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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult subject handled with care and compassion, 28 Sep 2011
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brainleek007 (Bracknell) - See all my reviews
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This book looks at the long and often uncomfortable history humanity has with images of suffering. It's an interesting book form both a visual studies / historical point of view. At it's core it supports the view that however harrowing the images produced by photojournalism are, we should continue to look at them (and ultimately they should continue to be made). It argues against the charges of pornography and exploitation often leveled at images of suffering and suggests we instead attempt to learn something from the images.

The chapters are case studies of sorts based around certain conflicts / events or places (Nazi death camps, China for example) or the work of particular photographers (Robert Capa, James Natchwey).

Overall I found Susie Linfield put together a good argument for the continued looking at images of suffering. It's a harrowing read and a lot of truly shocking images are referred to in the text but not printed. I found some on the internet so I could understand what was being talked about and it really chills the blood. At the end of the day I took a few powerful lessons from the book. Humans are capable of terrible atrocities against fellow humans; we all think we know this but by not engaging with images of these acts that work as evidence we're not truly engaging with the problems shown in them.

It's a valuable book for photographers, journalists & historians alike plus anyone with the general interest to read. It's not something to read before bed though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent survey of Photo criticism with strong critical comments, 10 April 2014
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This review is from: The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence (Paperback)
Susie Linfield offers an extremely helpful survey of the nature and history of photographic criticism in the early chapters of this book. For this work alone, the book is worth owning, however she also continues and offers poignant and insightful comments on the role of photography in the political violence of Warsaw, China, Sierra Leone and Abu Ghraib, and concludes with exceptional critical comments on some of the most important photographers of violence: Robert Capa, James Nacthwey, and Gilles Peress. This book will be of great help to those interested in the nature and role of photo-criticism, as well as those interested in the role photography has to play in communicating political violence.
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The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence
The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence by Susie Linfield (Paperback - 30 Mar 2012)
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