Summarize Sontag’s point(s) in these chapters (1, 6, 8) in three brief paragraphs, one for each chapter (this is easy). And also in a one-sentence description for each chapter (this is hard).
Chapter one begins by talking about the differences between men and women’s perceptions of war, and how (according to Virginia Woolf) men get some form of satisfaction out of fighting, while women do not. Sontag then goes on to explain how photos are a form of rhetoric, and that they can be used to further the audience’s biases, but are dismissed as fake if they go against the biases. More and more often, photos are used as shock therapy to try and get emotion out of the audience, but we as onlookers still have a hard time fully grasping the tragedies pictured. The captions under a photo can either explain it or falsify it, as is common in propaganda.
Photography is a powerful form of rhetoric that should be used to its fullest potential.
This chapter discussed our human fascination with gruesome, shocking images. We view suffering as a mistake or a crime, and we don’t know how to react when learning it is purposeful. Feeling safe in our own homes gives us the ability to be indifferent to others’ suffering, but we can’t watch suffering forever. When no end to the fighting or war is in sight, humans get bored watching it and usually stop.
Any image that displays a violation of an attractive body is pornographic to some degree.
This chapter talked about how we use photographs to help us remember events from the past. We place too much value on memory, and not enough on actively thinking. This way of thinking gives amnesia the connotation of being heartless, and makes the act of making peace one of forgetting what wrong was done. Outside of photographs, observing an event from up close is still just watching it take place, and not participating in it. This makes me wonder what the role of photographers is, and if they are obliged to help in any way.
Photos offer an abstract of reality.