Sunday, November 20, 2011


Photographer Lois Greenfield writes on her website
I can’t depict the moments before or after the camera’s click, but I invite the viewer’s consideration of that question.
Lois reminded me recently as we were talking about landscape and gardens and Central Park, that because an artist may be trying to improve nature, what may look natural may be entirely contrived. And yet (this was a subtext to what she was saying, I think), in the photograph, even the photoshopped photograph, there is always, at some level, the image.  Which is and carries its own truth.
Jean Luc Goddard once said that 
Film is truth at 24 frames a second.
Which makes something of the same point.
* * * * *
Come with me now to the campus of the University of California at Davis.  And meet Lieutenant John Pike.
There's the still at the center of the changing world.

And there's the video.

And there's the longer video.

To my eyes, the still is the most horrifying.  As they say on the internet, your mileage may vary.
* * * * *
When Reginald Brooks was executed in Ohio last Tuesday despite his mental illness and the state's almost 30 year effort to conceal just how crazy he really was, he spoke no last words.
But strapped to the table (it's not really a gurney), and as the murderers execution team members pushed the plungers that sent the pentobarbital that would kill him through the IV lines, he gave them the finger.
With both hands.
Had he been at Davis, they might have stopped the killing long enough to bring out the pepper spray.

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