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

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Subject: FW: [Leica]More Sontag et al
From: Paul Chefurka <>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 07:53:13 -0700


- -----Original Message-----
From: Paul Chefurka 
Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2000 10:51 AM
To: ''
Subject: RE: [Leica]More Sontag et al

I've always been fascinated by the effects of the dissemination of ever
larger amounts of information, ever faster, to an ever-widening audience.
Books, then newspapers, then radio, wirephotos, television, and now the net.
I'd have to say that overall the effect is much more positive than negative.

So I feel numbed by the constant flood of misery pics - but what would I
feel if I'd never seen those pics?  I'd feel precisely nothing, because I'd
know precisely nothing.  At least now I do know what sorts of things go on
in this world.  And while I may feel a bit numb toward those towering,
far-off tragedies, knowing that they do occur and how they come about may
make me a bit better citizen of my own little corner of the globe.  I become
more watchful, more concerned about intolerance, more ready to help (if not
those far away, then those in trouble closer to home).

So while Sontag may be right that the sword of photography has two edges -
arousing conscience and deadening it at the same time - it's a lot better
than trying to fight the battles of civilization completely unarmed.  So
let's all keep drinking from that 


>-----Original Message-----
>From: Peterson Arthur G NSSC [mailto:PetersonAG@NAVSEA.NAVY.MIL]
>Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2000 6:59 AM
>To: ''
>Subject: RE: [Leica]More Sontag et al
>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 
>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