Photo by Jaber al-Helo (AP), from an article at Gawker.
It’s just a fact of life that the majority of history is forever lost for those outside the story to the memory and experiences of those humans who have lived it. It’s why there really is no such thing as objectivity when it comes to the human historical narrative – it’s always someone’s point of view.
I look at the above photo by Jaber al-Helo and am at once astonished and anxious, amazed and fearful of the fate of the man in the picture. It’s as if he’s finally had enough of the battle and decides to face his fate in the open and in the middle of obvious enemy fire.
I also wonder about the photographer and where he must have been situated to have been able to take this shot. I fear for his fate as well and what it must take to be a journalist in Syria right now.
I live in such relative comfort and without fear – so much so that I’ve made up (or they’ve been made up for me) bogeymen and nightmares to make me feel like I’m part of the rest of the human race. The reality I guess is that I doubt that I really am and as I grow older, the more comfortable I am with that.
Nations, religions, sects, regions, etc. fight wars for whatever reason they fight wars. Me, I fight my growing gut/apathy/laziness and I am assured that I’m participating in the human race – if sleeping through it is participation. The truth is, I’m too comfortable and not in any immediate danger to do anything about it.
But seeing photographs like the one above brings reality clear as a bell and resoundingly so, back into my life. It’s what true photographic journalism should do – wake up the apathetic, if only for a moment.
Maybe something is starting, maybe it isn’t. Bottom line is, I would love to be involved in the human race as a photographer. I guess it starts where I am and goes forward from there.