The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence

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9780226482514: The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence
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In The Cruel Radiance, Susie Linfield challenges the idea that photographs of political violence exploit their subjects and pander to the voyeuristic tendencies of their viewers. Instead she argues passionately that looking at such images—and learning to see the people in them—is an ethically and politically necessary act that connects us to our modern history of violence and probes the human capacity for cruelty. Grappling with critics from Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht to Susan Sontag and the postmoderns—and analyzing photographs from such events as the Holocaust, China’s Cultural Revolution, and recent terrorist acts—Linfield explores the complex connection between photojournalism and the rise of human rights ideals. In the book’s concluding section, she examines the indispensable work of Robert Capa, James Nachtwey, and Gilles Peress and asks how photography should respond to the increasingly nihilistic trajectory of modern warfare.

A bracing and unsettling book, The Cruel Radiance convincingly demonstrates that if we hope to alleviate political violence, we must first truly understand it—and to do that, we must begin to look.

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Review:

“It’s not enough to say that Susie Linfield looks at photography with fresh eyes. Throughout this book—for me, most powerfully when she takes on Nazi extermination camp photographs—she sees with a mind unintimidated by fashion, shibboleths, attitude, cliche. She sees behind the pictures she looks at, to their motives, fears, ambitions, and lies. She writes through them.”—Greil Marcus--Greil Marcus

“A profoundly thoughtful account of the role of photojournalism in an irremediably violent world, Linfield’s book is as much about conscience and empathy as it is about photography. Examining images from the Spanish Civil War to Rwanda, she accepts no easy, sweeping answers. Rather, with vivid common sense and with painstaking, often abashed humanity, she guides us through the moral minefield where horror meets art, and helps us to see.”—Claudia Roth Pierpont
--Claudia Roth Pierpont

“This is a magnificent book. Susie Linfield has a good eye for the photographs and a good head for the politics. And she has the moral strength to look at these images of mutilation, death, and destruction, explain their value, and demand that we look at them, too.”—Michael Walzer
--Michael Walzer

“"The Cruel Radiance" is a brilliant, lucid, and incisive exploration of photography and political violence. It looks deeply and unsparingly at how photographers have pictured war, genocide, and atrocities, and in so doing illuminates photography’s democratic promise. By making the world present to us even when we want to look away, photographs have the potential to make us think and question together, to draw us into a community of witnesses.”—Kiku Adatto, author of "Picture Perfect: Life in the Age of the Photo Op"
--Kiku Adatto

"Extraordinary."-Christopher Knight, "Los Angeles Times"--Christopher Knight "Los Angeles Times "

"Extraordinary./i>--Christopher Knight "Los Angeles Times "

"It's not enough to say that Susie Linfield looks at photography with fresh eyes. Throughout this book--for me, most powerfully when she takes on Nazi extermination camp photographs--she sees with a mind unintimidated by fashion, shibboleths, attitude, cliche. She sees behind the pictures she looks at, to their motives, fears, ambitions, and lies. She writes through them."--Greil Marcus

"A profoundly thoughtful account of the role of photojournalism in an irremediably violent world, Linfield's book is as much about conscience and empathy as it is about photography. Examining images from the Spanish Civil War to Rwanda, she accepts no easy, sweeping answers. Rather, with vivid common sense and with painstaking, often abashed humanity, she guides us through the moral minefield where horror meets art, and helps us to see."--Claudia Roth Pierpont
--Claudia Roth Pierpont

"This is a magnificent book. Susie Linfield has a good eye for the photographs and a good head for the politics. And she has the moral strength to look at these images of mutilation, death, and destruction, explain their value, and demand that we look at them, too."
--Michael Walzer

""The Cruel Radiance" is a brilliant, lucid, and incisive exploration of photography and political violence. It looks deeply and unsparingly at how photographers have pictured war, genocide, and atrocities, and in so doing illuminates photography's democratic promise. By making the world present to us even when we want to look away, photographs have the potential to make us think and question together, to draw us into a community of witnesses."
--Kiku Adatto, author of Picture Perfect: Life in the Age of the Photo Op

About the Author:

Susie Linfield has been an editor for American Film, the Village Voice, and the Washington Post and has written for a wide range of publications, including the Los Angeles Times Book Review, New York Times, Bookforum, Village Voice, and the Nation. She is associate professor of journalism at New York University, where she directs the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program.

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9780226482507: The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2012. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. In "The Cruel Radiance", Susie Linfield challenges the idea that photographs of political violence exploit their subjects and pander to the voyeuristic tendencies of their viewers. Instead she argues passionately that looking at such images - and learning to see the people in them - is an ethically and politically necessary act that connects us to our modern history of violence and probes the human capacity for cruelty. Grappling with critics from Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht to Susan Sontag and the postmoderns - and analyzing photographs from such events as the Holocaust, China's Cultural Revolution, and recent terrorist acts - Linfield explores the complex connection between photojournalism and the rise of human rights ideals. In the book's concluding section, she examines the indispensable work of Robert Capa, James Nachtwey, and Gilles Peress and asks how photography should respond to the increasingly nihilistic trajectory of modern warfare. A bracing and unsettling book, "The Cruel Radiance" convincingly demonstrates that if we hope to alleviate political violence, we must first truly understand it - and to do that, we must begin to look. Seller Inventory # FOY9780226482514

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