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Tragedy porn amid COVID-19 crisis: Photographs of funeral pyres from India selling for Rs. 23,000 each on stock image sites

Indian photographers are making money out of the pandemic by taking photos of the funeral of Covid-19 victims and selling in the international market.

Amidst a surging Coronavirus wave, India has become the centre of attention for media all around the world. This has led to wider coverage of India in the worldwide press, focusing on the imagery of the customary Hindu funeral pyre as a way to “shock” their non-Indian audience. After controversial journalist Barkha Dutt was seen reporting from crematoriums, now photographs of tragic funeral pyres, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, have now become valuable commodities, bought and sold in the Western press.

The British-American media company Getty Images now hosts multiple images depicting multiple Indian funeral pyres lit ablaze on their website. From here, any potential media group around the world can buy these images, in three different sizes, with the largest size priced at about Rs. 23,000. In fact, most of the large versions of the images are priced at Rs. 23,000.

Here is a tragic image from Delhi which was clicked just yesterday, depicting multiple deceased COVID-19 victims, selling for Rs. 23,000.

Another image selling for Rs. 23,000 on Getty Images.

Aerial pictures of crematoriums are also available. which means the photographers flew drones over the cremation grounds to click photos. These types of images have gotten really popular with Western media, with multiple reports utilizing this kind of aerial shot of a crematorium.

A tragic image depicting an embrace between family members of a deceased COVID-19 victim, now selling for Rs. 23,000 on Getty Images.

It may be noted that the photographs are clicked by various photographers in India, both independent photographers and those associated with media houses. This means, not just Getty, but Indian photographers are also making money out of the pandemic by taking photos and selling in the international market.

Clearly, tragic images from India depicting people losing their loved ones generate clicks, which explains the tendency of Western media in using such images for every article discussing India’s current Coronavirus crisis. So it does not come as a surprise that images depicting the misery of regular Indians are fetching huge prices on Getty images for all the foreign media to use.

It may be noted that the photographs are clicked by various photographers in India, both independent photographers and those associated with media houses. This means, not just Getty, but Indian photographers are also making money out of the pandemic by taking photos and selling in the international market.

Tragedy porn is a good business model for Western media and that is why they engage in it. It’s good for the publishers publishing it, the writers writing it, and the photographers providing the tragic images for the article. It just does nothing for the person actually suffering, who will continue to suffer, his tragedy forever immortalized in some Western media article.

Note: All images in the report are screenshots taken from Getty website and no copyright violation is intended as the report is on the stock image platform

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