Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Gun Show

I thought for a long time about what my new project was going to be.  And for months (literally) I thought I had it.  "Helping Hands" was what I was going to call it and the idea was to try and get pictures of exactly that: hands in any helping capacity.  It seemed like a workable theme if not all that exciting--nauseatingly uplifting, as a matter-of-fact.  Yes, there were going to be some practical barriers that I was going to have to endure, but I was prepared for that.  I told a few friends.  I started taking pictures to feel it out.  I even had a rough-draft in my head for the blog entry introducing it.  I was that committed to the theme. 

But about a week before the end of my last project, I had an inspiration.  


I really wanted to continue working with commentary on American culture, and guns are as ingrained in our fabric as apple pie and football.  Let's be clear here:  I hate guns.  I do not own one, do not have any intention of owning one, do not interpret the second amendment as giving the right of private citizens to own one (that little word "militia" you see), do not feel that we are a safer country because we allow private citizens to own them, and do not have any kind of desire to change my perspective on the matter. 

And yet...

I find the thought of focusing a camera lens on them for the next year to be wholly fascinating.  Be mindful that this is the theme, and not every picture will have a gun per se.  But I do want to get some shots of people holding them, which means I'm going to have to eventually knock on some Facebook doors (I already have three people in mind).  I suppose I could go up to random strangers and ask if they're packing and then explain my reasoning for wanting their picture ("It's for art!").  But that could very well get me shot, which would sort of defeat the purpose.  

What this series of photos will NOT contain are gunshot wounds from any of the ERs where I work. For one thing, I don't see them all that often, and when I do they're generally covered in gauze and not very gory.  Secondly, I don't do gore. Thirdly, there's this thing called HIPAA in place, and posting such photos here would get me canned.  Call me silly, but I'm not into getting canned.  I kinda like my job. 

I will also not prosyletize on any of my entries...

Say you: You lie!  LIE!  
Say me: I don't!  

I'm letting my feelings be known here.  I think the pictures will speak for themselves.  There will be a Flickr stream eventually (I need pictures for it first, of course).  You can go here for my self-imposed rules.  I'll post the first picture on Monday, September fifth and will wrap up the project Labor Day weekend 2012.  

Hope you'll come along for the ride.  But I won't shoot you if you don't.  Stab, perhaps, but not shoot. -> 


Carolyn (from C*n*d*) said...

Okay, my stomach is turning with just reading about the project. If I kill my work computer because I've tossed up my cookies all over it half way through the project, on your head be it. (Is this some, if I research something I hate I might understand it better type project?)

But please tell us more about this militia and the second amendment bit.

sarahbb said...

I'm fascinated by this idea. I'm with you re: the hatred of guns and have no idea where I'd even find one. I'm so disconnected from them (and from people who own them, I guess?) that I'm curious about how you're going to do this and excited to see how it unfolds. Very interesting!

Tanya said...

Carolyn: Art is supposed to be provocative, no? I wanted something that would challenge me and get me out of my comfort zone. If guns aren't it, I don't know what is.

As for the 2nd amendment: here in the states we have what's called a Bill of Rights attached to our Constitution. As it sounds, it lays out our rights as citizens of the country. The first amendment gives us our basic freedoms: speech, assembly, relgion, press, petition. The 2nd amendment is short and awkwardly worded: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

This amendment was written back at the end of the 18th century when each state was protecting its own borders. Gun opponents interpret it as giving permission for people in MILITIAS to bear arms. Gun advocates interpret the words as giving individuals the right to bear arms. Up until recently, the opponents had the Supreme Court on our side. But they made a ruling in a Washington DC case in 2008 that stated it's an individual's right to bear arms for self defense. It will be a slippery slope from here on out.

Sarah: Glad you're here! I've been looking for your blog recently. So good to see you. =)

Carolyn (from C*n*d*) said...

Thanks for the education. I knew about the basics, of course (living so close to the States, we get some information by osmosis over the boarder) but not the specifics. Glad it's your comfort zone not mine!