Sunday, September 11, 2022

The photographer is no stranger to history; he knows it is something that happens later. In the actual moment history is made, it is usually made in terror and confusion, and so it is up to people like him—paid witnesses—to have the presence of mind to attend to its manufacture. The photographer has that presence of mind and has had it since he was a young man. When he was twenty-one years old, he was standing right behind Bobby Kennedy when Bobby Kennedy was shot in the head. His jacket was spattered with Kennedy's blood, but he jumped on a table and shot pictures of Kennedy's open and ebbing eyes, and then of Ethel Kennedy crouching over her husband and begging photographers—begging him—not to take pictures.

Richard Drew has never done that. Although he has preserved the jacket patterned with Kennedy's blood, he has never not taken a picture, never averted his eye. He works for the Associated Press. He is a journalist. It is not up to him to reject the images that fill his frame, because one never knows when history is made until one makes it. It is not even up to him to distinguish if a body is alive or dead, because the camera makes no such distinctions, and he is in the business of shooting bodies, as all photographers are, unless they are Ansel Adams.

Journalism is utilitarian hackwork: it's important because it's necessary. Pretension undermines what makes it serious.

Sinatra with a cold is Picasso without paint, Ferrari without fuel—only worse.

But photojournalism is just porn. 

The 9-11 story I remember before others, among those I've read—I watched the second tower fall while standing on a bridge—was told by Maurice Sendak. I've only found two references to it on the web and neither is in the context I remember. but it doesn't matter

Children,” he says, “are not ‘regular people’. Children are punched into regularity; they have to be, I guess: you can’t have them being what they are forever, running around like maniacs, terrorists, saboteurs. They are closer to death, they are closer to the whole thing. They know a lot. They feel sorry for their parents. When the Twin Towers fell, I have a friend whose daughter is in a school down there – and when it all happened, they go down, and there’s all the fire and the smoke, and they ran and grabbed her and said, are you all right? And she said: ‘Oh, it’s so exciting, with all the fire engines, and Daddy, I saw something I’d never seen before – I saw little birdies on fire and they were flying all around’. And they took her home, and calmed her down, and put her to bed and he kissed her goodnight and then she called him back. ‘Daddy,’ she said, ‘I have a secret. I know they weren’t birdies, Daddy.’ She had protected him for as long as she could from her knowing; knowing what that would do to him. That’s what they do. They are capable of that.” 
As long as I started down this road:"Uncontroversially" George Bush's crimes "vastly exceed bin Laden's". 
My review of Zero Dark Thirty

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