Controversial photos is a topic that can be debated everyday until the end of time because there will always be something new, ready to offend someone. However, the reason I like pictures so much is the fact that even if the things in the picture change in reality, they remain the same in that photo.
Photos capture a moment, and from an artistic standpoint that moment never changes in that photo. It’s like freezing bits of time in order to relive everything in that image.
This can have a chilling effect on people though when it captures a moment that one would rather forget. This is where the controversial part comes into play.
I believe every situation is different, based on the image itself. There is a large gray area of what is acceptable, it is not black and white. It is not easy to decipher.
Most controversial images are posted to the internet somehow, and once they hit the internet it is impossible to undo that action which basically means, whether the photo is published or not, that photo will remain alive until the end of the internet age.