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The sufferings of war and the horror of death are imprinted on the mind through images that leave a stubborn imprint: from the corpses of American Civil War soldiers photographed by Alexander Gardner to Robert Capa’s famous Death of a Republican Militiaman, from the US flag at Iwo Jima to the Vietnamese children burnt by napalm, from the photos of the Nazi concentration camps in January 1945 to those of the Omarska camp in Bosnia, and on to the ruins of Ground Zero. Susan Sontag speaks of the ‘shock’ of photographic representation, which places us authoritatively and immediately in front of the pain of others. By examining the cavalcade of this shock over time, the author arrives at a crucial crux of our contemporaneity: despite the complexity and instability of the concepts of reality/reproduction, memory/public oblivion, visibility/invisibility, the ‘ethical value’ of the images of suffering that invest us – sometimes to the point of hypersaturation – remains intact. And the questions that stringently run through the pages of this book remain: what happens in front of the representation of the pain of others? Is a ‘reproduction’ of pain possible? How can it be photographed or filmed without depriving it of truth or producing voyeuristic effects? And, more fundamentally, who is the other, that perturbing emblem that challenges us by its reproduction? That is why this book, published in 2003, is still full of drive and incisiveness, as well as remaining an irreducible indictment against violence: “no one can think and at the same time strike another living being”.