news photograph as film still.
This photograph, on the cover of today’s New York Times, is remarkable for its cinematic evocations. It emphasizes the unreal quality of actual street protest as glimpsed through the lens of mass-mediated representation. This must be a movie set, we say, away from the tear gas special effects and the coils of barbed wire. The man in the photograph is also set in a liminal space. We might think of it as the border zone of globalization, the no man’s land between tradition and modernity, the boundary between difference and universality. For a middle-class reader in America, the lawyer leaps forward from there to here, from the third world to the first, from one of them to one of us. It is as if he is striving to leap out of the photograph itself, to jump through the portal of the camera lens. And keep his suit unruffled in the process. Where will he land?