This article examines the various roles played by photographers and photographic images in the grassroots memorials to the victims of the March 11, 2004 Madrid bombings, as spontaneously displayed by anonymous citizens in public spaces. For purposes of comparison, parallels are drawn with similar memorials to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York. Although photographic depictions of the pain and suffering caused by the massacres seem to predominate in both cases, photographs served another—and at least in local terms—socially significant purpose, as this article will try to show, through its material anchoring in collective remembrance photographs contributed to the public memorialization of the events.
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