January 21, 2011

Deployed At the Gun Show

This is one of my favorite shots (pics?) from the Las Vegas “Shot Show,” which drew scads of media this week in the aftermath of the Giffords shooting.

On one level, it’s an easy photo, a set-up: your businessman-type, perhaps weekend warrior, caught side-by-side with the full-sized, real-life soldier (life size, or larger!) sporting a similar piece of smokin’ hardware.  Still, the juxtaposition comes highly-charged in the way the silver-framed war scene serves as fuel for the match of the inner-boy’s fantasy of being a soldier and making war.

So, whilst the businessman fixes his gaze up and away from the poster, we’re all well familiar with how a photograph-inside-a-photograph like this also plays like a thought bubble or a split-screen or a dream window suggesting a fantasy inside a man’s mind. Knowing that a show like this is a fantasy space already, you can’t look at this image of the real man, and the guy behind him (really just two fingers and a gun) and the guy behind him, and the guy with the gut in the aisle behind him, without seeing the picture as one epic, on-the-move, alter-ego.

(photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images. caption: Alan Patterson of Tennessee tries out a rifle scope next to a military poster at the Leupold Tactical Optics booth at the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s 33rd annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show at the Sands Expo and Convention Center January 18, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona on January 8 that killed six people and injured 13 people, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), has sparked debate about gun laws in the media and Congress.)

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Michael Shaw
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