Quote Originally Posted by dasBlute View Post
Yes, we may have difficulty NOT seeing the 'tank-man' and all that he implies,
but only if you are familiar with that image, which is not a given.
I agree, they really can't stand alone. There were one or two cases where I didn't recognize what the original photo was, and of course the result was no impact at all. I think that for general consumption, images like this really need to be shown paired with the originals.

Focusing on the banality of the 'backdrop' of a photo of this type - again, to my opinion -
undermines the blunt impact and veracity of the image, akin to pointing out the make of car
Kennedy was riding in.
Fair enough, and thanks for the clarification. To me it has the opposite effect---but then, so might pointing out the make of car Kennedy was riding in. (Morbid trivia question: What's the only gun make to have been used in two US political assassinations? [see edit below!])

It reminds me of seeing, a few years ago, a reconstruction of Hitler's office as part of an exhibition. It was an overwhelmingly ordinary office, which to me is much more profoundly scary than if it had been a cartoon supervillain lair. The hard thing to grasp about gigantic events, IMHO, is that they actually tend to happen in the same kind of ordinary contexts in which the rest of our lives happen.

-NT

[Edit: I have long had a misapprehension about this; the first version said "two US *Presidential* assassinations, but it turns out I had one of the examples wrong. One President, one major but nonpresidential political figure.]