Response to War Exhibit

The images I saw at the museum took an emotional toll on me. Although, I personally have never experienced war, but the images allowed the viewers to visually experience war. As Sontag said, photographs stay with us longer, they are evidence of true events. There were some images in which I had to look away. The photographs sparked sorrow, fear, and heartbreak. Personally I felt as if the photographs that were not taken in combat, but either before or after war were the most emotionally powerful. The images of the soldiers either on their way or waiting for battle were powerful because the photographs embodied the anxiety and fear so vividly that I, as an outside viewer, felt it too. 

However, the images that were the most heart wrenching for me, were those of families and innocent children that were brutally effected by war. The kind of exposure children had to war in their daily lives was difficult to see. Seeing how the destruction of war goes beyond the battlefield and into the homes of civilians upset me because I am opposed to one of the realities of war, which is how innocent people witness, and sometimes unfortunately endure such atrocities. 

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2 thoughts on “Response to War Exhibit”

  1. I found this exhibit to be a very touching collection of photographs. When working with war images I do agree that a person can either be a spectator or a coward. Many of the images cause myself to really think about the event and try and imagine what being there must have been like. However, there were other images that really caused me to look away because of how heart wrenching they were. The pictures that really got to me were the ones of little kids that were causalities of war. These really showed how destructive war can be when young, innocent lives are being taken. Being a spectator for these pictures consisted of looking at the images and really taking in the scene. However, I do people that people can participate in the picture. Instead of just looking at the picture or turning away, I believe a person can really indulge into the picture and really try to figure out the meaning or message behind it. While doing this some questions arise. For example, at the museum I was left wondering whether or not the pictures were staged many of the times, especially in the older pictures. Another question that I found myself asking was what was the photographers motive behind taking the picture. While reading the information about one of pictures, I noticed that the one was taken so he could show his mother what war was really like. This really spoke to me because I saw that a person can take pictures for many different reasons; personal, for a cause, or to be distributed to the public. Overall, I thought that this exhibit was emotional and really left me thinking about more than just the pictures themselves, but the meanings and the larger concept of war that they represented.

  2. The part of the exhibit that really struck me were the pictures of the soldiers either pre or post-deployment with their families. This struck a personal note with me because it really brought into perspective the family side of these soldiers and just how much these soldiers are giving up to fight for our freedom each and every day. One photograph, of a soldier with his wife and three children made me think of how tough that must be. He was missing some of the best days of his children’s childhood to fight for the country he loves, and that, to me, is the highest and most noble thing a human being could do for his fellow man. Another photograph of the wife with an air mattress in front of her husband’s casket also really impacted me. This woman displayed such devotion to her husband, and even in death, she wanted to be close to him just one last time. Showing the personal side to war really brought the topic “home” for me. This is a side that we are not used to because to us “war” happens in a far off place and we go through our daily lives not even conscience of the fact that war is going on. World War II present “shared sacrifice” and everyone in the country joined in the war effort, something that is absent and almost unnecessary with the expansive resources we have today.
    It really made me reflect on my own life and made me wonder if I would be able to make such a sacrifice. This of course is a question that takes time and thoughtful consideration, and one that I am unsure about the answer to. Could I put my family through that? Would I mentally be able to do it? These questions I still have yet to find an answer to.

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