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Woohoo, Form strikes again!

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — a wager on the impact of form in media ]
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It’s a moment in the unfurling of an event: the moment when our war correspondents, photographers, whoever, manage to bring style to their reporting, not simply fact.

Take a look at the symmetries here — the photographer wasn’t just able to get a shot, but to get what we might call a shot with form — an artist’s shot:

Atlantic boy Named Jihad image 602

  • Photo credit: Hosam Katan / Reuters
  • From The Atlantic, The Boy Named Jihad: From the Ashes of the Arab Spring to the Battlefields of Syria
  • **

    Great artists, how can I say this, bring this quality with them. It’s in their eyes for vision, their ears for language. Gregory Johnsen is one of those..

    My wager would be that images and or texts infused with this quality go deeper, communicate more memorably, than texts or images that lack it. FWIW.

    War Games

    Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — not a FIFA joke ]
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    via ElMostaque

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    I’ve no idea of whether this was photoshopped, staged, screencapped, or simply a brilliant photo, but it’s war fun and games any way you look at it.

    A visual koan.

    The image is several years old, but I just saw it today via @EMostaque.

    Considering various of the universes within this one

    Sunday, May 31st, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — 4th & last in a bizarre series [1, 2, 3] — I must confess I prefer the NASA stars to the game world, but Wm. Blake’s world to all the rest ]
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    My curiosity today leads me to compare two “represented” universes, each of them pretty much guaranteed — not that I place great credence in guarantees these days — to blow my mind or at least my socks off, and / or to quake my universe!

    SPEC DQ photo & game 02

    Here, to assist you in making your own comparison, are two text descriptions of the space photo (upper panel) and the game designs (lower):

    SPEC DQ photo & game 01

    My own feeling is that both are less awesome than their respective write-ups suggest: the NASA photo because it’s “awesomeness claim” is purely quantitative, whereas the universe is qualitative first and quantitative second; and the game images because they’re pale pastel imitations of our own world — fantastic, yes, but far from imaginative, to use the terminology Coleridge proposed.

    Sources:

  • Joe Martino, NASA Has Released The Largest Picture Ever Taken. It Will Rock Your Universe
  • Raffi Khatchadourian, World Without End: Creating a full-scale digital cosmos
  • **

    To give us a sense of proportion — one that includes both qualitative and quantitative elements — here are some other images which, along with the ones from NASA and the game, give you a somewhat wider “range of universes” to consider — all of them in fact contained in the one we blog and read in:

    SPEC DQ Blake Lange

    The first pair shows two humanly-generated images, one by the visionary artist and poet William Blake, the other by the documentary photographer Dorothea Lange. Realism, meet mythic imagination.

    The second pair — aha! — shows two desert sports: one almost archaic in its brutality, the other something akin to post-modern. In the upper panel we glimpse the Afghan national sport of Bukashi, in which the headless carcass of a goat is captured and carried to the goal by terrifying horsemen; in the lower, one of the robot jockeys who have replaced child-jockeys in the camel-racing of Dubai.

    SPEC DQ buzkashi robot camel jockey

    Sources:

  • William Blake, Jacob’s Ladder
  • Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother

  • L Lukasz, “BUZKASHI” in Mazar-e Sharif
  • Avax News, Robots replace Child Jockeys
  • **

    But let’s be fair to the two first screenshots at the top of the page. Here are the respective videos of the NASA Andromeda megapicture and the Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky for you to consider on their merits —

    — remember: there’s no accounting for tastes.. not even mine own.

    DoubleQuote by Mars McDonald

    Friday, May 29th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — a single photo DQ by my artist / photographer friend Mars ]
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    Mars McDonald DQ

    Elegant.

    It’s not quite Easter yet (for the Orthodox)

    Saturday, April 11th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — so I trust you’ll forgive me posting a couple of stunning movie crucifixion images ]
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    My first image comes rom the forthcoming Ernst Haas book, On Set, and features his sbehind-the-scenes shot of the crucifixion in The Greatest Stiry Ever Told:

    On Set crucifixion Haas

    The second image turned up while I was researching the Armednian Genocide for a forthcoming article. It’s taken from a 1919 documentary, Auction of Souls, and it brings crucifixion into the twentieth century:

    Crucifixion 2 Armenian Genocide

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    For crucifixion in antiquity, see A Tomb in Jerusalem Reveals the History of Crucifixion and Roman Crucifixion Methods:

    Examination of Yehohanan’s bones showed one of the many Roman crucifixion methods. Both of his feet had been nailed together to the cross with a wooden plaque while his legs were bent to one side. His arm bones revealed scratches where the nails had passed between. Both legs were badly fractured, most likely from a crushing blow meant to end his suffering and bring about a faster death. Yehohanan was probably a political dissident against Roman oppression. In death his bones have helped fill in gaps in the history of crucifixion.

    Crucifixion in the Qur’an is one of several severe “hudud” punishments {Q 5.32-34):

    Therefore We prescribed for the Children of Israel that whoso slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the land, shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether; and whoso gives life to a soul, shall be as if he ha given life to mankind altogether. Our Messengers have already come to them with the clear signs; then many of them thereafter commit excesses in the earth. This is the recompense of those who fight against God and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement, except for such as repent, before you have power over them. So know you that God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

    The Qur’an also states that Jesus was not crucified (q 4.157):

    And for their [the Jews] saying, ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God’ — yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them.

    It should be noted that this suggestion is similar to that in the (Gnostic) Acts of John, #97:

    I, then, when I saw him suffer, did not even abide by his suffering, but fled unto the Mount of Olives, weeping at that which had befallen. And when he was crucified on the Friday, at the sixth hour of the day, darkness came upon all the earth. And my Lord standing in the midst of the cave and enlightening it, said: John, unto the multitude below in Jerusalem I am being crucified and pierced with lances and reeds, and gall and vinegar is given me to drink. But unto thee I speak, and what I speak hear thou. I put it into thy mind to come up into this mountain, that thou mightest hear those things which it behoveth a disciple to learn from his teacher and a man from his God.

    For crucifixions today, we must turn to the Islamic State. A Fox News report noted that while “IS crucifixion” photos have been circulating, what is meant by crucifixion here may not be what we assume it means:

    The series of photographs show different men bound to crosses in what appears to be a public square area, though it could not be independently confirmed that the subjects were dead or, if they were, by what means the executions had been carried out. The pictures do not show any apparent signs of the men nailed to a cross, nor are there any obvious, visible signs of fatal wounds.

    crucifixion Fox

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    Plenty of room for thought herein.

    Tomorrow: Christos aneste!


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