A photo turned an American medic in Iraq into a hero, showing him carrying an Iraqi child to safety. But the photographer, Warren Zinn, wonders whether it also contributed to his suicide. Joseph Dwyer suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Iraq; Zinn worries, in the Washington Post, whether his fame exacerbated his pain.
“I knew this was a moment that the world needed to see—a moment of American heroism,” Zinn writes about snapping the picture. But it was an isolated moment: When Dwyer returned home, “he could never leave the battlefield behind,” imagining Iraqi attacks. Dwyer’s mother told Zinn her son “loved the photograph.” But now, when Zinn glimpses what was an image of hope, it reminds him that for many soldiers, “hope has turned to hopelessness.”