In my weird slumber last night I had a thought about photographs and images… are they the global language? A book needs to be translated from one language to another and meanings could be lost in translation, but does an image lose translation or impact? Over the years/ generational? For various ethnicity and gender? Could a simple caption (which most photographs have) be lost in translation? Would a complex caption prevent the loss of impact and emotion of the image? Can we connect with international images and photographs as well as regional ones? I suppose an example would be the cover of Regarding the Pain of Others, the image by Goya, a Spanish painter. Do we, currently, understand it as well as others in the past?
Reading the La Crosse article, I think more images would be better to improve the publication. The section which discussed people injured in RR accidents, could have been better highlighted by the newspaper article scanned or the title scanned and inserted into this publication. Also moving the map image to another page, I think would be better. But with the date of the image and the date of the text on other pages there is a decade or two difference, but would be a nice visual to break up the words. I feel that the map, though slightly grainy and very large scale is good and does represent the complex systems across the west. An image of various RR company locomotives or advertisement that would be a good image addition which would showcase the various companies. I did find a few images of locomotives from the companies mentioned in the article, but the images were from the 1910 to more recent.
One of my reactions to the article, was how it addressed the impact of railways on smaller towns, and I was just thinking about how the impact of highways and bypasses change towns and cities. Route 66 across America was once very popular for people to travel, and stop at local shops or cities along the way, but with the improvement of highways to faster and more direct routes, people do not often pull off the road onto smaller towns to sight-see along a travel route.
In Sontag’s book, she discussed pictures of lynching that were on display in NYC in a gallery in 2000 (pg. 91). It reminded me of a recent NPR story which told of a woman, who when she was a small girl won a card game against her grandfather and received from him an invitation he got years before to attend a lynching.
His recollection of the event gives a different perspective than someone that might have gone to the event as a family outing. The grandfather had to attend such events due to his standings in the community, but why would everyone else be there? Was a fancy invite necessary? Why would people keep those images of the men who were to be lynched? Why did he? Many people attended battles of the Civil War as a picnic and would be a spectator to the battle (from a safe distance).
I do agree with Sontag’s statement in chapter 7, that the over-exposure of images to people might shrivel sympathy and so there must be a constant change and new image shown. This is what happens on the larger news channels (like CNN), how they must always have the breaking story and “live from the field coverage” to keep viewers on the channel and interested.
A different approach of peoples’ change or adaption to appalling images is to think about television shows which describe murder and show the mangled body, shows like Bones or CSI, and how just 20 years ago it was not the norm to have those types of shows as ranked #1 year after year. Do we watch these shows to test our stomachs and our ability to keep our eyes open, similar to looking at a car wreck?