Chapter 1 Paragraph: This chapter explores different uses and interpretations of war photography, and more broadly photography depicting violence and pain. Sontag delves into different uses of war photography, such as informing people, deterring governments and citizens from allowing war to happen and forcing people to learn about war. However, Sontag notes that these uses do not always have the intended result. It is common for the intended audience of photography depicting violence to view the photography through a narrow lens. Pictures meant to act as a deterrent may be seen as artful by people that are not opposed to war. They may be interpreted simply as a part of history by people hoping to learn from the photographs, and fail to inspire action or critical thought. A danger of this type of photography is that the reaction it incurs may seem grand to those reacting, and they may miss out on the idea that the photograph is simply a microcosm of a larger epidemic of war.
Chapter 1 Sentence: Regarding photography depicting horror, there is often a disparity not only between the intentions of a photographer and the consumer interpretation, but also between the various interpretations of consumers.
Chapter 6 Paragraph: People are drawn to images of violence. Often times, people know that it is frowned upon to enjoy looking upon images of violence and war, and this makes it all the more compelling to do so. Images of violence can seem fascinatingly shocking, and oftentimes provide the viewer with the satisfaction of not being the one harmed. People are indifferent to cruelty, even relish cruelty as long as it is happening to others and not to themselves. People may be upset by or shocked by violent images, but as long as they are not the subjects or potential subjects of violence they may have no further reaction.
Chapter 6 Sentence: People enjoy viewing shocking photography and revel in the fact that they can observe it from a distance.
Chapter 8 Paragraph: It is regressive to be surprised every time you see an image depicting violence or horror. Acting shocked that violence and horror occurs and is perpetrated by people fails to acknowledge the frequency and scale on which violence happens. It is important to remember violent events that occurred, but it is equally important to critically think about those events and the implications they have on humanity and what people are capable of. No, photography is not a perfect way to interact with violence, and no it does not always help solve problems. But it is also unrealistic to have a solution that causes direct and immediate change, and in the meantime interacting with photography and thinking critically about it is productive.
Chapter 8 Sentence: Being surprised by violent photography wastes time that could be spent thinking critically about the implications of the photography.