02 Regarding the Suffering of Others, Chapter 9, Susan Sontag

Space reserved for being serious is hard to come by in a modern society, whose chief model of a public space is the mega-store (which may also be an airport or a museum).1

… in a secular society, particularly a capitalist one, all public space is for the dissemination of goods, services and corporate/state propaganda… there is little sacred space… we are left to cobble together whatever sacredness of space we can in our own homes and find it in nature…

… Sontag has a point, what do we do with imagery that should have a sacred setting for interaction?… how do we facilitate a reverential response when setting is so much a part of that response?… Sontag posits that books may be a more appropriate spot for images demanding reverential respect, in that the book is a one on one experience…

 IS THERE AN ANTIDOTE to the perennial seductiveness of war? And is this a question a woman is more likely to pose than a man? (Probably yes.)2

… one wonders if it is probable that there is an antidote and yes, a woman is more likely to ask the question… or, if probably yes applies to both?… punctuation suggests the latter, situation suggests the former… i used to be sure about the woman part, less so now… i think women ask the question as long as they have not gained the power to be war makers… as they acquire this power, it seems less clear that they will do something different with it…

… Sontag discusses Jeff Wall’s Dead Troops Talk (A Vision After an Ambush of a Red Army Patrol near Moqor, Afghanistan, Winter of 1986),

© Jeff Wall

… and i think to myself, there, there is the difference, between me and some photographers, my subject is the mundane everyday, not historical tableaux, what every day is made of… not significant statements to be fully made in one image, twitter bursts, Facebook posts, etc…

… well, there i am, finished with Regarding the Pain of Others…


  1. Sontag, Susan. Regarding the Pain of Others (p. 119). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition. [return]
  2. Ibid. [return]