Last week The Washington Post ran a news article concerning a famous photograph by John Filo:
“On that afternoon in 1970, the world was just as riveted by an image that showed the life draining out of a young man on the ground, this one a black-and-white still photo.”
Washington Post April 19, 2021
“ Taken by student photographer John Filo, it captures Mary Ann’s raw grief and disbelief at the realization that the nation’s soldiers had just fired at its own children. The Kent State Pietà, as it’s sometimes called, is one of those rare photos that fundamentally changed the way we see ourselves and the world around us.”
Washington Post. April 19, 2021
The article reported how in the process of becoming famous the image had deeply affected the woman’s life—in 1990 Mary Anne was quoted that the photograph had “really destroyed my life.”
“Everyone had a piece of me,” Mary Ann says. “And when everyone in the world thinks they know who you are, you don’t want to be who you are.”
Washington Post. April 19, 2021
All of this from a single fifty year old photograph! ! ! Still, I wonder how many people were so deeply affected by Picasso’s Guernica? or Goya’s Third of May ?
My “not so famous” photo from Days of Rage, Chicago 1969..
Photographs have their own meanings, responsibilities, goals & ambitions, and collateral damage. And all the while there is always something in the photograph that the photographer did not anticipate.
Media audience expansion, its not only larger audiences for media but its geographically contained Global audiences electronically interconnected around the world with inexpensive smart phones connected to computers—the Earth is a saturated market, no unknown frontier, no where to go and hide, no new resources. Everyone in the world is increasingly connected in real time.
Winslow Homer was a Civil War news illustrator, compare his reporting work to photographs by Mathew Brady. . Paintings are powerful communicators, but perhaps what we see in photogrpahs is more similar to what most people saw in paintings for centuries before photography became what it is now.
With all its antiwar messages, photography plays a strategic role in military defense, and remember, during the Iraq attack there were news videos of bomb sighting and dropping—people watching the news showing planes sighting , dropping bombs, following the journey through to the the explosion.—hard to tell which was the news and which was the “rubber necking style” entertainment
During the 1960s TV news reporting on the Vietnam War included the daily “Body Count,” a basic graphic of words and numbers that were updated daily.
War is a major profitable business, whole industries produce weapons of war described as tools to “maintain peace through military readiness.”
Maybe war is just one part of being human,, its part of human nature, killing others is what people do and The Geneva Accords were just setting the formal rules for people to kill each other. Some say that each of us is so motivated by our personal wants and needs that we cannot control the destructive anti-social behavior of our natural self while others say it is the repression of individuals l natural drives tothe end of a common social behaviour which enables social solidarity that “alienates” individuals from their natural self.
People sometimes see a “realistic painting” and say, “It almost looks like a photograph” as it is some technical measurement of painting but usually when I hear the “photograph is almost like a painting” the meaning refers to an artistic quailty which does not look “real.”
The “thing” about a photograph is that somewhere the brain believes a photograph to be some kind of visual truth which a painting cannot have . . .
. . . perhaps because the photographic image is made by a “more truthful” machine technology—the camera— while the painting is made by a “less truthful tool” —the human hand? or is it the opposite? The universe created people to see itself, and people created photography to see the truth of themselves.
The hands of Bruce Lee have reached far into the future..He has motivated many people on this Earth, not just in martialists but in their own personal goals.
My father, Sparks NV, 16 years ago, early one morning, experiencing advanced Alzheimer’s,—he turned out be more than I knew at the time.
Morris Bellis in his tire shop about 1970, Arlington MA,
On a day in San Francisco Marina district , maybe thirty five years ago, I am glad I did not earn my living doing this, but then again maybe he was a very successful musician who enjoyed busking in the streets on weekends, somehow the band seems a little unfitable for my kind of music.
Came through North Berkeley a few weeks ago, in the area of the old “DeathHouse, ” Black Oak Books and the original Pete’s Coffee, stopped to browse at Tibet Imports.
Esther taking a photograph of me.
Driving up College Ave, passed an antique store I used to visit years ago, the proprietor was sitting outside with a friend eating, glad to see he was still around, I did not stop. but wish I had.
Who am I to stand and wonder, to wait
While the wheels of fate slowly grind my life away?
Who am I?
Country Joe Who Am I? (song)