As human beings, I think we feel almost compelled to view suffereing to forget about our own. Mediated images or videos of suffering draw a lot attention for distractive reasons, however, there is a clear ethical pull in painful images and in my opinion, I feel it is one of the most effective ways to grab attention and spread awareness. Suffering is something that many people cannot truly understand unless they can see it.
Are we violating privacy by viewing someone elses suffering? Or is it worse to ignore it?
Photos of suffering and pain have been evident throughout history and used for a number of purposes, selfish and otherwise, but they have allowed for historians and society to better understand events that have passed and make their own judgments and form opinions with a more informed background and better contextual knowledge.