Martin Parr

Above: A portrait of photographer Martin Parr. Credit: Luzziadell.

They Came from Nowhere

Can the much discussed (Virilio, Baudrillard, Chomsky, etc.) tactics of the terror cell/guerrilla unit and/or its legal state-sponsored mirror-image, the special-forces unit, be related back to photography? The specific tactics of both the legal and illegal versions of this type of fighting force are very similar: the unit is hyper-mobile; any target comes under attack using surprise or unexpectedness; no all-out confrontations; missions are limited in scope and any engagement of an enemy often has the format of a skirmish; the unit's movement is stealthy and habitually utilizes the cover of darkness; such soldiers are feared by the enemy for their being ghost-like or apparition-like (i.e., they take on supernatural or super-human qualities).

Given these parameters, the type of photographer who comes to mind is, of course, the paparazzo, the photographer of candid celebrity pictures: feared by the stars he arrives with great stealth and surprises his subjects with an always-unexpected shooting. But, if we look over the parameters again do any specific names come to mind? The first and principal name here has to be Weegee the Famous--the list describes his "attack" perfectly. And another? What about Parr the Famous. Once again the list of attributes describes Martin's practice and approach rather well.

(19 November 2018)