War Exhibit Review

In viewing the exhibit, I realized that there is so much more to pictures than just images on a medium; each picture has meaning in some way, to someone. In relation to Sontag, I would ask what she is? Is she a spectator or a coward? In experiencing the exhibit myself I realized that Sontag in some way is correct, as a viewer, I could look at certain images and understand them, and then others I really couldn’t bare to look at because of the brutality of the events taking place in some of the pictures. By viewing the exhibit, I now understand analyzing takes time, it requires patience and time management, it isn’t something that can be rushed because the observer needs not only to interpret the  image but then reflect on what it all means, which in turn may take some time.

In observing the exhibit, problems arise in questioning whether the images should be displayed and if the audience is prepared for them. Some images may be too graphic for members of the audience, but according to Sontag, that would make cowards instead of spectators, meaning the audience will forever be divided in that aspect.

Even with the division from coward to spectator, the exhibit still gives rise to thoughtful insights that analyze how and why images effect an audience the way that they do, signifying the responses each individual can have individually.


3 thoughts on “War Exhibit Review”

  1. Physically going to the exhibit and looking at/analyzing these images at my own pace made me appreciate the methods I have learned. By analyzing and forming my own opinions about the images, I realized that I can take the methods that I am learning, and apply them to historical images. As I walked along and reflected on each image, I caught myself asking questions, like “What do they think about right before they fight?” This idea of constantly asking questions obviously helps when analyzing photographs and portraits, but I think it can also help in other fields of study and areas of life. There is a fine balance between simply appreciating the beauty, which is what I usually prefer to do, and doubting and asking questions to dig a little deeper. I am starting to appreciate the latter so that I can more fully enjoy the first.

  2. After my peer review today, I realized that I was asking all the wrong questions when I did my first commentary. In retrospect I now understand that I should have asked more detailed questions.
    With the opportunity I would now ask: for what reasons did the photographers of the exhibit take the photos that they did? For what reasons did they feel the images they stilled were significant, or would become significant? And lastly, did they know when they were taking the photos that the images would gain popularity and speak to an audience other than themselves or their subjects?
    In re-analyzing my first commentary I now understand that the exhibit limits the personal connection the subjects of the images have with the audience that is viewing them. Do the subjects understand that they are on display for the public to see, but they cannot receive the feedback and criticism of the audience that is viewing them, whether it be questions about the image, questions for them, of a thank you for illustrating the true activities of war not usually seen.
    As viewers, we only have the opportunity to observe the images, with no ability to offer our opinions to the exhibit, and in that way, as an audience member, I am frustrated.
    Even with the limits of the exhibit, I still feel as though the images displayed taught me to observe and connect in the best way I knew I could, and keep those ideals for another opportunity to explain them.

  3. I agree with what you said about the limitations of our interactions with the subjects in the photographs and the photographs themselves. The subjects often never have any communication with the viewers and as a viewer, this makes it very difficult to be anything other than a spectator. There is little room to interact with the photograph itself further than analyzing one’s own thoughts and perceptions towards the picture. In multiple pictures, the subjects were deceased so there really was no way for any interaction, nothing left to do expect observe. Some argue that people can be inspired to take action after viewing a photograph such as those on display in this exhibit but in this scenario, there is no interaction between photograph and spectator. The spectator chose to act upon his feelings of the picture but the relationship between the picture and the observer remains unchanged.

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