and author of Moments: Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographs, says: "Words are the tools of someone who sees something and then describes it. Pictures... describe something that actually happened."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.