Can a Photo Be Tragic? Essay

Submitted By mollyp0cket
Words: 509
Pages: 3

Can A Photograph Be Tragic?

When contemplating whether or not a photograph can be tragic in the way that literature is, I cannot help but think about the photographic media frenzy that occurred after the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 in New York City, New York. The images, are almost all the same; depicting destruction, death, fire and smoke. Not only were the photographs of 9/11 large in number, but also, the way they were circulated was without concern. Every website, newspaper, magazine and television channel contained them and circulated them profusely for months, making it impossible to escape a constant mental replay of the turmoil. However, are these photographs as tragic as say, Hamlet or Antigone? I’d say yes. I think that a photograph is as tragic if not more tragic than writing or literature. A photograph is often a depiction of a reality. Regardless of whether or not the things in the photograph are true or not, the photograph is real. Literature is almost always fiction, inside and out. Although when performed the work may be tragic and heartbreaking, the audience eventually gets up and leaves and the production is over. A photograph sticks. I’ve read and seen plenty of Shakespearean tragedies on the stage; Hamlet, King Lear, etc. However, once I leave the performance, I comment on how sad it was or how good the actors were and how I enjoyed the experience, but once I do that, I stop speaking about it. The meaning of the tragedy, or the tragedy at all doesn’t phase me. Maybe it’s because the literature is so dated, or maybe because compared to what’s going on around me while I see or read a play, I can’t connect in a way that makes the work seem even slightly tragic at all. I keep coming back to these photographs of September 11th. They stuck with me. Maybe it’s because the event directly impacted my life, or because the event…