War Images
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War Images : Fabricating Reality

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In this book, the authors explore images of war and their effect on society. The authors keep in mind that the experience of being at war is much different from the experience of viewing a war image. Thus it is our responsibility to engage war images critically and personally, because lives are at stake and the future of world peace lies in the balance. The iconic image of any war and its ideological underpinning must be more fully appreciated. This book suggests that consumers of war images must simultaneously pay attention to the details of any given image (and thereby uncover its ideology), while exploring other, alternative images related to the same war, in order to consider other perspectives. The effectiveness of the visual language is such that it demands a careful and critical analysis, such as the one that offered here. The emphasis on the pragmatic reading of images has more to do with the power of images to convey, most commonly, a single idea or value, rather than to engage the observer with an inconsistent or contradictory set of ideas and values. This is where pastiche and collage come into play as compositional strategies through which many images are juxtaposed against each other so as to break the uniformity of an artwork, poster, or photograph. The aesthetic experience, however intense, is not a war experience, and the one could never substitute the other. The visual landscape itself is open to ideological manipulation-selection, framing, focus-so that we end up having to deal with theories and ideas even when we refuse to deal with them at first, for they end up determining and informing what images find their way into our cultural memory.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 134 pages
  • 149.86 x 223.52 x 12.7mm | 226.8g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739143115
  • 9780739143117

Review quote

In its brief compass, War Images offers much more than the title suggests. While providing incisive commentary on specific images of war over the past two centuries, it makes a compelling argument for the centrality of visual literacy to civic education today. The reader will find in Sassower and Cicotello two very informed and reliable guides, who bring the complementary skills of the theorist and the practitioner of art to the complex and often emotive issues that surround the depiction and interpretation of war. No one should ignore their call to incorporate counter-imagery and counter-contextualization into the mainstream of critical political discourse. -- Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, University of Warwick, author of The Intellectual Sassower and Cicotello's book makes a powerful claim: that images, often contrived images, have become our way of mediating reality. Without doubt war and its horrors is real. Yet no image of war comes without an interpretation, an element of contrivance. Some interpretation is intended; but the intended can be subverted by the observer. The critical approach to images is fraught with difficulty and uncertainty. The authors show that image makers and image disseminators try to exercise control but they no more can than their audience can. -- Ian Jarvie, York Universityshow more

About Raphael Sassower

Raphael Sassower is professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Louis Cicotello is emeritus professor of visual arts at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.show more

Table of contents

Part 1 Chapter One: Modern and Postmodern Fabrication Chapter 2 I.Modern Reality and the Postmodern Condition Chapter 3 II.Fabricating War Images Chapter 4 III.The Predicament of Framing War Images Part 5 Chapter Two: War Images Chapter 6 I. Photospread Chapter 7 II. Analysis of the Images Chapter 8 III.Annotated Image List Part 9 Chapter Three: Recapturing Reality Chapter 10 I.Representing the Realities of War Chapter 11 II.The Predicament of Just War Theories Chapter 12 III.The Power of Images, the Images of Power: Censorship Part 13 Chapter Four: The Pragmatic Promise Chapter 14 I. The Moral Dimensions of War and Terrorism Chapter 15 II. Fabricated War Images as Pragmatic Politics Chapter 16 III. Pedagogy of Critical Aesthetic Engagementshow more

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