We spend a lot of time bombarded by images. Advertising, news, graphic t-shirts… There are palpable effects of the mental exhaustion; our brain becomes overwhelmed and desensitized to the images that actually matter.
I just gave some of my time over to looking at some of the top photographs of the week from international photojournalists. Death and mourning in Ukraine, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Palestine, Somalia. Afghanistan, Iraq. Lost boys and girls caught in political turmoil along the Rio Grande. The voices of Syria are overcome by newer, sadder faces. Guns, rockets, macho nationalism shrouded in soccer competitions.
Then, there’s the occasional light-hearted picture — a festival, a Santa Claus convention, giant sea turtles… Schizophrenic attempts to offer some semblance of we-aren’t-all-fucked.
Those of us who criticize the media for its over-emphasis on the negative are being silenced by the actual weight of the new negative. It has been easy to tsk-tsk local news instilling fear over random crime, burglary, drive-by shootings, but the reality of international conflict stands on its own as a much deeper challenge to overcome.
…These images of dead kids are not effective anymore. “We’ve seen them before and we are again in the same situation,” he says. But he takes comfort in the thought that his work will be remembered later on. “We, photographers, are doing this for the future.”
A photograph is forever, and the war photographer lives a life on the edge of infinity. A 26 year old photojournalist was killed in the CAR this year. I weep for the dead artist and teller of pixelated truths.
Every war-torn image we’re bombarded with connects me deeper with an emerging purpose of soul-driven media. Here in affluent America, with money to spare on exploring the outer limits of our consciousness and abilities, we live in peace and harmony, where death has the potential to be celebrated, not just accepted as a circumstance of existence. If we could replace all these guns and missiles with cameras and guitars, maybe we can make it out alive.
This is my tribute to the photojournalists out there on the front lines, and for the photojournalist in all of us.
There’s a weapon in every pocket
A gun, everywhere, loaded with answers to questions we may never ask
Triggers waiting, asking to be pulled
Ukraine Palestine Syria Somalia Afghanistan Los Angeles New York Rio Grande
I never leave home without my gun
Japanese glass loaded with 16GB rounds
Fire five frames per second of fiction
Images blasting from circuits of friction
The victim in my crosshair, my captive
Telling their story with eyes and feet and clothes and weapons of their own
Arms wrapped around strangers necks locked and loaded into an endless embrace forever forever forever
Hands shaped into hearts, eyes wide open with possibilities forever forever forever
Teachers with students, sharing secret recipes for bliss and forever forever forever
The buzzing in my finger as I pull my trigger over and over and over
Reach into your pocket and pull out your weapon — iPhone, Samsung, Nokia, Windows, Whatever.
Open up your camera and capture a better forever
I reach into my backpack and shuffle through
cables, gum, prescriptions for a clear mind, pens, pencils
I pull out an external hard drive, packed to the gills with
Adventures on the front lines of love and peace
The pen is mightier than the sword, sure
And a camera is mightier than a gun
So what trigger will you pull?
My subscription ran out on Sirius XM. They’d been calling me to renew, to fix my credit card information. I was holding out to figure out a better deal.
I finally pick up the phone. I tell the guy who answers the phone that it’s just too expensive. It’s a luxury item, really, and I’m unemployed (a half truth). I’d like to keep using the service but I just don’t know if I can justify it.
“Your account actually has a free 3-month premium trial that was never activated because of the radio you bought.”
Well, sign me up then. That sounds great! [The sounds of his typing and clicking check boxes fill the silence.]
“I’ve been there myself, y’know. I’ve been unemployed 3 times in the last 3 years. Each time I find a new job, there’s more pay, more opportunity. I used to be a lawyer, actually. I studied and worked in law for years. But things change. Life has a funny way of making new plans for you. You just have to have faith in God, there are other things at work.”
Thank you, Cosmos, for a nice healthy check of self-importance. Feeling delightfully insignificant, incapable of intergalactic failure.
Watching Neil deGrasse Tyson geeking out super hard over Carl Sagan is awesome. It’s hard to watch the sum of human knowledge and not be humbled by how little we know. It’s the reminder that all of the little problems and concerns we carry with us are laughable, even from the closest of close stratum of human knowledge.
Honestly, I can’t believe it’s on Fox. We’re breaking through, guys. We’re getting there. It’s in bits and pieces.
FOX followed it up with some scary, cult show. Bloodletting, some sort of human sacrifice upcoming. One channel up, KCET is playing a concert with WAR & Cheech and Chong singing “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”
*Click, Click* Can you tell I don’t watch live TV very often? Miley Cyrus’ “Unplugged” set. It’s good burlesque, I would stop and watch her perform at a renegade school bus snake oil show. She’s on stage, pixie cut, ripped sequin genie jeans, a matching bikini and tattered jean jacket. Glam, androgyneous. She shares a stage with a keyboardist surrounded by an upright piano, a Hammond B3 and a Rhodes. A drummer, a couple of backup singers, a string quartet on her flanks.
I think we’re all still negotiating the space between deep, human interaction and the instant messenger gratification we rely on through much of our day. I seriously doubt that interpersonal communication can get much more impersonal than we’ve already reached. Have we reached the lowest point of conversation with Text Speak? Are Emojis less intelligent than a text that says “come outside?” We have more pictures being sent. Video.
I think we’re meeting in person less, no doubt. But are we able to thereby eliminate the need for small talk?
Some are reaching across the technological divide, grasping for human connection. But some are relieved of the external anxieties of constant unwanted interactions. More choice, more judgement on how others choose to communicate. That’s why it’s important to understand who you’re trying to talk to. You should consider this for a moment before choosing a contact method.
If someone never checks their phone, or it costs them a lot of money to text, maybe you should send them an e-mail. If they’re a slow typist, why not pick up the phone? If they’re someone you truly cherish, get coffee together. If someone’s a busy executive but has expressed their interest in helping you, keep it short and to the point. These are the social nuances of our myriad communication options that digital literacy informs.
We have to carve out intentional time and space to have the bigger conversations. They’re happening all around you. If you’re feeling like your social/spiritual needs aren’t being met, maybe you should put down your GlowingRectangle.
Tired of survey results popping up on your Newsfeed telling you which Star Wars/Devil Wears Prada/Big Bang Theory character your friend pseudo-resembles (see: Forer Effect)?
Here’s all it takes to hide these from your timeline! Knowledge is power.
- Click the little downward arrow at the top right of the post on your newsfeed
- Select Hide all from Zimbio
- You can then choose to just hide Zimbio or all posts from your friends
- You can say that it’s a meme, or you can just skip the rest of the questions!