This photo plays perceptual tricks in the same way the New Years photo we posted of a woman tossing confetti doesn’t instantly stand out as a year-end celebration on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. In this case, the show is no celebration. Instead, the image — included in a Big Picture “year in photos” gallery — was taken in October and captures the tactical use of fireworks against Italian riot police to protest the opening of a garbage dump near Mount Vesuvius.
I like it for capturing the love affair with spectacle, and the age old passion for pretty pictures, in spite of what the real hell is about. So POW! Pop! Ka-Boom! Let the year in politics begin!
(photo: Roberto Solomone/AFP/Getty)