‘… do extreme and distressing images of human suffering make us more aware of the reality of that suffering or desensitise us to it?
When she wrote On Photography, Sontag thought the latter, but when she revisited the topic in a later book, Regarding the Pain of Others, her view had shifted. “As much as they create sympathy, I wrote, photographs shrivel sympathy,” she mused. “Is this true? I thought it was when I wrote it. I’m not so sure now.”’