The Equivalence of Suffering

Another review that I read was from the same issue of Source magazine (issue number 75).

The Equivalence of Suffering talks about a book and exhibition that chronicles ‘all significant photography of armed conflict and its aftermath from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries’. The book is called War/Photography and this title is because ‘it is a book about two very separate activities, but ones which have been drawn and bound together since the latter’s inception’.

I found this review very educational and interesting to read.  I thought that Jennifer Good’s writing was very engaging and it was a well balanced review. It made me want to see this exhibition or the book, and I think that that is what the author would have wanted.

War photography has never really been something that has interested me, because I find it a little bit wrong to look at photographs of people suffering and/or dying. However, in this review it talks about only one out of six sections in this book being devoted to fighting itself. Instead, it focuses on the other issues that surround war; the things that we don’t imagine soldiers doing.

I decided to do some research into war photography after reading this, in the hope that I would begin to understand the genre a bit more. I looked at work by Zoriah, Simon Norfolk and Don McCullin and began to slightly understand why people take photographs in conflict and war. It’s not about enjoying other people’s suffering or being unemotional about people dying – it’s about informing people about what is happening in the world, and a way of getting people to help if that is what is needed.


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