A conversation I had with a friend today brought up questions of some people’s innate need to view catastrophic events or occurrences, where there has been a loss of life or the possibility of it. What I can not fathom is why? Why slow down the car to get a look at a car accident, watch a forest fire rage, or look at images of war-torn places. There is nothing the viewer can do but watch, they are on the outside looking in. Is it to reaffirm the concept its not me, I am still alive, therefore its ok to look. Perhaps by looking it proves its real, it has happened, for at times in current society it is difficult to separate the real from the imagined, where actual images of war provide the visual basis for some computer games, or shootings that appear movie like in semblance. Where select television dramas leave little or nothing of a violent crime scene to the viewers imagination. Historically the public dissemination of images documenting such real events would have been limited, with changes to technology and news reporting, graphic imagery has become more common. So, then by being inundated with such images people think nothing of viewing such events when encountered in reality. I think to them they have seen worse over their cornflakes in the morning. Unfortunately such prolific dissemination of such images has desensitized us to what the content and meaning of the photograph really is. This ties back to the notion that perhaps historically important photographs no longer carry the power they once did. This was discussed in an earlier post referencing the movie The Bang Bang Club.
Food for though….