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Tag "Ariella Azoulay"

The Human Snapshot

Thomas Keenan and Tirdad Zolghadr (eds.): The Human Snapshot (2013)

Universal aspirations never cease to exist. It is as if we were condemned to universality, especially so since the photographic view of planet Earth from outside its biosphere was published. The networked society of wireless communication, in which many of us live today, brings together “our central nervous systems in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned”.1 Note the use of the possessive pronoun “our”, which already implies an understanding of the sphere that “we” inhabit as a shared property.

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Encounters in Public. Photography and Politics

Encounters in Public. Photography and Politics in the Imagined Community of Civilised Spectator-Participants.

Ariella Azoulay, Civil Imagination. A Political Ontology of Photography (London: Verso Books, 2012)

Some of the most difficult questions pertaining to photographs are related to how we read, interpret, and ascribe meaning to them. This becomes all the more urgent in the case of photographs showing the effects of war and violence. So-called atrocity photographs—illustrating the horrors that people can inflict upon one another or upon each other’s (built) environment—elicit a wide range of responses, from disturbingly emotional to thoughtfully intellectual. One of the responsibilities we have is to sincerely scrutinize those responses, for one can never be sure of what photographs show or tell.

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