Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/09/14

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Subject: RE: [Leica]More Sontag et al
From: Peterson Arthur G NSSC <PetersonAG@NAVSEA.NAVY.MIL>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 06:58:42 -0400


You ask, "how she [Susan Sontag] could have said that in the face of the
work of...Vietnam War photographers" and "the news photos of the civil
rights marches."  But her quote didn't say that "concerned photography" has
not aroused conscience, rather only that it has "done at least AS MUCH to
deaden conscience as to arouse it" [emphasis added].  And so I would suggest
that you answer your own question in your second paragraph, where you attest
that you "do find deadening...the sheer volume of anonymous 'tragedy
photography.'"  That sort of phenomenon, as opposed to the effects of
Natchwey or some photographers of the Vietnam War and civil rights marches,
is, I presume, what she refers to.  :-)

Art Peterson

- -----Original Message-----
From:	Paul Chefurka []
Sent:	Wednesday, September 13, 2000 4:50 PM
To:	''
Subject:	RE: [Leica]More Sontag et al

If that quote is even halfway accurate without its context, I wonder how she
could have ever said that in the face of the work of all those incomparable
Vietnam War photographers who awoke the conscience of so much of the western
world.  Or even the news photos of the civil rights marches of the early

One thing that I do find deadening is the sheer volume of anonymous "tragedy
photography" we are inundated with.  Rather being stirred to action or
concern by it, I find myself overwhelmed and numbed by the endless mudslide
of misery.  I find myself saying things like "Yeah, yeah, more starving
Ethiopian babies, more displaced Kosovars, more homeless Turkish earthquake
victims - the troubles of the world are far too enormous for me to affect."

And yet, even with this inoculation of ennui, Natchwey's pictures still get
through to me.  And even after all your explanations, Arthur, I just don't
understand your antipathy towards this one man.


>-----Original Message-----
>From: []
>Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 4:14 PM
>Subject: Re: [Leica]More Sontag et al
>Sontag (Apropos of Nachtwey):
>"In the last decades, 'concerned photography' has done at 
>least as much to deaden conscience as to arouse it."