Twice captured

The work of atrocity photography

Authored by: Molly Rogers

The Routledge Companion to Photography Theory

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138845770
eBook ISBN: 9781315727998
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315727998-16

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Abstract

Atrocity photographs are images depicting violence against particular individuals that reference a broader social and political condition. Such photographs do not necessarily present violent acts but can bear witness to the violence; they may also be party to the violence. It is unclear, however, whether the term ‘atrocity photography’ is in fact a useful lens through which to view historic images. This essay considers two photographs of Cynthia Ann Parker, who was captured by a Comanche war band in 1836, as examples of atrocity photography in order to examine how the label acts upon both photographs and viewers.

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