May 29, 2014

Another Photo from Isla Vista Saturday: Murder, and a Woman on Skateboard

I don’t know if this is a companion to yesterday’s post or not. The photo, taken down the street from the spot where the Santa Barbara gunman, Elliot Rodger, took his life, was one of the most widely publish photos of the events on Saturday. The caption:

A woman rides her skateboard past the scene of a shooting on Saturday in Isla Vista, Calif. A drive-by shooter went on a rampage near a Santa Barbara university campus that left seven people dead, including the attacker, and others wounded, authorities said Saturday.

What I’m wondering is, why was this photo so popular and in what way does it relate to the story?

Does this photo reflect how the presence of all these young women in this college town literally drove the young man mad?

Does it stereotype California, or Santa Barbara, or college life, or youth culture in framing trauma and tragedy as just a momentary background disturbance?

Or, playing on the unconscious power of a photo to engage the imagination, is she the one who got away?

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(photo: Jae C. Hong/AP)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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