January 8, 2016
Essay 1: Susan Sontag and James Nachtwey walk into a bar…
James: Good afternoon Susan.
Susan: James, how have you been?
James: Fine, thanks. I just came back from a report trip from Bosnia. It’s amazing what is happening there. Amazing, but tragic. Do you want to see photographs?
Susan: Yes, I would like to see your photographs. The Bosnian Genocide is horrific event that is taking place right now.
James: The Bosnian forces are calling the ethnic cleansing campaign throughout areas that are controlled by the Bosnian Serb Army.
Susan: That is what I heard, I also heard Bosnian civilians are getting cruelty murdered, raped, tortured, and robbed in plain sight.
James: Yes, that is what going on. Here are some pictures to show you.
Susan: This is very upsetting this picture is very artistic. Do you see your self as an artist?
James: No, I see myself as a photojournalist. Rather than an artist, I don’t look at my work and say that is a beautiful picture.
Susan: James what do you personally think about your images?
James: I believe my pictures are my testimony of the events I have recorded, and these images I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.
Susan: I believe that war is not a normal experience and it is also unstoppable. How do you believe it should not repeat?
James: Susan, “If you make an honest picture of war, it will be an anti-war photograph.”
Susan: Do you think these images persuade listeners?
James: Yes, I do. They are most likely to recall there past experiences of viewing war photographs.
Susan: Okay, Can I see you more pictures?
James: Yes you can. Here is a picture I took of a Wounded solider in Bosnia, 1993.
Susan: I find this photo very disturbing but I believe human beings are drawn into them.
James: Yes I do. I want my audience to know meaning behind the images I show them. I want them to relate to the images and the people in them because we all humans.
Susan: I agree with the part that images need to have meaning.
James: Are true notion as photojournalist is that war must end and that the photographs must show devastation so they can serve as an anti-war campaign. So what are you disagreeing with me with? How people can relate to the images?
Susan: Yes, the images of war are ugly showing the worst parts of it. How can some relate to that James if they never experienced it?
James: Because they are Human Beings.
Susan: But these people that are viewing these images of war have a big gap between the people actually being in the front lines of the war. These people will never have a real connection with one another, on an emotional level, with the victims unless they have been in a similar situation.
James: I don’t know if I can agree with that.
Susan: Why is that?
James: Because we are all human beings who feel compassion and emotions when we see another human being in trouble. In my images I want my viewer to understand that there is another human beings having to live with the war. I want them to have an identity and not just be another number within the mass media. If I give a person identity the viewer will realize what harm was done and have sympathy towards them.
Susan: Okay that is your point-of-view but we have no idea what these people have been through and no matter how hard we attempt, it’s plain and simple we can’t because we have never experienced the real actions. We don’t know what could have possibly known what happen to the people in your images.
James: Okay well everyone has there own opinion. At least we both agree that war images portray a meaning. Our images need to serve as anti-war propaganda. Not because they are beautiful pictures that are pleasing to the eye but that they have power and meaning through a real image of war. You might not know the person but I believe giving a voice to an innocent victim of war.
Susan: Yes I agree with you on this James because without photos like this, we would be living in a world of ignorance.
James: Well Susan, I had a great time going over our point-of views, but I have a meeting in the city at 9. Maybe we can meet up again?
Susan: Yes I would like. I always like hearing different points of other journalists. Bye James!
James: Bye, Have a nice night.