Pic reveals half-truthFri, 25 Jul 2008 12:07 AM
A picture of two drowned Roma girls lying amid sunbathers on an Italian beach — which sparked a wave of criticism against Italy — did not tell the whole story, the photographer said on Friday.
The photo ? published in several European newspapers ? showed Italians sunbathing, talking on cellphones and apparently ignoring the nearby corpses, which were partially covered by beach towels with their feet poking out.
"I took several pictures ? some showed holidaymakers going about their business, on others people were visibly concerned, or were helping to carry the coffins," Alessandro Garofalo told AFP.
Garofalo (30) — who works for the Naples daily Il Mattino — added: "On the photographs which the foreign newspapers picked out, everybody seemed indifferent.
"But in reality, only about half the people present acted as if nothing had happened, but many people either lent a hand or left the beach after the incident."
He added that his use of a telephoto lens made the sunbathers on the beach at Torregavata north of Naples look closer to the bodies than they in fact were.
British newspaper, The Independent was typical in adverse comments — calling the image "the picture that shames Italy".
But Garofalo said "several holidaymakers jumped into the water to try to save the two girls, who did not know how to swim", and then covered the bodies as they lay on the beach for about an hour until coffins were brought in.