18 November 2010

"Men with Guns..."

A Sri Lankan policeman keeps an eye on traffic in downtown Colombo, Sri Lanka in August 1997. © Chet Gordon/THE IMAGE WORKS

One of the many reoccurring themes throughout my career continues to be photographing "Men w/ Guns..."

Sometimes it seems that some of these themes and mindsets for me are almost embedded within the subconscious if you will. This by no means is an attempt to make a political statement about the work, nor is it a highlight of those that work with weaponry everyday. It's just that I've been around weapons for a long, long time, beginning first in the military, on the streets with law enforcement personnel, and occasionally even with the bad guys. I have a great respect for those that are trained to use them correctly. (Keywords: Training and Correctly.) What always boggles my mind while on an international trip and in a foreign culture is how a lot of societies are accustomed to armed individuals weaved right into their daily lives... Weapons on the street make for good images, and I don't think there's any doubt about that, but they also tell a lot about how governments and the powers that be sort of "oversee" their populations.

I am always in awe how a population can readily accept the militarization of their communities, and probably just as harrowing - their acceptance of street violence & death, which is predominately the result of the immediate availability of firearms to the general population.
This post will be a look at how I've seen "Men w/ Guns..." through the years... ~cg.

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