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Reaction: Portraits of Burn Survivors

ekoren's picture

After listening to to Riva Lehrer's TED talk, I consciously attempted to suspend my feelings of pity when I viewed our assigned photos. I first chose to look at Doug Auld's burn portraits of burn victims, and my initial attempts to avoid pity immediately descended into failure. Guiltily, I found myself only able to see the portrait's subjects as victims of tragedy, and I desperately searched for ways to see the subjects as something outside of their physical appearance. As I continued to scroll through the gallery, however, I felt a shift in my nascent feelings; upon reflecting on the purpose of our earlier readings, I began to wonder if my ability to view the subjects without pity actually required my acknowldegment of their tragedy. To appreciate their strength, I needed to appreciate their struggle. The erasure of their circumstances only served to aid in my own comfort, and the appreciation of their beauty required my leaning into my own uneasiness.