Bring a redemptive purpose to this broken world.

Posted on by Ben Hodson

The simple posters that the Atelier Populaire created had widespread circulation and appeal due to the social climate.  Eddie Adam's street execution image confirmed the western public's suspicions that they didn't really believe in the war in Vietnam.  Susan Sontag when writing about the photograph argues “.....[It] can't coerce, It won't do the moral work for us. But it can start us on the way.” (Susan Sontag, 2003).  This research has partly supported this statement; however, I do not feel that I completely agree.  I would suggest that photography, in particular, has the ability to suggest a moral response, due to the controlled nature of the process.  However, Art as a whole has a responsibility to not just point out injustice; it needs to be bound up in the social, political and environmental context it finds itself. Through this research I realize it will never really be possible to fully measure or quantify the effects of art, however the very fact that the images discussed adorn many walls, whether of homes, universities or public buildings around the globe show they undoubtedly have effected the consciousness of society at all levels and thereby produced change. Looking at the wars, disease, the move away from family values, social issues, the percentage of the worlds population below the poverty line you can see that the world is surely in need of redemptive influence.  Art can never be the whole answer but it can be part of the answer. Artists have an important and unique role to play in raising questions and awareness, as well as helping bring about positive change in society.  We should creatively look to bring a redemptive purpose to this broken world.