The myth of compassion fatigue


Before we can construct a meaningful account that traces possible links between visual representation, knowledge and action, we need to dispense with some conventional wisdoms that purport to explain how photographs work. One of the largest obstacles to be removed is the ‘compassion fatigue’ thesis…

September 11, 2001: Imaging the real, struggling for meaning


  As the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001 approaches images of the event are being recycled and recirculated. Many of them are familiar, and the meaning of the event now seems fixed. But anniversaries are part of the process of fixing memory, and as they are repeated they can obscure the uncertainty that prevailed at … Continued

The problem with regarding the photography of suffering as ‘pornography’


‘Development pornography’. ‘Poverty porn’. ‘Disaster porn’. ‘Ruin porn’. ‘War porn’. ‘Famine porn’. ‘Stereotype porn’. When it comes to the representation of atrocity and suffering, the charge of pornography abounds (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). What does it mean to use this term so frequently in relation to so many different situations? … Continued

Tod Papageorge and the ‘truth’ of photography


Tod Papergeorge is one of the most insightful photographers around. Interviewed by Mark Durden for foto8 last November (I’m catching up on some reading while snowed in), he offered some interesting views on photography, documentary and truth. Photo: Tod Papergeorge, ‘Central Park, 1978’ Durden asked Papageorge if he thought his work was part of what … Continued