Regarding the Pain of Others Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Fenton's "The Valley of the Shadow of Death" is unique for which of the following reasons?

2. The mass media bombarded viewers with shocking images because:

3. According to Sontag, _________ also influences the public's perception of war.

4. Sontag claims that Jacques Callot's 1633 painting, "The Miseries and Misfortunes of War" was unprecedented for which of the following reasons?

5. Faced with "information overload," people remember a photograph because it is a quick way of storing information, much like which of the following strategies?

Short Essay Questions

1. Discuss the significance of the Magnum Photo Agency, founded in Paris in 1947. What was the group initially founded to do? How did they influence the development of photojournalism?

2. Discuss the significance of "Here is New York," the exhibit of photographs taken on September 11th during the collapse of the World Trade Center.

3. Sontag distinguished between "image makers" and "image takers". What is the difference between these two groups of artists? How are they perceived differently?

4. Using the example of genocides and AIDS in Africa, Sontag argued that images of suffering in far-off places carry a double meaning. What is this double meaning?

5. Sontag stated that the photographer's intentions do not determine the message of the photograph. Discuss the contributing factors which influence the reception of photographs in the media.

6. Sontag identified two types of censorship which affect war photography. Describe both types of censorship. Which is most influential?

7. What did Sontag mean when she claimed that the memory of war is mostly local? What does this mean for international news firms?

8. How do captions sway interpretations of images? Discuss one of the examples Sontag provides in Chapter 1.

9. According to Sontag, how are standards for journalism determined in an era of tele-controlled warfare?

10. Why do images of pain challenge us to look without flinching? According to Sontag, what purpose does this serve?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Sontag drew parallels between photography and voyeurism, as well as war photography and pornography. How do you feel about these comparisons? Explore these connections using images of your own. Is there, in fact, a similar feeling evoked by both images? Can something repulsive be beautiful? Can something beautiful be repulsive?

Essay Topic 2

On witnessing suffering in a photograph, are we morally or ethically obligated to be emotionally moved? Sontag suggested that perhaps the viewer should not feel ashamed for not feeling a reaction. Do you agree or disagree? Support your position with a discussion of the ethics of witnessing suffering from such a distance.

Essay Topic 3

Throughout Sontag's argument, gender norms and expectations emerge as contributing factors in the way individuals receive images. How does Sontag treat these gendered expectations? Do you agree with Sontag's assertions on this issue? Why or why not? Discuss the differences in the ways men and women receive photographs of war and atrocity as well as the way publishing companies think about their audiences in terms of gender.

(see the answer keys)

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