Home Feed
Home
Search
Search
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Add
Activity
Activity
Profile
Profile
Regarding the Pain of Others
Regarding the Pain of Others | Susan Sontag
22 posts | 21 read | 29 to read
A brilliant, clear-eyed new consideration of the visual representation of violence in our culture--its ubiquity, meanings, and effectsWatching the evening news offers constant evidence of atrocity--a daily commonplace in our "society of spectacle." But are viewers inured -or incited--to violence by the daily depiction of cruelty and horror? Is the viewer's perception of reality eroded by the universal availability of imagery intended to shock? In her first full-scale investigation of the role of imagery in our culture since her now-classic book On Photography defined the terms of the debate twenty-five years ago, Susan Sontag cuts through circular arguments about how pictures can inspire dissent or foster violence as she takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and Dachau and Auschwitz to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and New York City on September 11, 2001.As John Berger wrote when On Photography was first published, "All future discussions or analysis of the role of photography in the affluent mass-media societies is now bound to begin with her book." Sontag's new book, a startling reappraisal of the intersection of "information", "news," "art," and politics in the contemporary depiction of war and disaster, will be equally essential. It will forever alter our thinking about the uses and meanings of images in our world.
Amazon Indiebound Barnes and Noble WorldCat Goodreads LibraryThing
Pick icon
100%
review
Lindy
post image
Pickpick

How do photographic images of suffering affect us? It‘s such a relevant question in our culture, because we are surrounded by visual representations of the effects of violence and war all the time. In this short book, Susan Sontag also revisits and questions her own views published in her earlier work, On Photography. It gave me much to ponder.

merelybookish I used to teach this book years ago in Comp 1 writing classes. It was challenging but fun to do with students! The idea of the photograph as a fact and an argument has stayed with me. 6mo
Lindy @merelybookish Yes, the contradictions. So interesting. 6mo
39 likes2 comments
quote
Lindy
post image

The problem is in the pictures themselves […] in their focus on the powerless, reduced to their powerlessness. It is significant that the powerless are not named in the captions.

quote
Lindy
post image

By the time of the landing in France—June 6, 1944—photographs of anonymous American casualties had appeared in a number of newsmagazines, always prone or shrouded or with their faces turned away. This is a dignity not thought necessary to accord to others. The more remote or exotic the place, the more likely we are to have full frontal views of the dead and dying.

quote
Lindy
post image

Photographs of an atrocity may give rise to opposing responses. A call for peace. A cry for revenge. Or simply bemused awareness, continually restocked by photographic information, that terrible things happen.
(Internet photo)

Cathythoughts 💔 6mo
25 likes1 comment
quote
Lindy
post image

Harrowing photographs do not inevitably lose their power to shock. But they are not much help if the task is to understand. Narratives can make us understand. Photographs do something else: they haunt us.
(Internet photo — Migrant Mother; Dorothea Lange)

vivastory I read this years ago. Your posts are making me want to revisit it. 6mo
Lindy @vivastory 👍 6mo
39 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
kaysworld1
post image
Mehso-so

Up early this morning just couldn't sleep so I finished my book.

Review: I have mixed opinions about this book.
It didn't wow me or have big events or anything going on but it did cover some interesting topics which was fascinating to read about.

#readingmyownbooks #painandsuffering #readathon #reading #currentlyreading #readingmyshelves #read #books #bookworm

blurb
kaysworld1
post image

Switching book's as the other was not keeping my attention.
So now I am reading Regarding the pain of other's by Susan Sontag and I find it very interesting her thought and opinions mirror mine a lot she's also very blunt her delivery. #joysofjune
@Andrew65
Decided to go to Carlisle waterstones and read because why not!

#readingmyownbooks #reading #femaleauthor #readathon #booknerd #read #servingthetea #joysofjune #currentlyreading #warhistory

Andrew65 Sounds a good plan! 2y
32 likes1 comment
review
Pinta
post image
Mehso-so

Susan Sontag‘s final work, critique of visual culture & photography as a medium to represent suffering, war & violence. Standard Sontag sharp observations, but not always drawn to conclusion. Veracity vs. artistry, evidence vs. POV. Necessity of photography to remember & document atrocities vs. necessity to “forget” certain long-held conflicts to reach peace. Shock, habituation, collective memory, compassion, image-glut, “death of reality.” 2004

review
Emilymdxn
post image
Pickpick

A harrowing and insightful look at war photography and what it means to us and changes our perceptions of war. I learned a lot from this and felt like it really broadened my mind. I‘ve seen some people have issues with her discussion of lynching in the USA, but that section wasn‘t in this edition so it might have been edited?

