Saturday, April 28, 2007

Great photo stuff at the MoA

Portrait of HUYNH THANH MY
Mekong Delta, Vietnam, 1965
The museum downtown is pretty much all photography right now. Last night they had an opening for a show called Requiem, consisting entirely of photos of the Vietnam war taken by correspondents who were killed there. I'd forgotten that Capa stepped on a mine there. They had prints of the last two frames he ever shot, one each from the B&W and color cameras he was carrying at the time. One of them shows the dike where that he was about to climb and find the mine that killed him. It's an amazing show and you realize that if it weren't for the insane journalists who shot nothing but photographs, the war simply wouldn't even exist for most people.

Capa's last B&W frame
The opening included an hour talk and slide show by a veteran who had no real connection to the images in the exhibition, but provided you with one more thread of tragedy to the narrative of Vietnam that I have pieced together in my head. It kills me to realize that all 3,000,000 (not sure about that number) of the men who served there could give a similar but unique show.

It got political, of course, but with a twist. Usually, when people invoke Vietnam in reference to Iraq, it's to argue that Iraq is a mess, unwinnable, a bad idea to start with. The speaker we heard did the opposite: to him, and he's not alone in this, Vietnam was a loss because we left "before the job was done." So, when he said that Iraq was just like Vietnam, he was trying to argue that we should not make the mistake of leaving before we have "won." That was a little hard for me to take, but you can't raise your hand and argue with a veteran. I'm a veteran of the Boy Scouts, but that doesn't carry the same weight. But when he pointed out how politicians back then used "Communism" the same way today's say "Terrorism" to justify foreign interventions, I was thinking "wow, he's going to point out the emptiness of the rhetoric in front of this conservative crowd," but I was wrong; to him, these were legitimate, imminent threats that could only be resolved with force and the parallel, to him, suggested that we stick with things. I dunno.

Holga by Jarrid Spicer
This picture is from the other show going on there, devoted to the Holga, Diana, etc. Jarrid's were probably my favorite there, and made me want to glue my old Arrow back together. I found some old prints I made with it, including some from up in Michigan during a winter about ten years ago and they still look cool to me. I wonder if Jarrid sells prints.

It's beautiful out. I love living in a place that has seasons. We're going to get C a new mountain bike today so I might wait until next year to get a new road bike. I like my Lemond a lot still. Thinking this summer I'll plant, in addition to bamboo, a row of Hydrangea next to the neighbor's.


Ryan said...

I'll definitely be checking this out.

By the way, I posted your portrait. Check it out.

Mr. Hill said...

nice, but I told you that shooting that with a 28 would make our noses look big.