Above: Google Headquarters in California. Credit: Fair use.

FAANG and the Facade

On the subject of the photo-journalist, Brecht, Walter Benjamin, and J.G. Ballard all agreed: he or she is well-intentioned but is all-too-often and all-too-easily obstructed, frustrated, thwarted and blocked by the corporate facade. The corporate exterior is literally a front for a company. It is an effective barrier. Those on the outside are allowed to know nothing about what goes on on the factory floor, in the design studio, or in the boardroom.

The leftist social-justice orientated photographer may wish to use his or her camera to tell the truth about what goes on inside a large company, but unfortunately does not stand a chance. (The intention is a rather naive one.) He or she arrives at the corporate lobby and finds himself-herself to be an unwelcome visitor--and is treated as a security threat, a trespasser, or a vengeful lunatic.

So much for good intentions. Outsiders are not privy to what is actually going in the large companies even though decisions taken affect the lives of billions of ordinary people. (Those on the inside are equally stymied by the obligation to sign non-disclosure agreements upon commencement of employment.)

For Brecht, the solution to being hindered and impeded this way is to set-up and invent the likely reality of what is going on inside via fictionalized vignettes. Another option is for the well-intentioned leftist to gain access to the subject in a clandestine way by adopting the strategies of espionage, counter-intelligence, and the undercover detective.

(31 January 2019)