None Of The Above

by zunguzungu

Because this caught my eye instead. The left from Colin Pantall’s blog (thanks Drew!) and the right from Errol Morris’ great reading of Susan Sontag’s reading of Roger Fenton’s photographic reading of the Crimean war:


I’ve mashed two descriptions of the two pictures into one.

Where have all the people gone? You could not walk without treading upon them. They can’t all be in the Mall, because if there are pictures of the Mall, that’ll be empty too, and the sight passed all imagination. The landscape is inhabited only by cannonballs–so plentiful that they first appear to be rocks–that stand in for the human casualties on the battlefield. They’re not under the electricity pylons because there’s never anyone there. Either the photographer has a nasty smell about him or the absence of people is very deliberate; danger forced him to retreat back up the road, where he created this image. To avoid offending Victorian sensibilities, Fenton refrained from photographing the dead and wounded. Unpopulated landscapes become a synonym for a visual fascism, a way of seeing that makes people invisible and removes them from the interplay of the environmental, social and economic equations that make a place what it is.