Take two minutes to read Joerg Colberg’s interesting post on our relationship with photography and human rights.
After examining how Nick Ut’s well-known photo of soldiers and Vietnamese napalm victims has been re-framed as a picture minus the children, and then as a picture totally devoid of human beings, Joerg states:
It’s time to add things back in. By “things” I ultimately mean us. We need to add ourselves back in.
I totally agree.
But don’t misread that as an argument for a visual feast of suffering.
From a personal and psychological point of view I am not persuaded that images of extreme suffering are conductors of change. Whilst there is a failure of balance in the way that wars are reported (we only really see ‘our’ soldiers), it’s dangerous to blame the imbalance for an individual’s antipathy on human rights.
It’s a bit like saying I would have cared more about priests buggering children if only you had taken a photograph of one in the act.
I’ll respond to Joerg’s statement with a question,
When we see more, do we give more of ourselves?