The photographer, whose photo of a woman wearing a hijab in the centre of the London attacks was misconstrued, has spoken out in defence of her and revealed how she actually reacted.
The photograph was used to spread hateful and racist Islamophobic messages as the public reacted to Khalid Masood’s afternoon rampage, which killed three civilians and one police officer, injuring 50 more.
Only one photo of Jamie Lorriman’s was twisted by what he calls ‘keyboard warriors’ or ‘armchair experts’, however other photos from the series show the same woman looking obviously distressed and traumatised.
The image that went viral shows a woman in a hijab holding her phone as she walked past an injured victim of the terror attack, who was lying on the floor.
A closer look at a second image however shows her to be ‘physically distressed’, ‘concerned’, and ‘horrified’.
Speaking to UNILAD about the Internet backlash, Jamie said:
It’s horrendous. It’s terrible. These people weren’t there so they can’t possibly know that. I was there and I don’t have any idea what she was thinking.
So it’s crazy to assume that she is ignoring people because physically she looks distressed in the picture, she looks horrified and clearly uncomfortable as did a lot of people on the bridge that day, it’s not unique to her, there were a lot of people on the bridge.
I personally think she looks shocked in the pictures, a perfectly normal response to that sort of situation.
You can see she is visibly distressed, especially in the picture that hasn’t been ‘memed’. She looks physically distressed, she looked concerned, she was not happy or skipping along merrily enjoying the. She’d been thrown into the centre of a horrific incident, and that was it really.
— Dr Alan McManus (@gumptionology) March 22, 2017
Phil Harris claims to have spoken to the Muslim woman and said she was ‘in total shock and she was crying’.
@jamielorriman Hi Jamie, I spoke to the Muslim woman just after that picture and she was in total shock and she was crying.
— Phil Harris (@phileasphil) March 24, 2017
Despite Internet trolls misconstruing his photos, Jamie is not deterred and made the point that ‘if it wasn’t a picture I had taken, it would be one someone else had taken that they were misusing and twisting to suit their own narratives’.
People circulating that picture of a woman wearing a hijab on Westminster bridge & ascribing nefarious intentions are idiots, sorry
— O. Jackson Jr. (@SurfaceKrystal) March 23, 2017
The Muslim woman ‘just happened to be in the foreground’ of Jamie’s photograph, and he said: “For people to say she was doing a particular thing and thinking in a certain way is impossible for anyone who was there to say, let alone people who weren’t there.”
Jamie said he was glad to see people online defending her against trolls.
I don’t know why people have reacted in this way. The one thing I have noticed though is that the overwhelming response online being people who are putting down those who are misusing the photographs and saying she is somehow ignoring the victims or involved.
It’s good to see that people are coming to her defence because quite rightly, nobody knows what she was thinking, and if you were to go on only what you can see, she looks stressed, she looks uncomfortable, she looks horrified as anyone in that situation would react.
No. The full sequence of photographs shows otherwise. Jamie Lorriman who took the pictures described her as ‘distressed’.
— Anthony Veitch (@tonyveitchuk) March 24, 2017
When asked what he would say directly to those trolls using his photos to spread Islamophobia, Jamie said:
You weren’t there. You weren’t there and you’re just using it as a tool to push your particular message and the story you want to tell, but that’s not what happened. It’s wrong.
It only serves to highlight the fact that any moment can be taken out of context and used for any purpose.