Grausame Bilder. Ein Experiment zur emotionalen Wirkung expliziter Gewaltdarstellungen am Beispiel einer Kriegsfotografie von Christoph Bangert

Autoren: Michael Götting, Konrad Steuer
[erschienen in: IMAGE 25 (Ausgabe Januar 2017)]

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 em-pathy 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.

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04_IMAGE 25_Steuer, G