The Sublime as Spectacle takes a unique look at the theories of the sublime, and the aesthetic and their intertwined relationship with war and photography. Through extensive study and research of philosophy, theory and photography through out history, this thesis asks if it is normal to spectate on images of death and war with a sort of unconscious pleasure. Critically analysing and engaging with the work of influential philosophers Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, writers on photography Susan Sontag, Roland Barthes, and photographers Robert Capa, Steve McCurry and Paul Seawright, this thesis investigates the spectacular events of the Spanish Civil War, September 11th, and the subsequent war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq and how photographs of these historical events have changed the way society views images of death and war. Burns argues that the power of the photograph, the mass media, the spectator event, and the aesthetic sublime to indulge the viewing publica??s curiosity for the violence and death of war is a quintessential part of societya??s history.
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