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Photographs by SUSAN SONTAG



Introduction 2

Photograph of Vietnamese civilians escaping Vietnamese war 2

Photo of a starving child in Africa 3

Photograph of Alyan Kurdi 4

Conclusion 5





Susan Sontag in her book, regarding the pain of others poses and analyses the impact that photographs and pictures have on society especially when it comes to images of war. Journalists and photographers are often drawn to images of starving children in much the same way the viewers are. Sontag is concerned that such images though aiming at teaching us about suffering may, in turn, numb our feelings to the point that they they need to become entertainment rather than lessons. Over time, in the past few decades concern has been generated without the media portrays the suffering of others around the globe. Sontag is concerned that those who live in privileged countries such as America, where they have been lucky enough not to experience war, cannot relate to the suffering of others. Their only experience comes from photographs and media representation of the suffering across the globe.

It is important to note that Sontag’s book does not seek to answer the question of whether the image representation of suffering has any impact on the viewer as well as the photographer. She rather uses her background, knowledge, and, experience to provoke emotion and thought in the reader with about the same. She does not take sides in the debate but rather opts to analyze the images of war all through history and their representation from both sides. On the one hand, without such images the world would be far removed from the atrocities around the globe and therefore be unable to intervene and relieve the sufferers. However, on the other hand it ,cannot be denied that such images have often been used by media houses to draw viewers in as far as entertainment is concerned.

Photographs of Vietnamese civilians escaping Vietnamese war

The image shows women hiding in rivers being expected out of the war torn Vietnamese country. Whereas this is a true depiction of the nature of the war in that century, where one can clearly see the pain and suffering in the victvictim’s eyes. The photograph itself raises a few questions as per the book by Sontag. First and foremost, little else is known about the Vietnamese war. Much suffering was recorded as the United States army attempted to restore peace and bring stability to the war torn region. Although this was the aim of the war., many critics have often cited that the war in itself was unjustified and could have brought more suffering than the lack of a stable government. Such suffering can be seen in the image, women with young children hiding in waters, fleeing for their lives is perhaps what can be considered the height of suffering. It can be said that such photographs as taken in the war played a major role in ending the war. In fact, Horst Faas the photographer who took this image and many more in the war was among the people at the forefront, fighting to bring an end to the suffering. Sontag indicates that this may be because the photogr.............

Type: Essay || Words: 2629 Rating || Excellent

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