Anti-War Demonstration in DC. Comments welcome!

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by samir, Jan 28, 2003.

  1. All these pictures were shot with a Leica M3 with Summicron 50mm. The film
    was HP5. This is the first time I shot at a rally / demonstration so be critical!
    It was a sunny and bright day and a higher than usual percentage of my
    pictures were not well exposed.
  2. More pictures...
  3. and more ...
  4. .......
  5. and a last one for now...
  6. To be blunt:

    1. Do you want a critique on the photos, or

    2. Do you want a political opinion?
  7. I don't participate in a lot of 'critique' here on this site (either in the critique forums or here on 'the boards') so I'm probably breaking some rules or something. Here goes:

    For me, these images are lacking a human element. It's like you've allowed yourself to simply 'collect slogans' of signs that caught your eye. Whether or not you agree with the ‘politics’ of a demonstration, I think to convey the message you need to somehow capture the ‘conviction’ of those protesting. It might be anger, tears, fear, calm, etc. If you don’t agree with the politics of a given demonstration, you can always seek out the incongruous emotional displays; people laughing around a sign expressing anger, etc.

    I don’t find any of that here. You say it’s your first attempt, maybe you’re shy about taking photos when people are aware you are there, etc. For this type of photography, I think you’ll have to get over this to improve.
  8. The images lack any conviction, either on the part of the
    protesters or the photographer. Maybe that was the way it was.
    A bunch of people milling around holding clever (and not so
    clever) signs they came up with over a Latte at Starbucks the day

    BTW, get a ND filter for your lens, and you'll be ready for the next
    bright day of shooting.

    Keep at it, learn from this one and apply it the next time out.

    Good shooting to you.
  9. Samir

    The shots are a bit washed out. Otherwise they are OK as documents, but I can't really imagine what you will do with them to be honest as they do lack impact or striking compositions. What's with the German contingent "Pig ist Pig" etc. Can someone explain?
  10. A couple of shots have too much forground (like cables), several have too little so you can't really see their faces. People demonstrating WANT to be photographed. They won't bite you.
  11. Hey, is that Eddie Murphy in the Roll-1305.jpg ???
  12. Ahhh, the unwashed masses. And I do mean unwashed.
  13. However you look at it, fish in a barrel.
  14. Thanks for the comments. I take note and I agree with you, although the people were really quite, calm with a lot of middle aged people.

    As you can imagine there were a lot of photographers, split in 2 groups: a first group was in the middle of the crowd. The second group was set all the way along the demonstration with their cameras on tripods and with telephoto, some on top of the trees. The series I just put here were from my first roll. I ll check and hope I will get more inspiring ones in the other rolls.

    Bob : what do you mean by "unwashed" crowd.
  15. Do you really want my opinion of a German camera, using British film, on American dirt, protesting American involvement in yet another third world toilet?
  16. As a former journalist, I learned to restrain my political opinions and only concentrate on the photos. Yes, more people interaction and less of the signs and slogans. Most people at these types of events are eager for the publicity and willingly put on a good visual display. In the thick of a crowd, your best lens choice is in the wide range--21mm or 24mm would have been perfect. HP5+ is a great film with good latitude and probably has better detail in the negative than is evident in the photos here. Good initiative on getting into the middle of things.
  17. As a former journalist, I learned to restrain my political opinions and only concentrate on the photos. Yes, more people interaction and less of the signs and slogans.
    I'm a former PJ myself, and I agree that journalists should strive for objectivity. I made my comments about 'slanting' your view on the assumption that Samir (and perhaps others) have an interest in telling a particular story or advancing a particular view. As an example, I'm now employed as an engineer, and my union went out on strike three years ago. I took many photos in PJ style of the picket lines, rallys, etc. In that instance, it was not in by best interests or the interests of the union to publish anything that embarrassed the union.
    Knowing the story you're trying to 'sell' helps.
  18. Lee, Thanks for the comments. I had a VL 25mm. Obviously it was a mistake not to use it!!!

