It's very interesting to think about the question given in the reader and the texts that we have to read. In answering the questions about the critical positions I have to say that my first response would be that all the critical are too critical and also snobby, especially Martha Rosler. I went to an exhibition of Lewis Hine a few years ago and was very impressed at first of all his work, but most of all, the effort and drive he had to show under what circumstances people had to work and live. This didn't reinforce the gap between poor and rich, it only bridged a gap between people living in very different worlds. All of his images have a very strong human element to them and looking at them you can feel a connection with the subjects, you don't feel put off because of what you see, you see a human being first and then a situation about which something should be done.
The fact that Martha puts his images in a context of victimizing the subjects makes her guilty of exactly the thing she is blaming Hines for.
Regarding the images of war, again it is impossible to stereotype the genre. Every image has its strength in different elements and every viewer will be influenced by what it's seeing, either consciously or subconsciously. Sometimes it is also the combination with the caption or added information that makes the story of an image stronger. I do think one has to be mindful of the long term effects of an overload of war and the context in which images are used. For example, I'm thinking about the the influence of war games on kids and how images out of context can have a very different effect.
I do agree that an overload of violence and poverty makes the mind immune for it all. The danger lies in not seeing the people in at as human beings with a life and a history, but purely as subjects of poverty and violence. I do think the images can provoke change, but maybe not on a level that is the most obvious, like images that show a lot of violence or machinery. I think that what really touches people at a first glance are images that show a personal element, something they can identify themselves with. When I lived in Poland I visited some concentration camps. I remember being most touched in the rooms where they showed the toothbrushes, glasses and shoes of the people that were sent to the gas chambers. You see the differences, the lives that were reflected in the choices of belongings, etc. Your brain immediately connects with that. A very recent example is the image of the drowned refugee toddler that immediately caused for a call for political changes regarding the refugee crisis.
Then you have works from for example Simon Norfolk, photographs that are more landscapes of war. These kind of images trigger you to be still and really think further than what you see. In a way they are really moving, but I'm not sure if they call for immediate action, although maybe the message of that war takes place in villages, houses and places where the viewer could have lived themselves might have a longer term impact. It's the 'pensive mindset' the reader talks about.