Thought I would share one of my early critiques from my college corse now it's coming to the end of the year.
Title: Action Half Life
The collaborative work by the four photographers show a futuristic game like battle scene with children a soldiers. The background in this image is a scarce dessert with cold harsh towers giving the children an appearance of abandonment or even isolation. It seems to give a cold uncaring feel to the image as a whole, yet there is a warm blue sky and warm sand reminiscent of a beach and maybe of happy childhood times. There is also a sense that the children are like drones just willingly battling on without purpose or a thought to who they are fighting. There are no enemies in this image but the children are reacting to something that isn't there, looking for something or standing back in a stance that looks like instinct. The expressions on the children's faces are almost blank and cold. They all wear the same matching white outfits that look clinical, it looks like the children were made in batches manufactured from a factory with one purpose and that seems to be war.
There is a strong political message that these photographers are trying to convey, the idea that war is a child's game played by governments to get what they want, but disconnected from the reality of what war is. Fighting a non-existent enemy to gain something paid with the currency of innocence and death. A reference from the book ' Art Photography now’ which asks the questions we all ask when we see this image.
" The interesting question is: with whom are the children fighting? The answer is another question: with whom is the contemporary warrior fighting? Take a modern pilot, looking at the display and pushing the buttons of high-tech weapons; he is isolated from the real enemy, the blood and the dirtiness of war" (Susan Bright, revised and expanded edition, p89)
Is war something that has become detached, emotionless and sanitised? A way in which governments and nations now get what they want, no longer seeing the devastation left behind by war. There is a very strong emotional message that this image portrays and by the use of children the topics of unjust and innocence are clearly overlapped.
there is also another clear message or even question asked within this image. The photographers clearly reference computer games by the use of computer generated weapons reminiscent of computer games within the retail market, and with the use of children is it asking about the gaming industry or modern play and its impact upon our children. We allow our children within modern society to play computer games which are violent and that are in alternative realities to there own, we as a culture do not consider the possible impact it could have on future generations. Are our children learning to disconnect from reality? Clearly this is seen in the image by the children's reaction to the non-existent force and there almost blank expressions within their faces. Another question that can be asked from this, are we taking the ability to learn and socialise through taking away basic play and expecting them to suddenly appear into adulthood? And are we as a society or as parents not dealing with these issues because we may not like the answer?
The photographers put a lot of time into what they wanted to portray, through careful planning and using sketches to help them plan their composition, and finding or computer generating props that look futuristic. These four photographers didn't go looking for the image they wanted but made it for themselves knowing what response they wanted from their image, and knowing what message they wanted to send. In this image they take an unrealistic scene that isn't part of reality and make the underlying message a hard reality.
I like this image not only for the technical skill and effort that has gone into making this image, but for the messages it sends or asks. I think this relates to my ideas or thoughts on this project for the contrasting ideas in its context, the idea of two opinions or ideals.