European Diary

The Art of Misanthropy

Photography is a mongrel art, half applied, half found.  But then the world we live in is a mongrel world, a hybrid that fuses extant custom and tradition—including, for instance, the constitutional principle of limited government—with the emergent totalitarianism which, as Huxley noted in his Preface to Brave New  World, would always assume innovative and unrecognizable forms.  The bastard  is a monster in human guise, and, whenever the mask slips, photography ought to be the right champion for stepping in and letting fly with the magnesium strip.  Let Shakespeare’s Edmund sort out Goneril’s problems.  Let Uncle Joe deal with the annexation of Czechoslovakia.

“The things you see when you don’t have a gun!” is, not surprisingly, a lighthearted echo of the amateur photographer’s motto.  I had no gun with me last week when, again, I had to go through the whole airport-security rigmarole on my way back from London; nor plastic explosives secreted in a jar of cold cream, nor cyanide crying out for justice in a tube of Colgate; not even a perfume atomiser, a lipstick, or a hairpin.  So the things I saw made my flesh crawl, and when my flesh crawls, I think of my friend Gusov.  I urge readers to look at his work on the eponymous site, with three w’s before his name and a .com after it.  He is the Russian photographer...

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