13 April 2008

The War that Time Forgot

Soldiers smuggle grenades in a basket covered with water
hyacinth, 1971 ~ Photograph © Mohammad Shafi/Autograph ABP

There are many irritating things about Susan Sontag's writings on photography. I say irritating in the sense that she says a lot of things that simply make me want to figure out how she could be sooooo wrong. One thing that she says, though, that is really quite important is that in a sense photography makes things real, especially when we are talking about wars and other sorts of man-made mayhem in distant and what, from the perspective of we denizens of the 'rich North Atlantic democracies' seem quite 'out of the way' places. Her point is more than an observation about the limits on attention. She means it, I think, literally. If we do not 'see' things they do not exist for us. What brought Sontag to mind was this slide show and story in The Guardian last week. The items in The Guardian highlight political themes of gender (the central role of women, for instance, in the resistance and the ways retribution was visited upon them) and shifting alliances (after all the Pakistanis now are our 'allies' in our putative war on terror).

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Blogger Stan B. said...

She at least got that much right (and that was quite the slide show)!

13 April, 2008 11:20  

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