What does it mean to say that a photograph is violent? In this project, I explore ideas of violence and photography, using as examples a handful of photographs of women and men, mostly posed and mostly without suggestion of movement or activity. I begin by considering the proliferation of terms having to do with force, assault, and pain in central critical essays on photography by Susan Sontag, Walter Benjamin, John Berger, W.J.T. Mitchell, and Roland Barthes. I also consider the range of meanings we give to the word "violence," using Raymond Williams as a starting point. In the last part of the project, I try to determine how photographs, even some very ordinary ones, could be understood as violent, how we might categorize visual representations of violence, and why these things might be worth thinking about.
|Keywords:||Photography, Violence, Portraits, Representation|
Dean of Academic Life, English and Women's Studies, DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, USA
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