I harbour the fondest memories of discount department stores, from purchasing a 1989 Christmas tree in the parking lot, to my first (adultish) set of co-habitational bed sheets. Most of these discount franchises have shut down in lieu of Walmart’s world domination; biway, Woolworths, Simpon’s,…
"The Gorgon Stare is not vulnerable to being photographed, as was made brutally clear by the targeted assassination of Reuter’s photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen by a US Apache helicopter in 2007, seen in a video later posted to Wikileaks (Iraq War Diaries). The identification of Namir’s camera as a Rocket Propelled Grenade was deemed enough to justify the attack both before and after the full story was known. There’s a contradiction here. The Gorgon famously killed her victims by looking at them, turning them to stone. Equally famously, although apparently not to the military, Perseus killed the Gorgon by holding up a shiny shield so that she saw her own reflection and killed herself. One could say that this was the first photograph.
So it’s intriguing to consider that perhaps the most noticeable innovation in the vernacular photography boom - consider that 478 billion photographs were estimated to have been taken in 2008 - is the self-portrait. Taken by web-cameras, timers or simply by holding the camera at arm’s length and checking the results until a good one is obtained, the self-portrait is the counter to the Gorgon Stare. It asserts presence, the right to be seen and the right to look. I would call the genre ‘photograffiti’. By this I mean that unlike the photograph, with its claim to be a pencil of nature, photograffiti is human made. It creates a mark that is not necessarily knowable to the human and machine intelligences trying to contain the global populace… “
- Nicholas Mirzoeff, from foam Magazine’s “What’s Next” supplement.