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One day, I’d love to be paid to stare at stuff and have opinions about it again

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Salon started a new “Look Again” feature, in which staff take another look at all the photographs that fly across the wires daily. I’m going to be a Friday contributor, and here’s my first go at it.

Well, some of it, at least. Y’all know me — I don’t know when to shut up. The complete blather I wrote to accompany my photograph is below the fold. (I’d include the photograph itself, but we don’t have that subscription and Farley would kill me if I got us sued by Reuters.)

“Mohammad Ismail’s photograph, taken shortly after the attack on the American School in Kabul, captures the fragility of this particular foray into nation-building. It should be a strong composition, given the centered image of a soldier, the sharp lines defining the space behind him — and yet all the elements of the composition undermine that strength. The soldier drags his leg, almost daintily, and stares not at the camera but off into a distance, betraying what in another context would pass for wistful, but which here hints of weary.

“The smashed glass of unknown origin filling the foreground adds to this effect, because where most people’s eyes would be drawn to the memory of tragedy still littering the ground, the soldier’s eyelines indicate its literally beneath his notice. So too, of course, is Ismail, the absent figure in this tableau — but it requires little imagination to picture the physical position from which this photograph was taken.

“He has, as they say, ‘hit the deck,’ and provided the perspective most of us would have in the aftermath of an explosion — hugging the ground, hoping against hope not to be hit.”

 

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  • Peterr

    (I’d include the photograph itself, but we don’t have that subscription and Farley would kill me if I got us sued by Reuters.)

    Now *that* would be a photo!

  • Pseudonym

    Needs moar lazer eyes!

  • Peterr

    The perspective of the photo is also the perspective of one who has already been hit.

  • Peterr

    Do they assign you a photo (“Do this one next Friday!”) or do you get to choose which photo you want to write about?

    • Calming Influence

      And can we submit photos for you to practice on? (Shirtless Putin comes to mind, for some reason.)

  • efgoldman

    So is a “rabbit cafe” where Bugs Bunny and Crusader Rabbit go to eat, or where humans pick a cute little wide-eyed bunny to cook and eat to order, like the lobster tank at a seafood place?

  • Cheap Wino

    There’s no context to the photo. The subject, the soldier, isn’t doing anything definitive, nothing that gives a clue to what is happening or what the photo is about. The broken glass in the foreground looks recent (though even that is under question since there is some objects lying on top of it) but there isn’t a clue about why it’s there or the relationship to the soldier.

    As noted, the soldier’s eyes direct your gaze away from everything, every part of the composition, almost telling you to look at something else. It’s a bit mystifying as to how this shot even made it “across the wire.”

  • Yankee

    … a vanishing point at Infinity, just out of the frame

  • Calming Influence

    1) Congats on the gig.

    B – They should have included all your blather. It’s good blather, and it’s not like they’re killing more trees by posting a couple more sentences.

    iii Guard duty is onerous. (“But you’re not doing anything!” “Yes, exactly.”) Two hours is OK. Four hours is rough. Eight hours, like from midnight to 8am, can be mentally and physically exhausting.

    I’d be interested to know how long this guy had been standing guard.

  • Downpuppy

    I went to the first link this aft. Some evil spirit announced that my computer had been locked for my safety. Took some serious (& slow to open) Task Manager slamdowns to kill Chrome & get things in order.

  • fledermaus

    I’m currently at a barcade in minneapolis where they have the official LGM barley wine. It is dee-lish

  • daves09

    What are you doing hanging around that scummy hole Salon?

  • Donalbain

    Is there any chance of you staring at Game of Thrones and giving us your opinions on it for free?

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