Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
June 13, 2007

It’s Not A Hand Gun, It’s Military: Fleet Week #3

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(click for full size)

Girls and guns. Kids and guns. Teens, sex and guns.

Today, I offer the last in a series of posts featuring images by photojournalist Nina Berman of this year’s Fleet Week naval extravaganza in NYC.

In the first post, I noted the public’s unremarkable response to American militarism and the public display of weaponry.  In the second post, I focused on military recruitment and race.  Today, I’m interested in a more narrow aspect of these gun-saturated images, which is the prevalence of hand guns in these exhibitions.

I was interested in how these three images, all emphasizing the hand gun, have a slightly different pull.  In image #1, are we witnessing a loss of innocence, or, in our violence-saturated culture, simply the lack of it?  In #2, factoring those facial expressions; the girl’s “girlish” and incredible “Go Nuts” top; the face paint (kids love face paint); and the fingers on the triggers, I’m wondering, is this the new cover of the American family album?  And, in #3, besides the appeal to gangster chic, there is no escaping the double entendre of “a boy’s equipment.”

Granted, the military came to NY for a (PR) show of hardware.  And who could deny that the small arms weapon is a necessary implement in any military arsenal.  What I’m curious about, however, is how — just weeks after the Virginia Tech shootings (and the lost opportunity to have a public debate about hand guns) — neither the military, the police, nor the anti-gun Mayor seemed to have much reservation about discouraging the public (no just looking?), and especially, children, from getting their hands on a piece.

>>If you have questions or comments for Nina, she is available to answer in the discussion thread<<

Other Fleet Week posts:

Asking Questions About America: Fleet Week #1

Black Boys With Guns: Fleet Week #2

Nina Berman website.

Nina’s Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq website/purchase

(image: Nina Berman/Redux. NYC, New York, May 25, 2007.  Used by permission)

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