Today, one is exposed to violent content on a daily basis, but when it comes to harsh war photography, media content is censored due to moral aspects or because it is just ›too heavy‹. However, some photographers or artists argue that society should be exposed to such photographs in order to feel real empathy for people suffering from the injustice of war. This study is aiming to examine the effects of explicit portrayal of violence on people’s emotions within an experiment. What makes a picture gruesome? What exactly is it that makes people cringe when they see violent footage? Does this reaction differ due to different people’s perspectives (e.g., when people enjoy violent games or films and are, thus, exposed to violent content more frequently)? Using footage from photographer Christoph Bangert’s series of photography War Porn, this study investigates, whether the exposure to violent content differs between different groups and which particular part of a violent picture triggers negative feelings, by using a photoshopped picture and an original picture that shows a beheaded man in the Iraq war in 2005. Findings show that there is a slight difference between the group that is used to violence exposure and the one that is not. The study generates new research questions that would further examine the connections between explicit footage and people’s emotions.
The photograph V-J Day in Times Square by Alfred Eisenstaedt is a symbol of the end of the Second World War for many people. This paper tries to prove that the reception of the picture lacks a critical reflection despite cognizable indications of sexual violence. To get a better understanding of the signifi-cance and the meaning of the photograph the first step will be a recapitulation of the conditions of the origin. The following analysis takes place within the framework of the visual semiotic according to Roland Barthes and bridges to a more precise explanation of the term ›Rape Culture‹ and the meaning of it in the context of Eisenstaedt’s photograph. The following critique of the previous reception of the photograph exhorts to a critical distance to both, the photograph and the presented situation. Overall this paper will try to constitute the thesis that V-J Day in Times Square depicts an act of sexual violence within a ›Rape Culture‹.
Authors: Susana Barreiro Pérez, Marcel Wolfgang Lemmes, Stephan Ueffing
This article analyses the way politics and the military are interconnected in contemporary political discourse by means of the popular photography The Situation Room. By doing so, the interdependency of ›9/11‹, the ›war on terror‹, and US American politics will be carved out. Furthermore, the iconological characteristics of the photography will be proven to be an important tes-timonial of contemporary history. Based on the theoretical concepts of the ›Feldherrenblick‹ and the ›actuarial gaze‹, our analysis supports the thesis that the strategic communication of the Obama administration aims for the creation or rather the maintenance of a ›threat society‹.