Max Colson: Tales

Photojournalism MA student at the LCC

Posts Tagged ‘history

A train to England

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I’ve been working on this story on Britain’s railway enthusiasts for a while. At first I think I was working on this piece because of the novelty value of working with such a fantastic community, but the more I work on this the more I become overwhelmed with what the community is actually interested in: a way of looking at Britain’s history. This is something that I need to do a lot of research on, but I thought I’d share a couple of snippets of what I’ve been photographing recently…

max colson british rail railway enthusiast

max colson british rail railway enthusiast

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Poor, Poor Mortal Kombat Characters

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Scorpion Sub-Zero Mortal Kombat Max Colson

Scorpion and Sub-Zero, sometime mortal enemies in the Mortal Kombat franchise, gladly agree to pose for a portrait at the MCM 'Comic Con' Expo in London

Mortal Kombat characters have difficult lives. Not only does the video game revolve around the loser being brutally killed at the end of every fight but their storylines are also pretty rubbish. Their tales are meandering sprawling trails, born from a time when games development did not attract the most edgy writing talent in town.

Sub Zero Scorpion

Evidence of Mortal Kombat fan culture from Google (image not my own). Two fans dress as (from L-R) Sub-Zero, Scorpion

I will quote the storyline from Wikipedia on my two favourite characters, Scorpion and Sub-Zero, as an example of this kind of quaint almost indecipherable fantasy history:

“In the first Mortal Kombat game Scorpion is introduced as a dead warrior who enters into the Mortal Kombat tournament to kill Sub-Zero, the man who killed him. Scorpion manages to kill his target, but later learns that Sub-Zero plans to compete in the second tournament. Enraged at the idea that his nemesis has somehow returned, Scorpion tracks him down during the tournament. He realizes that this Sub-Zero was actually his killer’s younger brother, who was sent to complete his brother’s failed mission of assassinating the tournament’s host Shang Tsung. As a result, Scorpion vows to serve as the new Sub-Zero’s guardian in atonement for killing his older brother. Scorpion does not return to the series until Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 when Shao Kahn tried to conquer the Netherealm after his invasion of Earth and enlisted the ninja in his forces. Scorpion’s allegiance to Kahn quickly dissolved when he discovered that Sub-Zero was one of Earth’s chosen warriors, with whom he then sided in their final showdown with Kahn.”

You get the picture. The poor guys. Here’s some gameplay to show what I mean about their hard lives*:

*(01.03 onwards being the money shot)

Simon Norfolk at the Tate Modern (a Tate video)

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Bullet-scarred outdoor cinema at the Palace of Culture in the Karte Char district of Kabul - Simon Norfolk

Bullet-scarred outdoor cinema at the Palace of Culture in the Karte Char district of Kabul, 2002, Simon Norfolk

“I’m trying to photograph my disappointment. When I came [to Afghanistan] in 2001 I was angry with what the Americans had done, I thought it was a mistake…Ten sorry miserable years have gone by, half a trillion dollars have been spent on this country and it looks worse than it was…It’s a disappointment of ten years of warfare. Tens of thousands of Afghans murdered. Lots of Americans and Europeans killed as well. Billions wasted and nothing achieved: nothing, nothing, nothing achieved…” – Simon Norfolk

If you’re reading this in the UK you may have seen that the Guardian did a big feature on Simon Norfolk’s new Afghanistan photographs and their relation to John Burke’s Afghanistan photography in the Weekend magazine a couple of weeks ago. Personally I think Simon Norfolk is easily one of the most important photographers around right now (and if you don’t agree with that then you must agree regarding photojournalism at least).

Here is a 17 minute video produced by the Tate in advance of his exhibition of new work at the Tate Modern which is entitled, Burke + Norfolk: Photographs From The War In Afghanistan. Working on the understanding that Afghanistan has been the location of an imperalist intrusion for many decades Norfolk has produced a collection of photographs which link the current war with those from its past and asks the powerful question (amongst others): What has changed?

Narrated by the artist himself this video explains the work, puts the current Afghanistan war in the context of the country’s war torn history, and likens  the “billion pictures per hour” photojournalism that is pouring out of the country right now to a “sewer pipe with a crack in the side of it”. He also  comments that “beauty is a useful tool.” He then says lots more.

This is rational, conscious, and incisively critical photography of the highest order. Really, really worth watching.