Archive for January, 2015


350MC: Draft Three

Third draft of my paper. Mainly just small tweaks now, and began timing myself on read throughs.

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350MC: Draft Two

This is my second draft of my paper, including suggested changes, additions to the advertisement section, and a start on my writing regarding Nanking.

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350MC: Draft One

My first draft of my essay, with suggestions by lecturer Caroline.

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350MC: Fred Ritchin

https://archive.org/details/MayesRitchinWorthFull

Listening to the the above interview with Stephen Mayes, Fred Ritchin and Jonathan Worth, I noticed that Ritchin comments on how the mass sharing of images online has caused a numbness towards to violent photographs. He also points out that being bombarded with shocking imagery puts society into a state of complacency, they don’t feel like they can do anything because it has already happened. And the ability to like and share is like a placebo, it makes society feel like it is doing something when it isn’t.

I think this is an important conversation to bring up in my paper. As it contrasts the idea that Azoulay puts forward that removing the barriers of viewing images of rape would help rape societies views of rape, and therefore rape culture.

This also places further positive light on Project Unbreakable, as it gives a solution to the potential problematic discourse of placing images of the moment of real rape into public view.

After reading Ariella Azoulays book ‘The Civil Contract of Photography’ I decided research Nanking, as it seemed like an important moment in the history of rape that she references during her chapter on rape and photography.

After my research I was absolutely horrified by the details of what happened in Nanking, and even more shocked that it seemed to be something that is relatively unheard of by many people. Despite the images I found being on the same level of violence as other imagery of war from the same time (1937, WW2) the images are not spoken about or as highly viewed to the same degree as, for instance, pictures from Auschwitz.

Nanking is one of the rare photographic evidences of Rape available to the public.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rape_of_Nanking_(book)

http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/nanking.htm

In December of 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army marched into China’s capital city of Nanking and proceeded to murder 300,000 out of 600,000 civilians and soldiers in the city. The six weeks of carnage would become known as the Rape of Nanking and represented the single worst atrocity during the World War II era in either the European or Pacific theaters of war.

After the destruction of the POWs, the soldiers turned their attention to the women of Nanking and an outright animalistic hunt ensued. Old women over the age of 70 as well as little girls under the age of 8 were dragged off to be sexually abused. More than 20,000 females (with some estimates as high as 80,000) were gang-raped by Japanese soldiers, then stabbed to death with bayonets or shot so they could never bear witness.

Pregnant women were not spared. In several instances, they were raped, then had their bellies slit open and the fetuses torn out. Sometimes, after storming into a house and encountering a whole family, the Japanese forced Chinese men to rape their own daughters, sons to rape their mothers, and brothers their sisters, while the rest of the family was made to watch.

Nanking is a horrific event of serious historical significance. The reason we have photographs of the rapes that occurred is due to the soldiers committing the rapes photographing their victims during the traumas.

We can draw similarities here to Steubenville and Abu Ghraib. Once again these images are only available because it was in fact the perpetrators who took them as apparent trophies of their actions.

Chinese_old_woman_raped_and_killed_by_Japanese_at_Tai'erzhuang  NankingUntitledNanking

We can draw similarities to the images from Nanking above to the horrific photographs from Auschwitz. We can draw the conclusion that the reason why one is more spoken about and viewed than the other is because of the ingrained cultural aversion to talking about rape.

Untitled2 Auschwitz

I think Nanking is an important piece of evidence for my paper that I need to include. The images are potentially incredibly upsetting, so I will perhaps need to place a trigger warning at the beginning of my presentation to warn people of potential upset.

The Civil Contract of Photography is a groundbreaking book by Ariella Azoulay that looks at the ethics of photography and it’s relation to society and history.

Her chapter ‘Has anyone ever seen a photograph of a rape?’, directly relates to what I am focusing on in my presentation. I have been reading it in depth and making notes on how it relates to my current research and what opinions and thoughts it has caused me to have in relation to rape culture and photography.

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Points I have taken from Ariella Azoulays writing: 

  • We see images of murder and violence and they become iconic. Be images of rape do not. Because people consider them sexual instead of violent.
  • Excuses for the lack of imagery of rape revolve around protecting the victim from further harm or concern for the images being used for pornographic purposes.
  • ^ Both reasons reinforce the sexual aspect of rape and ignore the violent aspect of it.
  • You cannot photograph the whole moment of rape, just parts of it. The before, after or during.
  • If you show images of rape is won’t eradicate it, but will perhaps change public opinion of it.
  • Rape is not an imageless crime, the public gaze on rape is what is missing.

How is relates to my other research

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  • There is ‘an unwritten prohibition on showing ‘real’ images of rape’, while, ‘’staged’ rape images are freely shown…’
  • rape is not in principle devoid of image – the public gaze on image of rape is what’s missing.’ with this in mind, the images of glamourised rape we see in advertising are giving society a one sided, distorted, view of what rape is like
  • the glamorised images we are subjected to ignore the violent elements or rape and purely enforce the sexual

Real rape

  • ‘Breaking the taboo on showing images of rape will challenge the clear demarcation between images that are allowed to be shown and those that are not – the line of demarcation that distinguishes rape from the other horrors that afflict humanity and preserves women as the exception to the rule.’
    So showing real images of rape in society would combat the distorted view of rape reinforced by rape culture. And while it would not necessarily stop rape from happening, it would make society more understanding of the violence and trauma of rape.
  • Why the Steubenville rape photo is important
  • Nanking – research this! There are pictures in the book, and Azoulay talks about it as a rare moment of rape images being publicly available.