This is post number one thousand and one. The first was in June 2008. This roughly averages to one post every two days for six years.
In 2010, Inside Job won the Academy Award for best documentary feature. Ironic perhaps, because the Academy Awards are the establishment, and Inside Job exposes the corrupt establishment. But if you watched the film you’ll understand why it won the award and how it fits the Hollywood narrative like a glove, finishing with Matt Damon and his cheesy words that I’d quote but was happy to forgot.
The Four Horsemen is also a documentary feature about finance and economics with a global perspective on the systemic broken system we currently suffer; but without the cheesy, myopic- only about America, witch-hunt mentality that Inside Job made us suffer.
Yesterday I was witness to a very ugly situation. I arrived to meet a friend thirty minutes early and while sat on a bench, I saw an entire situation unfold before me.
The situation seemed to begin when I heard a man shouting in the middle of the park- very loud and very aggressive, about 6 minutes later it seems police were called to that disturbance as three police cars arrived, officers moved into the park and one car left presumably to move around to the other side to catch anyone who might try and run. It’s about ten minutes after that when things started getting dicey. This man in the green shirt put on a red nose (obviously to signify that this was a joke) which you can see just above the officers shoe in the road, he was antagonising officers in a non-violent way, keeping his hands behind him, and the big officer in the white shirt lost it and started throwing punches, something I’ve never seen a police officer do. Other officers tried to move him away from the individual. After this, after they’d pinned this guy down to the floor with a grown mans knee on his head, another on his legs and another on his ribs, he simply resisted arrest. It’s when he was curled up in a foetal position when this large officer, obviously still in a rage and frustrated they couldn’t cuff him- started beating this poor guy in the back with both fists; that’s when the crowd really started shouting, because there’s certain things you can’t just stand by and watch. It’s then that the entire atmosphere changed and some people tried to help this guy, a female officer liberally pepper-sprayed his girl friend in the face, then realised they were completely outnumbered and called for backup, a few minutes later and the entire street was full of riot police arriving with their own video cameras to film the crowd. No surprise they didn’t film their own actions. In my opinion, they’d been called to a situation that the police had created. Later, a perfectly chilled out guy I was talking to while sat down earlier on the other side of the street was also arrested and it seemed like anyone could be dragged away.
To see it from start to finish- the entire situation was a storm in a teacup, a classic case of the over use of police force and a cautionary tale to avoid the heavy hand of the Berlin Bereitschaftspolizei. Normally I wouldn’t hang around for something like this, when police turn up it’s time to leave as far as I’m concerned, and you’ll probably find that attitude shared by those who know what it’s actually like to be arrested, it’s not a joke. Looking through my pictures deciding on the selections I’m also interested and reminded of the nature of documentary images, and how they present as fact something that is anything but factual, and totally subjective. I guess that’s a reason why I don’t go to marches and protests to watch conflict and record it because I don’t really believe the pictures, even if I made them.
Wow. I struggle to find the words after reading this article.
If you listen to photographers they’ll tell you “photography is…” and then proceed to define their personal philosophy. Nobuyoshi Araki talks about the fact that if you don’t make photographs, you don’t really remember anything and within that is another fascinating paradox. A photograph doesn’t create a memory, it records and renders permanent a very specific version of events from a subjective perspective of fixed time. So do photographers make photographs because they have a poor memory, or do they have a poor memory because they make photographs? Do they actively manipulate their experience by recording it? More importantly though I feel is that there’s seemingly an alchemy with a camera in hand, a special feeling that you can create something out of nothing, to create meaning out of the meaningless. But I also feel this ambivalence in this digital age, now I see as many people filming and photographing their experience as there are people actually living their lives. Meaning is a gold standard, acquired slowly through experience over time. A camera seems to offer a permanence to a fleeting world, substance for memory, meaning where there never was but to what extent is that a placebo? To what extent has any meaning drowned in an ocean of billions and billions of pictures? I go to photography exhibitions and I’m routinely the guy that seems to irritate people because they want to get past me, want to get round the gallery in 15 seconds so they can get back to the coffee shop and drink more expresso to keep up with life and not miss anything. A detailed poetic depth is on offer only to those with the patience and quietness of mind to receive it and within this is the contradiction of our HD culture of consumption and creation.