In this passage by Susan Sontag, she is trying to tell us that photography doesn’t really give us the full or truthful picture. She argues that narratives or words are the way in which we will receive the most information. The argument that she presents is a very plausible one and I agree with the fact that we cannot always gather the full story or truthful information just from a photograph. This idea that photographs do tell the full story is becoming a more and more popular and the reason is that the rise in the digital age is continuing. The answer to correct this idea, which is becoming a problem, according to Sontag is context or literature. In completing her argument she is trying to show how even though Photographs may not hold the answer in terms of what really happens in a situation, the context that we get from literature or a narration will give us a full explanation of what is going on in a given situation.
Photographs don’t always provide clear insight into what is really going on. A prime example of this can be found in everyday life in the form of family gatherings. Often when people are with family they become a bit overwhelmed and ultimately frustrated with each other. Even with this frustration everyone knows that with each large family gathering comes the family photograph. Even though you may be having a rough day you have to put on a smile so you don’t ruin the photograph. Where we know the true emotion of the photograph it is impossible for any other viewer of the picture to be knowledgeable of what was really happening. This example shows us how much we need context, as Sontag says in order to know the true meaning behind a photograph. Yet if there were a narrative as Sontag argues the viewer would be able to maybe not see what the image looks like but rather what is occurring in that situation.
We can also see evidence that supports this argument in examples throughout history. One example of this idea can be seen in the iconic world war two photograph of the soldier kissing a nurse in Times Square after the end of the war with Japan. Although it may look as if it is simply a soldier coming home from the war finally getting to see his loved one, this is not the case. Rather she was just a stranger unknown to the sailor. According to an account in the New York Post he was just overjoyed with the fact that the United States had won the war versus Japan and just found the closest person to him and kissed her. In fact he was on a date with his now wife when this whole situation occurred. Just by looking at this photgraph we would not able to tell that this occurred. Yet through reading and context we were able to gain new insight and learn what actually happened in a photograph instead of just assuming what happened in the situation occurring in the photograph.
Another reason that images cannot be trusted over context is the fact that photographs can be edited from the real thing to reflect something completely different....