Photos from 2005 are going viral all over again in 2016, all because of the “looting” versus “finding” wording that was used in the descriptions of the following photos from the Associated Press and Getty Images.
As seen in the above Associated Press photo by Dave Martin, an African-American young man can be seen with a case of diet soda under his arm as he makes his way through the deep waters that flooded New Orleans in the midst and wake of Hurricane Katrina. The exact description of that photo, as listed by the Associated Press, is reprinted below.
“A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Flood waters continue to rise in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage when it made landfall on Monday.”
Martin is also credited with below photo, which enjoys the same description as the Associated Press photo description above, also containing the “looting” language.
The second “looting” photo from the Associated Press photojournalist appeared to depict the same African-American person, simply from a differing vantage point. The young man appeared to have to black bags that he dragged through floodwaters, with the same case of diet soda seen under his right arm — an ominous and non-working traffic signal light looming above his head.
Those Associated Press photos with the “looting” wording described actions that occurred on Tuesday, August 30, 2005.
Just one day prior to that day, Chris Graythen [and “Stringer”] was credited with the editorial No. 53509740 photo below, from the collection of Getty Images News photos.
Graythen’s photo, dated August 29, 2005, enjoys a description — reprinted exactly below — which shows a white couple wading through the same floodwaters that devastated New Orleans in the wake of the storm of the century. However, Graythen’s description reads that the couple found bread and soda from a nearby grocery store.
“NEW ORLEANS – AUGUST 29: Two residents wade through chest deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area on August 29, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Katrina was down graded to a category 4 storm as it approached New Orleans.”
It is that disparity in wording between the two images that has caused a Snopes post about the photos to go viral. Titled “Epic Loot,” the newly-updated article shows screenshots of two of the above photos, along with their descriptions — and asks why the black people were described as looters whilst the white people were described as folks who found supplies after Hurricane Katrina.
In a forum post on Sports Shooter, Graythen replied that he couldn’t believe the amount of blowback he received for writing “finding” instead of “looting” in the description of his photos.
According to Salon, Martin reported that he wrote “looting” in the description of his photos because he witnessed the people depicted looting from grocery stores.
The resurrected controversy continues to get reactions on social media, because Snopes shared the newly-updated articles to their Facebook page recently, although it is unclear what items were updated in their original article.
[Featured Image by Dave Martin/AP Images]