Photojournalist accused of staging award-winning photos of assassins (graphic content)

Jun 24, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photojournalist accused of staging award-winning photos of assassins (graphic content)

Jun 24, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

In his project titled Sicario, a work like any other, Swiss/Italian photographer Michele Crameri published a series of photos depicting hitmen in Honduras. The project has won many awards, but the photographer is now being accused of staging the photos.

Sicario, a work like any other (warning: graphic content) revolves around sicarios (hitmen) who work for gangs in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Crameri traveled there four times between 2015 and 2018, photographing disturbing images of crime scenes, funerals, and even recently murdered people. Some of his photos show sicarios holding guns and threatening people. Crameri’s website reports that the project has won 15 awards since2017. It was also a finalist of Lens Culture’s Visual Storytelling Awards 2019. However, a few photographers have started accusing Crameri of staging his striking images.

FStoppers writes that Orlin Castro, a local journalist who assisted Crameri, was the first to notice that Crameri’s project included some “problematic images.” Two other photographers are also speaking out about Crameri’s alleged scam. They are Tomas Ayuso from Honduras and Francesca Volpi from Italy, and they have both worked with Castro, according to FStoppers. Ayuso claims that the portraits are posed “alongside fake captions and completely staged pictures of scenes of criminal violence, all wrapped neatly with a narrative of ‘Killers in Honduras have part-time jobs.’”

Some of the photos were allegedly a result of hitmen practically fooling in front of the camera. Castro says that he jokingly asked sicarios to show Crameri how they executed someone. When they did, Sicario photographed the scenes. According to Castro, the photographer told him that those images were to be used only for his personal archive. However, he published them after all, along with dramatic captions depicting the scenes as being real.

According to FStoppers, Crameri started receiving questions about his project in March 2019. At the moment, his Instagram is locked, and his Facebook page seems closed. However, he was contacted by FStoppers via email, and he responded, claiming that the project was not staged. Parallelo Zero, the agency representing Crameri, told FStoppers that they had conducted a research of their own following the fakery accusations. They added that they “were satisfied that Crameri’s work was legitimate.”

Sadly, it’s not so rare that photojournalists stage images and represent them as real. Some of those photos won prestigious awards or even become iconic. All of them show the real world, people who really exist, and who indeed live difficult lives. But can we really call them “documentary”? And is taking photos like this still photojournalism? I’d say it can be seriously discussed.

We have reached out to Crameri and Paralello Zero to try and find out more about the allegations, and we’ll update the article if we hear back.

[via FStoppers; lead image: screenshot, Paralello Zero]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 responses to “Photojournalist accused of staging award-winning photos of assassins (graphic content)”

  1. Clarence Hemeon Avatar
    Clarence Hemeon

    Drivel.

  2. Marios Forsos Avatar
    Marios Forsos

    There will be more and more of these – both photographers staging shots AND being discovered and outed. Why? Well, it’s becoming more and more challenging to come up with truly original and grabbing images, so staging is the easy, quick and pretty much foolproof way of getting there – it’s human nature. As for them being found out, well, social media and the internet now ensures everyone can have access to images and free reign to scrutinise them. And the latter is a good thing! I think this is the 4th or 5th time in the last few months that the world has outed an image or a photographer for fake images…! Makes you wonder, right? How much this was happening before…:-(

    1. Alexander L. Harris Avatar
      Alexander L. Harris

      Seems to me if he were honest about what the photos were depicting he still would have had compelling imagery, and wouldn’t be having these problems.

  3. James Thomas Avatar
    James Thomas

    Typical liberal propagandist, NOT a real photographer.