Monday, September 24, 2007

Sucker-punched by the truth

I respectfully dedicate this post to Mathew B. Brady (1823-96), the first successful photojournalist and, by extension, street photographer in the United States.

His images of the carnage wrought on the battlefields of the Civil War shocked a nation to its core. He (and his various assistants, including Alexander Gardner) gave those who saw his photographs a much-needed dose of reality -- straight up, no chaser.

People ran from the galleries in which his images were displayed, unable to comprehend the scope of what they were seeing -- unable to comprehend the scope of the bloodshed they helped bring about through inaction and apathy.

There's no room for complacency, my friends.

11 comments:

east village idiot said...

You said it all. Images are powerful as powerful as words.

Michael said...

More powerful, I would argue.

Anonymous said...

hi michael,
i'm at school, had a minute. Your pics are AWESOME! Talk to you later.
love you!
Nancy

Michael said...

Thanks, Nancy!

Forge said...

I never heard of the guy...thanks for the history listen.

One Man’s Opinion said...

I am into photography, although no where as good a I should be. When I was in college I turned in close up images of a dead cat, that was in the street, as a photo project. I just thought I was being different. It sucked and did not get high marks. My next project was pictures of belly buttons. LOL

Michael said...

Thank you both for your comments.

Mike Cross said...

A word is a kind of footprint, and a photo is a kind of footprint too.

In Master Dogen's teaching what is much more valuable than a footprint is a footstep, and what is most valuable of all is learning of a backward step.

That is what I have enjoyed about your blog, Michael -- its relevance to learning of the backward step, your struggle with life forcing you to learn the backward step.

Thank you, my brave/non-brave/beyond-brave friend.

Michael said...

As always, Mike, thank you. Truly, thank you.

YourFireAnt said...

Thanks for this one, Michael. I didn't know about him. He was probably one of the photographers referred to by a blurb in an exhibit here on the Goya drawings of the slaughter by the French [under Napoleon] of Spanish citizens during the so-called Penninsular War. It said that Goya's drawings formed a connection to later photographers whose photographs were taken seriously as reportage as well as art. One cannot view this [Goya] exhibit and come away unmoved.

FA

Michael said...

This man is one of my heroes. He was not afraid to tell the truth. His attitude was, screw people's genteel sensibilities. He knew war was hell and that the only way to impress this fact upon a public with its head up its collective ass was to smash them across the face with reality.