As horrified we all were by 911, there was a tiny bit of comfort that the monsters behind it were not like us. They were mad men, radical religious extremists far away on the other side of the world.
I agree with most of the arguments from those who say that putting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine is in poor taste. I wonder however if it is the cover that bothers people so much or the fact that Dzhokhar is not ugly. We seem to like our monsters ugly, makes it easier to accept, easier to spot them, easier to mentally distance them from ourselves. Seems to me, that although they never made the cover of RS, the Sandy Hook and Batman theatre shooters were on the covers of almost every newspaper and splashed across the screen at nausea after their hideous crimes. Maybe the fact they both had sort of a crazed look made it easier to swallow.
Now I want to be clear, I am not comparing the behaviour of acting out celebrities and terrorists. But sadly, in America, bad behaviour is what gets you attention. Whether it be simply acting stupid, acting out addictions publically, getting drunk, wrecking your car or in more extreme cases murder. OJ anyone? My feelings toward this cover are about the same as my feelings about Oprah just making a two million dollar deal with Lindsay Lohan. Crimes of course are different, but the profiting from pain theory is about the same. Some of the most talented entertainers in the world, singers Groban and Streisand, actors Streep, DiNero and Day Lewis rarely make the covers of magazines. Oprah's biggest interviews last year were not Politian's or award winning actors, but Whitney Houston's daughter and The Kardashians. Matthew Perry was not on last week's People Magazine because of his incredible post Friends television career?
The outrage rings a bit hypocritical, as any attention, including the cover is a form of promotion for the magazine. Do all the protestors blogging, tweeting and publically posting their outrage about this cover understand all they are doing is bringing more attention, and more dollars, to the magazine? I don't know about you but I have not bought a copy of RS in years, and had no intention of starting with this one... but after all the attention....
You don't reward bad behaviour with attention, you ignore it. Acting out little kids don't get parties, they get time-outs. Why is it that we don't seem to understand this as adults? As much as I loath the faux celebrity status that so many people like Paris Hilton, The Gosslin and Kardashian's have been able to obtain, the real responsibility for their success sits directly with everyone who financially supports them by watching and buying the magazines with them on the cover. If people don't want criminals on the cover of Rolling Stone, don't buy the magazine and don't provide it free publicity by promoting it with online outrage.
Earlier this year, I was fortunate to be able to profile the work of Nashville photographer Donald Chambers (The Replenisher). As I have often said before, it is usually a single image that begins my love of an artists work. With Donald, it was the image of Joseph, standing by the piano that I used above as 'pic of the day'.
When I first start a profile, I need the images to be chosen first, as it is the visual that dictates the direction of the text and my words. With Donald, I began focusing the piece around the image of Joseph, but quickly got distracted with all of the other captures and models on his MM page. In the end, I decided it was a good idea to focus on Matt who became the inspiration for the text in the first piece. I made sure however, to ensure Donald was supportive of me doing a follow-up with the image of Joseph, and another set of images of Ryley that I equally loved. Donald generously agreed!
When writing the first piece, I used the phrase elegant compulsion to describe the pull that draws Donald to his passion of photographing the male form. The phrase stuck with me because most people use the word compulsion in association with something negative. An addition or the draw towards something destructive. I loved how adding elegant in front, totally changed the meaning to something erotic and beautiful. Most compulsions, even the harmful ones, begin as something pleasurable. The trick, and it isn't easy, is ensuring that it stays that way.
Donald's images stay that way. They don't go too far, nor are they over the top. The goal is not to hit the viewer over the head but to create a feel of erotic elegance with the beauty of the male form.