Together We Stand, Hand In Hand

Manipulated photo with changed meaning:


The photo that I chose to alter is an iconic picture of Harry Truman, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Credited to the National Archives, it was taken shortly after the Nazi surrender in World War Two.  The original photo carries a tremendous amount of weight. It signifies two leaders in a time of tremendous tension with clear opposing views, momentarily putting aside their differences in order to capture this moment.

I decided to change the meaning by switching the faces of Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin. I imposed Ben Gourin’s face over Churchill’s and Khaled Mashal over Joseph Stalin’s. Ben Gourin was founder and first Prime Minister of Israel and Khaled Mashal is the leader of the Islamic Palestinian organization known as Hamas. I made these alterations to show two faces of groups with extremely polarizing religious and political views. It now depicts the western world and the Middle East coming together to resolve a grave conflict. Joining hands is a sign of unity and represents the planting of the seeds to a solution in the struggles between the Arab Nation, the State of Israel, and America’s relationship with both.

My choice in pasting ­­Khaled Mashal’s face on Stalin’s body was to portray him as someone with skewed ideals, and by putting Ben Gourin’s face on Churchill’s body, I aimed to depict him as the noble man who will start the peace process. My alterations change the story that the picture tells, now, with two leaders in the Middle East. One leader represents the legitimacy of the state of Israel and its people, and the other aiming to delegitimize Israel and an active member of the Anti- Zionism movement, shaking hands in the presence of a great American figure. My photo shows men at great odds coming together, reconciling opposing views that have consistently put millions’ of lives at stake, and starting the movement to a better tomorrow.

Below is the original photo and the photos that I used in my manipulation.

handshake-stalin-truman-churchil-e url imgres


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