    Regarding the story, I did not want to push a political story, I wanted to be there and wanted to experiment with this kind of photography. I was with a group of parents from my children's school but I decided I did not want to photograph them so I went on my own, so maybe this was another mistake...
  19. Samir,
    I feel a little unqualified to comment here as I am very much in
    the same boat you are - trying to learn to effectively document our
    times. I find that these types of situations it's often difficult to
    focus creatively as there is so much going on. Perhaps it would
    help to try to meet one person who has something that appeals
    to you visually and emotionally and stick with them through the
    event. In not that, you could look for a theme and work that angle.
    In short, you need to determine what you wish to convey and look
    for ways to do so. I think one of the importance aspects of
    photography is to show people aspects of life that are often
    overlooked: bring your on personal perspective. It's difficult but
    that's what makes it so enjoyable. Good luck.
  20. Samir,

    I too attend the Anti-War ralley. Here are some of my shots.

    Surprising to me ther wasn't that many "unwashed". And no more a "minority of voices" as described by the Bush administration. No more than the "majority" that voted for him.

    This attached photo is the one that haunts me even today. It was also among the very first that I took that day. It is of a father that lost his daughter in the Shanksville, PA crash on 9-11. Amazing that a man that should welcome actions against those that hold "weapons of mass destruction", was there in the freezing cold to protest the Bush administration's actions.

  21. second of four, others to be posted in my portfolio here soon....
  22. third of four, others to be posted in my portfolio here soon....
  23. four of four, others to be posted in my portfolio here soon....
  24. Samir,

    Wanted to add that I looked at this as an opportunity to try out the new Tri Elmar in my kit. I was taken aback at the depth of attendees. Young, old, the "unwashed" or "American dirt", the clergy, and everything in between. Too bad Norman Schwarzkopf wasn't there. Seems like he is now "unwashed" "American dirt"; he would have fit in well that day.

  25. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I'd certainly prefer to hang out with the "unwashed" than with people who talk about "third world toilets," especially since the latter people probably haven't taken the time to meet the people in those countries they are assailing.

    That said, I have to agree with the criticisms of Samir's photos. I think Chip's are better but still need something to hang together as a group.

    I don't think "objective" journalism produces any better results than "subjective" journalism. Everyone is subjective to some degree, and people who have a point of view and use it can often present a much more coherent vision. Take the over-used (at least on this forum) example of Salgado, for instance.
  26. Samir -- I think the film choice was fine. I think some of the exposure issues, and content issues, would have been resolved if you had got in even closer and isolated more subjects. THis would eliminate some of the foreground/sky/contrast issues. You needed to pick something that grabs you out in the crowd and get close IMHO. It seemed like you were standing back and hoping you'd catch something in the frame. Crowds are hard to photograph, but I think it is an experience thing. You'll certainly have lots of chances to practice in DC! A good start. Keep at it!
  27. Jeff,

    Thanks. I am more at home with "static" photography - landscapes, architectural , and architectural detail photography. I am trying to get more into street photography, and people in general.

    It may also have to do with the approach that I took that day. I went with a PJ mindset, looking for a few images that told the story; not something that the images would stand alone as a set - but something that would work in a story.

    You have given me some thoughts as to how I might want to approach something like this again. I can't wait till I get the B&W stuff processed. I have been told I am also better in B&W than I am in color.

    Again thanks Jeff

  28. Donald,

    I know I learned a couple of things from that day out. For those that aren't aware, we were in the middle of an Artic Blast. The high temp that day was 22F if my memory serves me well.

    I headed out with my two M6TTL's that I have had less than a year. The battery on the the one with these shots kept going in and out of power. That led to some denser images than I would have liked (thank heaven for Photoshop). I will now carry spares with me everywhere I go.

    Another thing that I learned is that slide film is not for a clear sky day in the dead of winter is a situation like this. Particularly since outdoor fill flash is problematic with the M6TTL with a 1/50 sync speed.

    The last thing that I found is that I love the Tri Elmar for events like this. I kept the CV 25mm on the other body with the BW film. Willbe interesting to see the results from that roll. The CV was a joy to shoot with since I didn't have to worry about focusing. Just set one of the click stop distances and let the DOF take care of the rest.

    Thanks for the comments to Samir, I learned abit from them also.

  29. During the demonstration, there are different things you want to capture. 1. The size of the demonstration: this was very big. This picture does not give justice to the hundreds of thousands of people (500 000 according to the organizers)
  30. 2. Then you find some nice looking people...Like these
  31. ... or these bystanders
  32. .... here they are
  33. 3. There is no demonstration without police officers, hundreds of them in a freezing cold, on foot, on cars, on bikes, and on motorcycles:
  34. and more of them here
  35. ... and finally a happy chief of police. He was being interviewed by 2 or 3 journalists. He said there were very few arrests (2 or 3), and it was a big, very big demonstration... (this picture was shot with a digital Sony DSC-P85).
  36. With hundreds of thousands of demonstrators protesting Bush's intended war against Iraq you as a photographer can easily have the demonstration you want to have. Samir has done a pretty good job of capturing the ordinary and the weird, like the half-naked guy with peace symbols printed all over his body. But to capture the essence of the march in a photographic series like this may well be impossible.

    To my mind, the most extraordinary aspect of this and other demonstrations held against Bush's intended war is the plainness, the ordinariness, of most of the demonstrators. The usual suspects, the bearded beatnik-hippie-lefties can be found if you look--and not hard. But the general blend of protesters is of a bland middle American hue. This was the general hue of people who became turned off to the Vietnam War around 1970--and the majority of these stayed away from demonstrations. It is extraordinary to me that so many ordinary people have become so disgusted with Bush's warmongering that they have taken to the streets even before massive military action has started.

    What photography can capture of the general sense of the current anti-war mood is questionable. The rhetoric of war hysteria pushed by the Bush people is particularly empty as such rhetoric tends to be. It is in this atmosphere that a large segment of ordinarily ideologically sleepwalking Americans are beginning to see through the nonsense. How can the photographer deal with this? Images alone may not be enough.

    As someone who has been a peace activist since the age of 15 I have developed an ethic in regard to political demonstrations whose politics I favor. I take no pictures of the demonstrators. This is in case repression comes down and the police want to identify enemies of the state. They will get nothing from me.

    A word about “journalistic objectivity.” I don’t believe in it. I mean I don’t believe in it in the sense that I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy. There is no such thing as “journalistic objectivity.” Good journalists (like Robert Fisk) try to be honest in observing and uncompromising in reporting, analyzing and arguing. But that isn’t “objectivity,” if we mean by this a kind of Edenesque ideological purity. Everyone has an angle, unless one is brain dead.

    Anyway, I thought Samir’s shots were good. I do not think that they will, alone, persuade you one way or the other--unless the sheer force of numbers make you wonder if something is indeed very sick in the American body politic.
  37. Alex,

    The image of the nearly naked guy was mine (no slight taken). For myself i had intended to take and cover both sides of the rally. In fact I had started to walk down to the Vietnam Memorial for the counter rally (ironic when you think about it); but I was just too darn cold.

    Some of the thoughts raised in this thread do ask the question; are photographs always for today? Or are they for tomorrow. i have always enjoyed viewing images from the 20's, 30's, and 40's. They show life and history in away that sometimes a book misses. I guess thats how I view my photography, more for the future than the present. If by chance it hits a spot today, so much the better.

  38. Part of the problem is that lighting conditions that day were difficult, to say the least. A very bright sun somehow glittered in the cold air. I took some photos at the demonstration too, but made the mistake of using a medium yellow filter on my 24 -- nothing really turned out. The only negs that were printable came from using my SWC handheld, and only portions of those. Still, based on my test prints those portions would be usable for fine prints...

    Another part of the problem is that a lot of people were camera-shy, what with the Department of Homeland Security now out and about. It was not the feeling of anti-war demonstrations in the 60s (I was in DC for those then, too) and most demonstrators had not completely entered the public space -- many were first timers. But I think this was just a practice run, so to speak, since war is pretty likely and since the odds then are good that it won't be an easy affair. Indeed, if we are fortunate enough to get a draft (they should draft only the children of people who work for the Federal government), the demonstrations will get pretty interesting.

    Thirdly, the organizers were not connected to the marchers. The marchers were ordinary folk who are worried about a war. The organizers, on the other hand, were for the most part communists and what-not. To be honest, I'd rather have a glass of wine with one of them than with a hard-right Republican, but that's another matter. Anyhow, the speeches about "Free Mumia!" and other causes got to be too much and people turned off. I'm saying it was a very conflicted march -- astonishing, really astonishing, though, to have such masses of people turn out in the most bitter cold weather Washington has seen in half a dozen years.

    Just my two cents.

  39. George,

    Well put! That was the thing that caught me was how main stream the crowd was.

    Though I disagree about drafting the children of Fed employees. They should draft the Children of the senetors, congress people, the lobbyists, and the rest of the power brokers in the country.

    Happy snaps...



    The lighting that day made me wish for my N70 and Sb-28 flash for fill-in. Any one have thoughts how best to handle high contrast situations like this with an M?
  40. Chip!

    Oh dear! I am sorry I got mixed up. Well, let me say that I think your naked peace man was great. Except for his shaved head--very now--he is right out of the 60s and 70s. Thank you for the bare facts.

    I hope that the naked peace man and all the tens of thousands of normally clothed people who see the naked truth about Bush's intended war on Iraq will prevent that unnecessary bloodletting.

    And I've changed my mind. Photographers can make a difference. Some of the images I saw here haunt me. I hope they haunt others.

  41. The picts of Saddam gassing the Kurds had an impact on me!
  42. If you dig behind the headlines you'll find that it's not at all clear who gassed the Kurds. The top CIA guy at the time, now retired, has written extensively about this. I can't find a quick link for you, but if you're interested enough to spend an hour or so doing searches you'll see what I'm talking about. The bottom line: the Kurdish villages that were gassed were caught in fighting between Iranian and Iraqi forces (the region was contested for its water supply). Both sides used gas but the Kurds probably caught it from the Iranians, as they died from cyanide based gas which the Iraqis, we think, didn't have at that time.

    Pretty neat slogan, though, don't'cha think? "He gassed his own people. We've got to get rid of him." Better than whatever the truth might sound like. Pictures moved you, huh? They'll do that...

  43. Argh, I'm too tired to think this morning. But here's a link to the NYT (free registration, blah, blah).

  44. Pics of Palistinian home being bulldozed, bombed out busses in Isreal, students facing down tanks in China, salilite images of fuel rods being moved in Korea, and tribal wars in Africa move me too.

    So many opportunities for the US to have shown it's support of those being oppressed. It only seems like when money is invovled, or it appears to be "winnable" does the US military get in to action. The issue is that the photojournalist brings a mesaage. How people react to it is up to them.

  45. USA = BAD everyone else = Good! Now I get it! Did any of you protest the
    Iraq/Iran war? Saddam has killed more Muslims then just about anyone in
    history. You could sell a few Leicas and give the money to the starving folks in
  46. The image is not necessarily what you think it is; while the photojournalist knows he may not tell you what it is -- and it's easy to be fooled.

    A little history from the former Yugoslavia: the image that really got people going in 1991, that, in my view, changed the whole track of US policy, was one shot of a starved guy, his ribs sticking out, behind barbed wire. Concentration camps! Newspapers and TV had a field day. The Serbs never recovered their image in the eyes of outsiders.

    But if you see the rushes from the orginal film crew, as I have, it's painfully obvious that ten meters on either side of that dilapidated wire fence there was no fence. People were wandering all around the area, freely, and the TV crew followed them. In fact, the area in question was a secondary school which was acting as a kind of refugee collection point. Sure, there were a couple other -- other! -- places which might have doubled as concentration camps, but TV crews couldn't get there. So these pics, fraudulently, portrayed a story that photojournalists conjured up, perhaps for the proper motives, perhaps not.

