April 29, 2005

GQ: Iraq Edition


I’m distracted.

Looking at this picture, I would typically dig into the contrast between the carriage, and the wall, and the palm trees; ponder the effect of the blue; think about the regal, ornate vehicular details compared to the scruffy plant, the sad barbed wire fence, and the dirt; analyze the politics of the soldier and the carriage; consider why Warrant Officer McKinney is posing with his gun; and speculate about what the carriage is attached to.

But instead, I find myself wondering what these elements mean considering that they are featured in GQ.

Besides that, I’m trying to look at this photo as taken by a soldier for his own use.  And, I’m also consider the shot as just one in a GQ photo gallery (#19 out of 30) of other shots by soldiers for their scrapbooks. 

I can get started thinking about this one guy in this one carriage, but I keep mixing it up with impressions from the other shots in the slide show.  I’ll start looking at those two blue seats, for example, but then I’ll find myself thinking about the guy taking the bath with the Bud cans on the deck of the Harry Truman; or the guy in the cargo container, knee-deep in money, tossing bills in the air; or the guy rolling inside the giant tire; or the guy sleeping on the cot beside the wall full of pin-ups; or the guy with his big gun posing in front of the cheap, but voluptuous painting of nudes. 

The specific pictures I’m recalling from the photo gallery are not the best shots or the most interesting shots, they are the guy shots.  And GQ is a guy magazine.  And, ultimately, war is a guy thing.  That’s what I keep looking at.

(GQ Magazine “Life During Wartime” portfolio here.)

(image: Brenton McKinneyApril 2003 in men.style.com/gq)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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