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The declining significance of the shock photograph

This is because the images simply aren’t moving enough. It’s not that they do not elicit empathy. It’s not that they do not depict awful abuses. It is simply the case that we are so accustomed to graphic and gruesome images that they don’t have the same impact that they did, as did Jacob Riis’ photos with How the Other Half Lives motivate action and government reform.

What we mean by ‘never again’

This is the quandary we face in preventing the cycle of mass killing. It is not always easy to justify humanitarian missions when it seems not to follow our strategic interests. Yet time and time again, from Nazi Germany to Rwanda, we will retrospectively realize the mistake of inaction and the grave human cost of standing by.