Ian vision of photography. It has become difficult, they write in

Ian vision of photography. It has become difficult, they write in their editorial, “to conceive photography and the archive to involve anything other than the negative operations of power” (128). While acknowledging the necessity of the critique of photography pursued by Sekula and Tagg, amongst others, Cross and Peck set a new agenda: one that would begin with the excluded and the overlooked. A counter-archive, if you like, of residual or repressed images, memories and meanings. It is a project, they suggest, that resonates with the “growing desire to salvage images produced in ordinary and everyday circumstances by ordinary people” — from the photos in family albums to the old black and white purchase Sulfatinib prints for sale at antique markets (128). On the surface there is nothing to connect our case study to either of these approaches to the photographic archive. The makers of BioShock are not interested in challenging the ideology or normalising effects of medical archives: if they were aware of the Gillies Archives at all, it can only have been in the partial and highly mediated form of Project Fa de. BioShock’s investment in historical veracity is entirely stylistic. As Frederic Jameson observed of nostalgia films and historical novels, what matters is conveying “pastness” (20). (The BioShock concept artist Robb Waters also mentions using “old mug shots from the 1940s”.37 ) On the other hand, trawling the Internet for old medical and police photographs is not so different from rummaging through boxes of photographs at flea markets — or buying photographic memorabilia on ebay. If there is indeed a growing interest in (and market for) historical photographs, BioShock is part of the trend. There is no definitive answer to the questions posed at the beginning of this article: what do we gain from looking at images like these, and what would constitute their proper (or improper) use? Sontag, as we have seen, emphasises the contexts of viewing, but she also distinguishes between “photographs with the most solemn or heart-rending subject matter” — which might, in the right circumstances, serve as secular icons — and those that shock and shame us with their depiction of “real horror” (Regarding the Pain of Others 37, 108). Unless we are in a position to do something about the suffering documented in these “extreme” images, we are simply voyeurs. Against this emotional taxonomy of images (moving versus shocking) it may be argued that “real horror” has a subjective element. Sontag’s selection of most shocking photographs might not be yours or mine. An alternative approach to such images might pay closer attention to the manifold ways in which suffering is mediated, and the circumstances under which it becomes possible to look (to really look) at horror. Tonks’ drawings, for example, mediate and contain suffering in a way that the case photographs of the same patients cannot, but the intimacy and beauty of the drawings is not the exclusive preserve of art. As an image, “something may be beautiful — or terrifying, or unbearable, or quite bearable — asP H OTO G R AP H I E Sit is not in real life” (Sontag 68). There are other ways of mediating horror: through narrative or autobiography, or by formalising the encounter between Y-27632 site viewer and image, as in Sontag’s example of the surgeon in a military hospital. Her disquiet, however, is provoked by a different kind of mediation, the “marketing of experiences, tastes and simulacra” in the name of art, education.Ian vision of photography. It has become difficult, they write in their editorial, “to conceive photography and the archive to involve anything other than the negative operations of power” (128). While acknowledging the necessity of the critique of photography pursued by Sekula and Tagg, amongst others, Cross and Peck set a new agenda: one that would begin with the excluded and the overlooked. A counter-archive, if you like, of residual or repressed images, memories and meanings. It is a project, they suggest, that resonates with the “growing desire to salvage images produced in ordinary and everyday circumstances by ordinary people” — from the photos in family albums to the old black and white prints for sale at antique markets (128). On the surface there is nothing to connect our case study to either of these approaches to the photographic archive. The makers of BioShock are not interested in challenging the ideology or normalising effects of medical archives: if they were aware of the Gillies Archives at all, it can only have been in the partial and highly mediated form of Project Fa de. BioShock’s investment in historical veracity is entirely stylistic. As Frederic Jameson observed of nostalgia films and historical novels, what matters is conveying “pastness” (20). (The BioShock concept artist Robb Waters also mentions using “old mug shots from the 1940s”.37 ) On the other hand, trawling the Internet for old medical and police photographs is not so different from rummaging through boxes of photographs at flea markets — or buying photographic memorabilia on ebay. If there is indeed a growing interest in (and market for) historical photographs, BioShock is part of the trend. There is no definitive answer to the questions posed at the beginning of this article: what do we gain from looking at images like these, and what would constitute their proper (or improper) use? Sontag, as we have seen, emphasises the contexts of viewing, but she also distinguishes between “photographs with the most solemn or heart-rending subject matter” — which might, in the right circumstances, serve as secular icons — and those that shock and shame us with their depiction of “real horror” (Regarding the Pain of Others 37, 108). Unless we are in a position to do something about the suffering documented in these “extreme” images, we are simply voyeurs. Against this emotional taxonomy of images (moving versus shocking) it may be argued that “real horror” has a subjective element. Sontag’s selection of most shocking photographs might not be yours or mine. An alternative approach to such images might pay closer attention to the manifold ways in which suffering is mediated, and the circumstances under which it becomes possible to look (to really look) at horror. Tonks’ drawings, for example, mediate and contain suffering in a way that the case photographs of the same patients cannot, but the intimacy and beauty of the drawings is not the exclusive preserve of art. As an image, “something may be beautiful — or terrifying, or unbearable, or quite bearable — asP H OTO G R AP H I E Sit is not in real life” (Sontag 68). There are other ways of mediating horror: through narrative or autobiography, or by formalising the encounter between viewer and image, as in Sontag’s example of the surgeon in a military hospital. Her disquiet, however, is provoked by a different kind of mediation, the “marketing of experiences, tastes and simulacra” in the name of art, education.

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