In Platos Cave by Susan Sontag

“Photographs furnish evidence”

Photographs serve as proof something happened. The saying “I have to see it to believe it, becomes true in this case. For any example, this works. If someone did something astonishing, a tragic accident happened, really anything you can think of, photography is a way to show and tell others your story.

“Photography becomes a rite of family life”

Photography became a rite to family life when the industrializing of Europe and America happened. The nuclear family was becoming a more superior way to look and think of family. Photography helped mark and define that. Photography came to “memorialize” it as Platos said. It leaves a trace of history for families to look back on for hundreds of years.

“A way of certifying experience”

As photography serves as evidence it also serves as a way to show people you experienced something. Travel is one of the number one ways this is used. Tourists love to take pictures of whatever they may encounter. Chances are they would not see it again for a long time. Photography is like a time capsule of that moment in time. Every time you bring back an old photo of something you did, it is like you are reliving it.

“picture-taking is an event in itself”

As Platos describes it, “picture taking is an event itself” and “to invade with whatever is going on”. A photograph is more than the event and the photographer, it is the entire experience. In this photo, the photographer is interacting with this crocodile. Photographing a crocodile would be an event in itself. You never know how the creature is going to react, so on top of taking pictures, you’re juggling trying to not get bit. Especially if this was your first time doing this. You would look back on this moment for a lifetime.

“photographs of the oppressed”

Photographs can do a lot and for this instance it does. It exploits a woman and her children and shows how hard their lives are. There are way worse examples of exploration in photography, but that got a bit gruesome to look at. This photo has so much about it more than simply showing how they live and what they experience, but that is a topic for another time. I think it shows the suffering Platos was talking about. These images can invoke change and empathy and create action. If you see something sad typically you want to do whatever you can to change that. These photos make the event so much more real than just hearing about it.




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