1: Sontag considers Woolf’s view of photographs being a way to prevent war as insufficient. She argues that photographs can be interpreted in whatever way in most beneficial to the viewer’s perspective. Photographs stripped of their context and caption can be twisted to mean something completely opposite of the photographer’s intentions. People rally behind violent pictures, arguing that they are cause to never fight again only to slip back into a war-state a year later. There is privilege in being able to ignore what may be happening in an image as opposed to actually having to live in the reality in which it was taken.
Single liner: Question whose pictures are not being shared.
6: There exists a gray space in capability for violence and brutality. One can be extremely sympathetic or incredibly apathetic and still reserve the same capability for destruction. Being appalled by something does not mean that one lacks the ability to commit something akin to it. There is a perverted desire within humans to look at tragedy and acknowledge how glad they are that it didn’t happen to themselves. Passivity is the true killer.
Single liner: Inability to empathize with a situation different from one’s own is not equivalent to a complete succumbing to despair.
8: Indignation is no more effective than compassion. It is not a deficit to not feel the pain of the people in the pictures or make a move to stop looking at the images because they are easier to ignore than confront. Conversely, images are merely an invitation to begin relieving some of our ignorance; they will never fully fix it. They intend to provoke conversation and consideration. They prompt us to ask questions. Though we can always stop watching (in person or through technology), we can never stop hearing. This may be a key disparity.
Single liner: Images command us, “Don’t forget, and think of it often; not only when it is convenient to.”