Icons of Madness | Popular Photography

Icons of Madness

There are pictures that are destined to become symbols. I believe that the images Seung-hui Cho made of himself are such images. It is what, exactly, they symbolize that has yet to be worked out. Madness? A glimpse into the nature of what so often is referred to as Do they represent something about America or just an individual bent on annihilation? Has the media been complicit in validating the delusions of the gunman, as one psychiatrist has said?

There are pictures that are destined to become symbols. I believe that the images Seung-hui Cho made of himself are such images. It is what, exactly, they symbolize that has yet to be worked out. Madness? A glimpse into the nature of what so often is referred to as "evil?" Do they represent something about America or just an individual bent on annihilation? Has the media been complicit in validating the delusions of the gunman, as one psychiatrist has said? (Go here for his opinion.) These are the questions we will contemplate as we look at the pictures over and over and over. They are the face of the tragedy, and will take their place alongside the Zapruder film, the Kent State pictures, the 9/11 images, and all the other emblems of dark days.
--David Schonauer

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