We are a species of rubber-neckers. We cannot resist watching unfortunate happenings – fires, tornadoes, car accidents. We’ve all experienced the paradox of enjoying tragedy. Some wise man said:
It is by inflicting upon ourselves some form of punishment that we find relief from those negative emotions and feelings that we have experienced.
That’s the essence of “sensational” newspapers. And the core of the two below, La Tribuna from Italy (1950s) and Radar from France (1960s) take the voyeurism of pain to its logical extreme. In the former, illustrator Vittorio Pisani captures the exact moment of horror just as calamity is about to strike. For hundreds of La Tribuna covers and back covers he finds the cliff off which his average citizens are about to fall.
Pisani’s ability to freeze the moment makes him the anti-Rockwell, but decidedly as skilled, wouldn’t you say?
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About Steven Heller
Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →