I have been reading through a lot of my old writings lately. This short piece was written one day while I was studying abroad in Accra, Ghana. It is more of a conversation that takes place within my head while partaking in another group conversation. The other people are not present. It is supposed to be my actual voice in “quotes”, the voice in my head in italics, and atmospheric story telling in regular font.
Last International Women’s Day I watched a woman be beat by her boyfriend in a cafe in Santiago de Cuba. Every time she tried to walk away he would grab her hair and pull her back to beat her more. She took every hit with uttermost grace, and nobody in the entire cafe did anything. I started to yell at him to stop and I love Behrad Gramian for stepping in to try and stop him. In the end the police arrived and arrested the man. As he was handcuffed his girlfriend removed the heavy gold chains from of his neck and put it around her own. It was clear that the next day when he was released she would return it to him and return to this lifestyle. I hope that on this day everyone recognizes the mistreatment of women and that we as people work towards ending this type of mistreatment. Lets recognize women, their accomplishments, and what we have yet to create. What would the world be without some pachamama?
Death of the Photojournalist
by Semantha Raquel Norris
for Global Visual Culture - with professor Haley K. Mellin
Photography has been developed and altered tremendously since its invention. In this essay I will limit my discussion particularly to war photojournalism because I believe it to be the field most photojournalism is used for, and where my ideas will most easily be discussed. With technological advancements and the development of the internet, the need for photojournalist seems to be dwindling. As people have more access to production, becoming ‘prosumers’ rather than simply consumers of information, the photojournalist is relied upon less for delivering information. Within this discussion I will also address the notion that photography can be used as evidence, and the problems of representation that are encountered within this notion. I will also address the role of the iconic image, how images are used in conjunction with power, the spectacle, and the banality of images, in regards to my discussion of war photography. I question whether there is a death of the photojournalist in our contemporary globalizing world, and a if a more democratic form of information transmission exists. First, however, I would like to begin with a brief history of photography and photojournalism.
By Semantha Raquel Norris
Two Basquiat replicas’ ironic tale,
Replay in my head:
That pregnant bitch—Culture—died,
While that dirty dog—Ganga—thrived.
Culture simply died,
In the L.A. of West Africa:
The kids surf on wooden boards,
And road rage rules the streets;
The boys all pop their collars,
And lean back in their seats;
The girls all relax their hair,
And put bleach on their skin;
Now they are all asking me,
How can I get thin?
The drunken nights always end,
At the kebab stands;
A bottle of Gulder still locked
At the fingertips, of your hands;
Dealers offer lines of coke,
At the poolside;
As if we would take the offer,
Because of their nice rides.
Teenage angst is pushed down,
By complacent vibes;
“They have enough problems,” he claims,
“By the looks of their tribes.
Plus they live in the tropics,
By that equatorial temp.”
I, “Angst doesn’t cause problems,
It addresses them.”
A Muslim calls himself—Black Rasta,
To earn some extra cash;
The police take any chance they get,
To give another lash;
The rich all put up big walls,
To block out the poor;
A man cuts their grass with a machete,
Just outside their door.
At campus the hall boys squawk,
As a flash of red walks past;
An Aids billboard stands erect,
As you exit—‘get married fast’;
University girls are dropped for drones,
As intellect grows, they cannot marry her.
Reminder: “Just because she’s cute,
Doesn’t mean she’s not a carrier!”
The philosophers say:
Green: Culture is the FRAMEWORK of society!
Culture is important to the theoretical FOUNDATIONS of
Development within Africa,
And, the FOUNDATIONS of Africa’s development,
Must grow from the intellectual soul of Africa.
Green: We must be like a bird, FILTER through,
And spew out the spoiled seeds,
Of our traditional cultural past.
Brown: We must remold African society in such a way,
That humanistic African values form a new technological society.
Green: Because, human life, community life, is intrinsic to our culture.
Brown: Each human being within this web,
Is key to the construction of solidarity.
Green: Social life demands social ethics.
Brown: Man should be treated as an end,
Not a means.
Green: But, Africans have FORGOTTON their cultural past!
Brown: Eh! We must have a constructive picture of theorizing,
Africa’s FUTURE development.
But in the end,
It’s all about herbs.
Brown: I smoked a lot of weed,
It was good in those days.
THE TALE OF MADISON CONWELL AND GREGORY THAMES
By Semantha Norris
She was his first. His first love, his first hate, his first closeness, his first openness, his first hand-job, his first blow-job, his first woman to touch, to hold, to discover. She was his first everything—everything except that one thing. As she laid there naked—legs spread, touching her breasts, calling to him with her mismatched eyes—he stood there flaccid. He had wanted so badly to slide himself inside her, to finally become one with the only girl he truly desired. But it was his flaccid penis that knew what he could never bring himself to understand—she did not love him. It was his flaccid penis that had protected him.