The images that we viewed at the Corcoran Gallery of Art were all emotional for me in some form. I not only felt sorrow and sympathy when viewing the pictures of the children, for example, but there were also some that were different; the series of photos of soldiers during their leisure time made me feel happy to be seeing something other than death and injury. It was interesting to see them doing regular things as if they weren’t in the middle of a war. For both of these extremes, I was a spectator. There weren’t any pictures that were too gruesome or emotional for me to look at, but if there were, would I be a coward? Personally, when I saw the saddest and most gruesome photos, I didn’t look away. In fact, these were the images I lingered in front of. They captured my attention. But if others were the opposite, if they looked away from these images, does that mean that they are cowards? I don’t believe so. Even if they did look away, they had to have looked for at least a moment. So in a way, aren’t we all spectators?
This begs the question: is it really appropriate for the photographers to be taking these photos in the first place? To document human suffering? I believe it is. If not for photographs, I would have no idea how horrifying war really is. Photographs take us there, in the middle of the war, so that we can relate to and respect what soldiers go through everyday.