In chapter two of Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag explores the history of photojournalism specifically war photography. Photography was used to show the trench warfare on the Western Front and in WWI but The Spanish Civil War was some of the first moments of war captured by photojournalists in the field. Sontag of course discusses Robert Capa’s Fallen Soldier, one of the most famous and well-known photographs of war. She cites the shocking nature of this photograph, capturing the moment of a soldier being shot, as it’s reason for standing out in history.
In this chapter Sontag also discusses a photo exhibition that happened in New York after 9/11. Entries were open to anyone who had a photograph that they felt connected to the 9/11 attacks, creating an exhibition of amateur photographs that could be next to the work of a famous photographer but all were priced the same.
Photojournalism became such a primary source of reporting because images were able to create a lasting impression in people’s minds that text didn’t. It was perceived at first that a camera could capture a completely unbiased moment of truth but Sontag makes the argument that because there is someone behind the camera, photographs still have a strong point of view.