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As you move your way through the emotional pictures of the Vietnam war, ask yourself...

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joanne79 | Student, College Senior | Honors

Posted June 10, 2013 at 1:29 AM via web

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As you move your way through the emotional pictures of the Vietnam war, ask yourself this question: Can you determine whether the photographer and the publisher have an agenda to communicate by publishing this particular photo?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 10, 2013 at 1:48 AM (Answer #1)

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Given the absence of photos offered, we have to speak in the broadest and most general of terms.  All art has some level of agenda in it.  The composition of art is driven with this in mind.  While the photographs depict reality, it is evident that the photographer made a choice to have this reality reflected through their lens.  The publisher made a choice to publish this particular photograph.  Such choices reflect personal and political agendas.  Choices like these reflect something that must be communicated.   

That being said, I am not entirely sure that this lessens the impact of photography during and of the Vietnam War.  As an example, when photographs of children in the war are taken and published, agendas aside, the voices of children are heard through these photographs.  Given how so many discarded their voices in the sustaining of this war on both sides, I don't think that the presence of an agenda takes away from the voices of children being validated and authenticated.  Indeed, there are political and social agendas in photographers taking specific pictures and companies choosing to publish them.  The agendas are there.  Yet, in the ability to depict reality and give voice to experiences that might be silent, the presence of an agenda does not take from what is present.

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