    Later on a magazine in the UK pointed all this out, was sued by the TV chain in question, lost the suit (!), and was driven out of business.

    The moral of the story is never, under any circumstances, never ever trust a corporate media organization to tell you the truth about anything. And pictures can lie...


  47. "Saddam has killed more Muslims then just about anyone in history."

    Johnson, are you aware that the US was helping Iraq in its war against Iran? Not only did we give them a lot of intelligence, and equipment, but US special forces were running around in the Gulf blowing up Iranian facilities for our Iraqi friends. Did you know that the distinguished Rummy was in Iraq, shaking Saddam's hand, while all this was going on? Did you know that most recently another of our distinguished leaders, the Veep, was making a fortune selling stuff to Iraq, right before he left private business, cashing in his retirement bonuses, to become a public servant.

    Maybe you're right, "Saddam has killed more... etc." It's a preposterous assertion on the face of it which could only be issued by someone who is completely and utterly ignorant of the world, but let's say it's true. Then we were certainly his principal accomplices.


  48. Robert,

    The point I was making was that we in the US makes selective arguements on who is "bad". I guess that is good in one way, since we would have no one left on the homefront, we would be all over the world. I would be interested in seeing the numbers killed by the African warlords verses Sadam.

    I count my self lucky that I went down to photograph this "minority of radicals" as some within the Bush adminstration labled the event. IMHO it was a very well balanced representation of the population. I hope that me and my trusty Leica will make it some more rallys as they come up.


    PS -

    Though no one has yet offered suggestions for an M user shooting in harsh lighting conditions like a clear winter day.
  49. This thread could use a good "Fisking". I say to the anti-war crowd, go to these links, read and think for once.
    Spies Letter From Europe
  50. Chip,

    I did not quite understand what you were requesting regarding "suggestions for an M user shooting in harsh lighting conditions like a clear winter day." For this reason I went to all the shots you posted. Given the quality of those shots I think you could be advising us. I was especially moved by the father who lost his daughter on September 11 who did not want Bush's war against Iraq to be fought in her name.

    So what film did you use? What about exposure? All that seems secondary to the powerful images you shared with us--but necessary.

    If any photographs can convince the average sleepwalking American that the war Bush is pushing for against Iraq is stupid and immoral they are photographs like the ones we have seen here.
  51. Since this forum is open to people from all over the world, lets hear what a
    current citizen from Iraq thinks. It could be a long wait...
  52. Doug, Robert,

    You too try to read and think

    Also, a vast majority of Brits, Spanish people, Italians are against that war.
    The letter from Europe does represent a small minority of the people of
    Europe, but I am also glad to read that a vast majority of Americans do not
    want that war is there is no compelling evidence that Irak has weapons of
    mass destruction.
  53. You know what I find amazing? That all the peace folks here have more
    animosity toward me, (someone that doesn't own a gun, and has never been
    in the military), then a dictator with a standing army of hundreds of thousands.
    I thought you guys were PEACE loving? When you defend Saddam, YOU all
    sound like a bunch of war mongers!
  54. And one last thing, isn't that a military outfit that "President" (with 100% of the
    popular vote) Saddam wears?
  55. Alex,

    Thanks for the kind words on my images. I used Astia in shooting. Did a levels adjsutment in Photoshop. I guess that the contrast range was great due to my using slide film, probally should have negative film. Basically the exposures were the sunny 16 rule.

    I know that in shooting BW I can expand the contrast of the film with processing (have to check my notes, I believe by shortning the developement). Was wondering if others had other suggestions when shooting color?

    Happy snaps...

  56. Robert,

    There is no animosity towards you from me. I just question the selectivity of our actions in the world. Keep in mind Bin Laden was strengthened by the US fleeing Somalia after the Blackhawk incident. He looked at us at us at bullying cowards.

    I think the point is that many people do not see a clear and present danger from Iraq. Just as with the Cuban Missle Crisis, if there is evidence then show and the world will follow.

    The world is in a ression/depression. There are many more pressing needs in the US that this money could be spent on. I just don't want another wall with 50,000+ names on it.

