Monday, October 1, 2012

Shoot Film Not Bullets




If the Treatise of Versalles was signed to bring an end WW1,  how in blue blazes did a Cuban Restaurant named Versalles on Calle Ocho become ground zero for a rumba beat in favor of going all out War On Cuba.


For casual readers, the backstory is the Cuban-American Saga of Disillusion that is stirred into each super-sweet coffee brewed at Versalles, disillusion woven into every idle conversations spoken in Little Havana and snapshot taken in Moral Gables. For the past 50 years in Miami the cuban political exile experience is edified in the Freedom Tower, our beacon of hope downtown. Recently beautified but still bewitched the Ellis Island of the swamp was also affectionately called Tyrone Power...


But the point of this post is to focus on the task of documenting the dynamics of conflict in past decades.  Not too long ago film was king and to get that shot a photographer had to focused on the technical craft and, of course the chemistry.  It was a messy Weegeean affair but worth the trouble as each contact sheet became the proof that only photography can deliver.  In the field of war photojournalism and cuban-american nostalgia, Jim Nickless is a celebrated guy.  


Jim Nickless gets five stars from me.  Not because he was embedded with the 'freedom fighters" of the infamous botched Bay of Pigs invasion but because he has kept a very professional and unbiased view of the Cuban Revolution.  To put it mildly Nickless today is seasoned to perfection.  The appointer chronicler of an impassioned cadre of ex-patriots,  Nickless could not go wrong having the only cameras on site at the remote jungles and training camps and beachheads of that tragic fateful honorable push to regain Cuba from the clutches of communistic castro.


The vintage photos speak for themselves, romantic in black and white, violent with the musk of bearded rebels and gunpowder.


Of great photographers and lucky ducks, I got a visit from Jim Nickless and 305 legend, Mark Diamond with ladyfriend for the 3-D Show at Swampspace Gallery.


Today the ratio of cameras to shutter-bugs is much changed from 1960. Practically everyone is a photographer a publisher and a critic.  Cameras have become so ubiquitous the only frontier left may be the outer reaches of the inner mind and its forbidden images.


Today military camps are the size of cities,  such as this fine spread somewhere in Afghanistan.


War correspondence is a circus of outrage as seen in the protests of FEMEN in eastern Europe.


Boys become warriors in the Middle East were guns sell like corn-dogs at a county fair here.


There is no place where there is no camera. But sadly there is no microphone for Pussy Riot in Moscow.


Politicos want us to think they know the One and Only Way Forward.
But for every conflict there is resolution if we take a clue from one principal of photographic truth.  Pictures lie.


Politicians give us the thumbs up and that's all very nice from behind bullet-proof glass.


But it's the ratt-tat-tat of machine guns and the glorification of war that I give a thumbs down to.

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