You can’t make this stuff up. I’m sure that late night television will have a field day with this insanity. We have argued quite seriously in previous blogs that walls don’t work. History has proven this. If a wall on our southern border were to be constructed it would soon be breached one way or another so the Administration would have to take further measures. Perhaps guard towers with machine guns? How about a mine field? Why stop there? Create a demilitarized zone and thence a buffer zone. The absurdity is the product of disturbed thinking. The Statue of Liberty would be weeping if it is not already. This is not who we are as a people.
Approximately 15 miles southwest of Montpellier, France along the Mediterranean coast is Sete. The scene, “Sete, France (1968)“, screams French fishing village, and is easily identifiable as such as would be a photo of the Eiffel Tower. An invisible, diagonal line draws attention to the interaction between the dock worker on the left of the photo and the two men on the right. A classic photo in any conversation. The fact that these men are seen in primarily silhouette adds to the mystery of the scene.
In the film “Amistad” (2007) the Lomboko slave fortress located in modern day Sierra Leone played a major role. It was not the only trading post used by slavers in those times. Shown in this blog is “The Slave Fortress: Elmina Castle” (July 2009). It is located in the city of Elmina, Ghana. Worldwide visitors come to pay homage and to lay wreaths. Note the depiction of a skull in the upper left corner of the photo. Visitors are entering the dungeons where slaves were held. Let us not forget the role played by Jamestown in 1619 on this 400th anniversary. For a more complete understanding of the history and the role played by Elmina Castle see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmina_Castle.
And these are the people that we’re supposed to be afraid of, the “invaders”? Are you kidding me? You can’t be serious. The United States was built by immigrants, refugees and those who came here unwilling in chains. Historically, the first generation has more difficulty in assimilating than their children and their children’s children. Eventually there is no longer any collecitve memory of the ancestral homeland. New arrivals, by whatever means they come here, need “stuff” as they arrive basically with their clothes on their backs. An economic argument against the newcomers fails as they will need jobs, housing, food, clothing, cars, cell phones, toothpaste, etc. By any measure this is win-win for retailers. They will learn the language and become citizens. They will serve in the military. And they will also vote. Our history shows that all newcomers face discrimination at first. Are we to turn away Central American refugees, and that is exactly what they are, as Jews were turned away from entering the U.S. during Hitler’s Germany? What kind of people are we? We allow children to be separated from their parents in refugee camps? No country operates refugee camps in that way be it Turkey, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia or anywhere else. The only example that comes to mind where this was done was in Nazi Germany. Incremental attacks on various segments of the population, particularly Jews, was the policy of Nazi Germany. The Nuremberg Laws institutionalized the persecution of Jews which became legal under German law. May I suggest that you read your history books of events of the 20th century in particular and make the appropriate analogy to our current situation.
Our photo in this blog is “Los Guatemaltecos (The Guatemalans)“; Chichicastenango, Guatemala (July 1936).
DPI’s contribution to the conversation on this film:
Gust Avrakotos: There’s a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse…and everybody in the village says, “how wonderful. The boy got a horse.” And the Zen master says, “we’ll see.” Two years later the boy falls off the horse breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, “How terrible.” And the Zen master says, “We’ll see.” Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight …except the boy can’t because his legs all messed up, and everybody in the village says, “How wonderful.”
Charlie Wilson: Now the Zen master says, “We’ll see.”
You have to see the film. Our photo is “Mongol Horse and Yurt“; Mongolia (July 13, 1987). “It ain’t over till it’s over.” –Yogi Berra
Diagonal lines are good. Horizontal and to a lesser extent vertical lines are bad by comparison. By this we mean that in photography, diagonal lines draw the viewer’s attention into the image creating a dynamic and tension element into an otherwise staid photograph.
This is why photos lacking diagonal lines do not move our subconscious to the same degree and are, in effect, boring by comparison. Take a look at the lead photo here: “Refugees: Rebuilding After Typhoon Mary“; Hong Kong (June 15, 1960). The toddler in the left foreground is a plus, but see how many vertical lines you can find in this photo. In the background is Victoria Peak. See: Typhoon Mary.
Lest we forget. Lead photo is called “Fortress Europa“, Normandy, France (1958). Today, a tourist attraction. Seen below is “Colleville“; Colleville-sur-Mer, France (1958), the American military cemetery. Freedom is not free.
At first glance this scene might appear to be taken right out of a Cold War spy movie (Cologne On The Rhine – Köln Am Rhine). Two men meeting by the Rhine river in sight of the Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany. Maybe they are about to make some sort of an exchange?
At first glance you may not realize the significance of this image. We see a man on a staircase overlooking a railing. Only when we discover that the location is San Sebastián, Spain does the picture become clearer. This is Basque Country and the Basques are treated like second class citizens. Recently, the Basques have voted for independence only to be denied once again by the ruling Spanish government. When we observe the poverty surrounding the man in this image, “The Basques” c.1933, we begin to understand the reason for the Basque separatist movement.
To close out our blogs for February we bring you a February event from the past. Here is something that you will not see too often. The eruption of Eldfell Volcano on an island off the southwest coast of Iceland bought out firemen in a “Lava Cooling Operation“; Heimaey, Iceland (February 7, 1973) in an attempt to try and stem the flow of the threatening lava. DPI pays homage to the great, Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado as we believe that this photo represents his style of work. In this photo firemen are spraying seawater on the steaming lava.