  57. Robert,

    I have no animosity at all to anyone of this forum . Also, people opposing or
    questioning the war do not support the Iraki regime, on the contrary. The
    question is: do we wage a war because there is a threat and Irak is
    developing horrible weapons? Or do we wage a war because this is an
    horrible dictartorship? In the first case we need strong evidence it has such
    program and bad intention. In the second case, the US should wage wars
    against a whole lot of countries from the middle east to Africa to North Korea.
    The very sad thing is that at the peak of his power Saddam was a friend of the
    US was helped by the US, eventhough the US knew he was using these
    prohibited weapons. President Bush in his State of the Union described all
    kind of tortures the Iraki regime use...Well Amnesty International spotted that
    use of torture is widespread and increasing, even among US Allies...
  58. These idiots are NOT anti-war, they are [mostly] the hate America, anti-Bush far left, with a number of hate Israel Jews (if they really are) thrown in.

    Where were these people when we were bombing Serbia and nation building in the Sudan or in Haiti for that matter during the Clinton administration. These jerks were nowhere to be found.

    Their main goal is to embarass President Bush, that's what it's about. There may be a few genuine war protesters there, but most of them are the usual far left anti-Bush, anti-America, anti-Israel crowd.

    These people are wrong so often that a good rule of thumb is if their protesting it, it must be the right thing to do it.
  59. Alex and others. There were not"hundreds of thousands" of people there. That is PROPAGANDA put out by the organizers of the march. The official police estimate was 25,000. These people are NOT representative of America, unless you consider the far left to represent America, which I do not. If you watched the TV coverage, you wouyld have seen how many of the signs were simply anti-Bush, calling him a fascist, pig, comparing him to Hitler, etc.

    There were NO signs anti-Sadam, which is curious because he is in part responsible for any war that may happen. These people hate Bush not Saddam Hussein. And they are people many of whoim who lie about anything, including how many protesters were there and about how they purport to represent the sentiment of the American public, They most certainly do not. They basically represent the loony left. That's all. So save your flowery sentiments, These people are not worth it.
  60. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    Eliot, I have one thing to say to you: You da man! Thank you!!
  61. The person who signs himself "Eliot" made a series of emotional statements about "propaganda" and the "looney left." Were this not a Leica photography forum I would provide a detailed refutation. As this is not a poltical forum I'll limit myself to a few points. Before doing so, I think this discussion is indeed relevant to Leica photographers who engage in reportage of some kind.

    Regarding the number of demonstators in Washington, D.C. The following is from the Washington Post:

    "District police officials suggested then that about 100,000 attended, and although some organizers agreed, they have since put the number closer to 200,000. This time, they said, the turnout was 500,000. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey would not provide an estimate but said it was bigger than October's. 'It's one of the biggest ones we've had, certainly in recent times,' he said...." ("Thousands Oppose a Rush to War: Chill Doesn't Cool Fury Over U.S. Stand on Iraq," by Manny Fernandez and Justin Blum, Wash. Post staff writers, Jan. 19, 2003, page A01. Full article as W.P. website).

    Labeling anyone opposing Bush as the "crazy left" flies in the face of the facts. General Norman ("Stormin' Norman") is opposed to a war with Iraq on military grounds. Recently a group of Republicans took out an ad in the "New York Times" opposing a war on Iraq. If you go to the Libertarian you'll get more information of this nature.

    Now then: Tony. If you wish to believe this "Eliot" person is "my man" that's your business. When you delete threads that are relevant to photography and become politically charged (unavoidable in these times) it becomes our business. I suddenly found that the question I posted on Jan. 31, 2003, "Is Photographing US Bridges Now Forbidden" had been pulled. This had generated a lively and meaningful discussion and it was very important to Leica photographers. At this moment, Tony, you are not my man.
  62. Eliot,
    Bad news for you: almost 50% of Americans belong to that " left" according to
    your criteria. More seriously, these kind of preventive war will only increase
    global insecurity and violence. In a recent Time Magazine poll, people were
    asked who, among Irak, North Korea and the USA represent the biggest
    threat to peace in 2003 ... what a know? Check, vote and look at results:

    Sad,isn' t it?
  63. Eliot,

    Here in DC the police departments (we have many, Metropolitan, Park, Secret Service, Capital, among others) have stopped giving "official" crowd estimates. This started after the Million Man March when the March sponsors sued over crowd estimates.

