Revisiting Susan Sontag On the Pain of Others

June 12, 2016

(Photograph of Flag Raising on Iwo Jima, 02/23/1945 (NWDNS-80-G-413988), National Archives)

Taking pictures of war is a complicated business.  For everyone – photographers and viewers.  The late philosopher Susan Sontag thought a lot about that – about whether looking at photos of war makes us recoil from violence.  Or whether something else is going on.    She wrote a classic book on the subject, called “Regarding the Pain of Others.”  And in this interview she told Steve Paulson that the history of war photography is full of contradictions.