Trauma Images in Photography, Film, and Video

Psychological conceptions of trauma, beginning with Jean-Martin Charcot and Sigmund Freud, have played a significant role in the understanding and uses of modern visual media. Photograph, film, and video images have the potential to shock and disturb viewers. These media can also allow trauma victims to communicate their memories and experiences. Empathy for, and identification with, the sufferings of others through media representations has made trauma a central feature of contemporary cultural identity. The emotional impact of media images and their repetition and reframing in various media forms have also suggested to several commentators a similar logic to that of the workings of traumatic memory. Whereas earlier cultural critics such as Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, and Susan Sontag emphasized the role of media in the ...

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