    Being down there to photograph (intending to see both sides), all I can say is that it was a very large crowd. Young, old, rich, poor, democrat, republican, jewish, and non-jewish; and everything in between. Given the weather that day, any crowd was of importance.

    To you and others that have made this thread a political one. I am sorry that images of people expressing their right to free speech is upsetting. Keep in mind for as many people that say they support this administartions actions; there were few at their own rally, or along the march route.

    Living in the DC area I can say that this was surprising. Given that both the left and right come out strong for the Roe v. Wade anniversary each year.

    Keep in mind also Samir was looking for comments on the images, not the statement on the rally itself. The first comments came from those on the right. I think Samir intitially thought the images would speak for themselves. Only when non-rational commengts were made was the dialog started on the rally and participants.

    In that dialog those on the right attacked the "individuals" on the left. Those on the left looked to the leaders of our nation to answer our/their concerns about Iraq.

    Funny it is those on the right that use terms like "idiot", "jerk", and "looney". I guess when the opposition has something strong to say, and you ( and I do not mean you personally in this case ) are on the loosing end of the argument then it's time for school yard talk.

    In the end this thread has done what 'documntary' photography was always meant to do, and foster discussion.

    Happy snaps...

  64. Alex,

    To be fair to Tony; I think your bridges thread was deleted becuase some just could not play well with others. That was the gist of my previous message.

    I was disappointed in seeing that and a couple other threads go away. I would have preffered that the personal attacks been edited out.

    Happy snaps...

  65. It's an interesting question how to estimate the size of crowds. Most people who do this professionally use fairly sophisticated airborne cameras, from fixed-wing aircraft. Using less sophisticated cameras from helicopters can work, too, if the results are treated carefully.

    The reason that the Park Service no longer estimates crowds on the Mall is that Congress defunded that part of their budget after some controversy over the million man march. Organizers had claimed (surprise !) a million marchers, but authorities had claimed about 400,000. Independent, sophisticated analysis of photos revealed it was closer to 800,000. For some reason a conservative Congress didn't like this debate and killed it by taking away money.

    (Apropos of nothing I just paid my $25 for, so feel some entitlement to express my opinion about this.)

    Now, from the ground photos won't reveal so much, because they can't cover a representative area as well, or show an overall view from which a representative area could be taken. Still, the principle is fairly simple: get up a grid of the area, pick a representative square of the grid, estimate the numbers of people from that square, and multiply by squares in the grid.

    As to Washington in January. I've estimated crowds before at both above and below official estimates, but fwiw, using the grid method as well as I could (and taking pictures for this purpose), I'd conservatively estimate the crowd as having been around 180,000, give or take 50,000. Possible but unlikely, in my view, that it topped 300,000. No way that it was 500,000. For those who insist it was in the "tens of thousands" all you have to do is look at the area of the first staging point, which had been filled and overflowed down the Mall. The initial area, full, obviously holds well over 100,000.

    From one vantage point I could see approximately 75,000 at one time, and shot this with my Leica and 15mm Heliar. The crowd passing this corner of Independence Avenue, which was fenced for a block around a large field, was packed and filled the street as far up Independence towards the Capitol as one could see, filled the intersection, and the cross street (3d?) which led to the staging area. Marchers had been steadily moving past that point for more than an hour before I was there, and for at least an hour after.

    Draw your own conclusions, your milage may vary.


  66. Eliot,

    You said:
    "Where were these people when we were bombing Serbia and nation building in the Sudan or in Haiti for that matter during the Clinton administration. These jerks were nowhere to be found."

