Since the early days of photography
, critics have told us that photos of political violencea??of torture, mutilation, and deatha??are exploitative, deceitful, even pornographic. To look at these images is voyeuristic; to turn away is a gesture of respect.With The Cruel Radiance, Susie Linfield attacks those ideas head-on, arguing passionately that viewing such photographsa??and learning to see the people in thema??is an ethically and politically necessary act that connects us to our modern history of violence
and probes our capacity for cruelty. Contending with critics from Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht to Susan Sontag and the postmodernsa??and analyzing photographs from such events as the Holocaust, Chinaa??s Cultural Revolution, and recent terrorist
actsa??Linfield explores the complex connection between photojournalism and the rise of human rights ideals. In the booka??s concluding section, she examines the indispensable work of Robert Capa, James Nachtwey, and Gilles Peress,...