June 14, 2009

In the Gutter

Iran protests1.jpg

I just left the Look3 Photo Festival in Charlottesville a couple hours ago.

It was a great opportunity to look at a tremendous number of pictures in a charming (and refreshingly slow-paced) environment, listen to “rock star,” established, and rising photographers, and enjoy a warm welcome into what was essentially an extended family reunion of the most talented photojournalists, social/documentary and art photographers.

Over the next few days, I hope to tweet about the work I found most powerful and relevant to our mission here. It might take some digging, though, because the collection of multimedia pieces exhibited and shown at the festival aren’t assembled online in any one place (at least, as far as I know).

Also, I owe a big thanks to Cara Finnegan for taking over while I was gone, and doing it so ably. I enjoyed reading her and, from the traffic and comments, apparently you did too. (I’m planning to ask her if she’ll keep posting over the summer and I hope she’ll say yes.)

Finally, because serious events always seems to occur when I step out, I’m hoping to focus on the crisis in Iran over the next few days, as well as pick up the rhythm on domestic terrorism having also missed the shooting at the Holocaust Memorial.

Anyway, one thing at a time. For this evening, I wanted to offer you this image fresh from Tehran. There are a lot of powerful photos coming across the newswire right now representing the tension — even, perhaps, the tearing of the social fabric — between the fundamentalists and the reformers. This image really struck me, not just for the physical divide and the palpable sense of threat but for the heightened vulnerability of liberally-minded women in light of the controversial election results and the “defiance” that preceded it.

(Caption below. Notice, by the way, that no photographer was identified.)

(10:50 pm EST – slightly edited)

(image: Stringer/Reuters. caption: A man with a cane gestures towards a woman on the ground during protests in central Tehran June 14, 2009. Defeated candidate Mirhossein Mousavi demanded Sunday that Iran’s presidential election be annulled and urged more protests, while tens of thousands of people hailed the victory of the hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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