#wintergames2020 #merryreaders @Clwojick +16

review
catiewithac
post image
Pickpick

I read this because it was referenced in another book I just finished about immigrants crossing the Mexican border. Sontag‘s argument is more specifically about regarding the pain of others in photographs and television. It reminds me of a book I would have been assigned to read in college. (I probably would have but I graduated the year before it was published.) Definitely a thought-provoking read for our media-obsessed culture.

JSW This sounds completely fascinating. I wonder if you think it might be trigger-y at all? Is it hard to read or does she take a more distanced approach? 4y
catiewithac @JSW It‘s both an intellectual and intimate polemic. She gives graphic descriptions of war violence and images. I‘m somewhat inured to such things since I‘m huge into Medieval English and Nazi histories. I found this easy to read. 4y
37 likes4 stack adds2 comments
blurb
PagesOfKate
post image

If every violent image leaves a #scar on our conscience, will we eventually become numb to the suffering around us?
Susan Sontag examines the use of imagery in Western society in this short, impactful book.
#MarchintoOz @Cinfhen @Lizpixie

Cinfhen So true😢😢 5y
BiblioLitten Her writing has come up again with regards to the images of Syria. 'Compassion fatigue' 5y
71 likes6 stack adds2 comments
quote
ElisabethRose
post image

That peace is the norm, if an unattainable one. This, of course, is not the way war has been regarded through out history. War has been made the norm and peace the exception.

review
ElisabethRose
post image
Mehso-so

Susan Sontag is one of the most influential academic writers of the 20th century. Here she paints a view of photography's ability to effect people's emotions about graphic depictions of war.

I found the book enlightening in terms of how we become numb to the suffering of others because of war-time images. We lose our ability to be shocked by graphic images and find ourselves less able to emphasize with the victims of tragedies.

blurb
Bertha_Mason
post image

I finally won a Graywolf Press giveaway! I'm so excited to see what book I get.

batsy Oooh, I'm excited for you! 😄 5y
Bertha_Mason Thank you! ☺ 5y
7 likes2 comments
review
Bertha_Mason
Bailedbailed

Her analysis of souvenir photographing of lynchings is really racist and disingenuous, proceeding from an assumption that that level of racist violence belongs only to "the distant past," and centered on a very defensive line of questioning about "blame," because everything has to be about our personal feelings of innocence as white Americans. So much for "intellectual rigor."

quote
Bertha_Mason

"But the photographic image, even to the extent that it is a trace (not a construction made out of disparate photographic traces), cannot be simply a transparency of something that happened. It is always the image that someone chose; to photograph is to frame, and to frame is to exclude."

blurb
mrozzz
post image

Send help I've found another brilliant bookstore!!
Foyles 😍😍😍

MadCatRamble I ❤️ Foyles! 6y
mrozzz @MalinMJames now I do too!! 6y
JacqMac Help to carry things, right? 😁 6y
See All 6 Comments
Melissa_J Yay! That's one of my favourites 😍 6y
mrozzz @JacqMac hahahah yesss. But I couldn't go overboard because I have so many other other purchases to try to get on the plane! 😆 6y
mrozzz @Melissa_J it is... gorgeous. 6y
73 likes1 stack add6 comments
blurb
patricknathan
post image

I think I've read more Sontag in 2015/2016 than any other individual author. It rarely matters what she decides to write about: she sees it differently.

blurb
specificity
post image

p: "regarding the pain of yours..."

MrBook 😻😻😻 6y
specificity She's interrupting me all the time.....lol 6y
5 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
specificity
post image

Have a day off tomorrow due to a typhoon. Gonna finish this one!

MrBook Oh my. Stay safe! 6y
specificity @MrBook You mean the weather or the book lol thanks! 6y
MrBook 😂😂😂👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🙌🏻! Both! 6y
2 likes4 comments
quote
giagiagia234
post image

On uncensored photos with broken bodies: "These sights carry a double message. They show a suffering that is outrageous, unjust, and should be repaired. They confirm that this is the sort of thing which happens in that place. The ubiquity of those photographs, and those horrors, cannot help but nourish belief in the inevitability of tragedy in the benighted or backward- that is, poor - parts of the world.

quote
giagiagia234
post image

These Cambodian women and men of all ages, including many children, photographed from a few feet away, usually in half figure, are - as in Titian's The Flaying of Marsyas, where Apollo's knife is eternally about to descend - forever looking at death, forever about to be murdered, forever wronged.