    Besides the "jerks" comment you offered one of the first rational comments from those on the right. The US involvement in Serbia, Solmalia, and now Afganistan were joint UN operations. As to Haiti and Sudan, I don't remember in those were UN involvments. Maybe you do.

    The issue on Iraq is that the UN and the world community are asking for restraint before military action. Only Bush and Blair are calling for action before an OK from the UN. In fact reports from the otherside of the Atlantic are indicating that British people are willing to wait for the UN.

    Why this rush to war? Some feel it is for the economy. Others feel it is for the oil. Regardless the US agreed to the UN terms on the inspections. They should honor that.

    Maybe you could explain why with North Korea the US is not setting up military strike bases? Clearly there is a greater threat of "weapons of mass destruction" from Korea than Iraq. Is it that a war with Korea would not be winnable? Or they have nothing that we and the rest of the world rely on?

    I personally don't hate Bush. Whether he truly won the lection or not; he is the President. But as such he does have to answer to the people. Those answers have been cagey at best.

    I do thank that you and I live in a country that "healthy" dialog can exssit if we allow it to. And if our photographs aid in that discussion so much the better.

    I would love to see photographs that the other side have taken to make their point.

    Happy snaps...

  67. George,

    Thanks for the further explantion. The other factor in trying to esitmate the crowd this year was the fact that the high for the day was 22F. I and many others did not stay for the entire rally. I myslef tried to head over to the counter rally but the cold got to me. I arrived at 11Am and made it to the back of the crowd at 1PM (near the Smithsonian Metro stop). People were still arriving by train at that point. And many of the trains going into the city were still packed (unsual for any Sunady in DC). There were still a number of protesters waiting for the Metro when i arrived at East Falls Church Metro about an hour later.

    I like teh police wanted to stay on the safe side and say that the crowd was large!

    Happy snaps....

  68. If we are on the "right" then where would that place Saddam on you scale?
    Funny how all the dictators want "democracy" at the UN, but won't allow it in
    their own countries.
  69. To Alex. MY NAME IS ELIOT. I have contributed to this forum for several years, starting when it was on the LHSA site. If you want to address me, use my name not "this Eliot person" or "the person who calls himself Eliot". It is my given name, and many people on this forum know me. To Chip and others, It is a typical tactic, you and others had ALREADY made this into a political commentary thread before my first post. I just RESPONDED to alot of thethings being said that offended me. So don't you dare blame me for making it political. It already was.

    My point about the crowd size was I don't know how many people were there but I don't trust the estimates of the organizers because these people lie. I would trust the police more than them.

    Chip you are naive. These people are NOT against war per se. They are against a REPUBLICAN president who wages war. They were nowhere to be found when Clinton bombed Serbia or sent troops to Haiti and the Sudan. Serbia was a NATO operation, not a UN operation. And many civilians died. I haven't even seen an estimate in newspapers like the NY Times, because they didn;t seem to care, but it must have been in the thousands. Remember when they bombed the Chinese Embassy by mistake, what about 200 people were killed? Where was the outrage from the so-called "war" protesters? Remember when Clinton destroyed an aspirin factory in the Sudan (two days before Monica Lewinsky was supposed to testify), killing about 250 innocents? WHERE WERE THESE "WAR" PROTESTERS? It seems Clinton got a "pass" simply because he is a Democrat.

    And where were the signs against Saddam Hussein. All I saw were anti-Bush signs. Make no mistake, this protest is about Bush and the opposition of the far left to his presidency. It is not about war, the UN support or lack thereof for this action, Iraq or anything like like. As usual, the left reveals its utter hypocrisy.

    As far as being emotional, I am no more so than than any of the posters on the left, who assume that posting an opinion is sufficient to make it right.
  70. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    I did not delete any thread concerning photographing bridges. If it was deleted, it may have been by another moderator.
  71. How many of you peace folks called your political leaders to protest when
    Clinton was bombing Iraq during the vote on his impeachment ? I did! That
    was immoral!
  72. Counter Rally pictures: I did make it to the end of the rally. The counter rally
    consisted of about 20 to 30 people, not more. The pictures below were shot
    with a digital camera...the viewfinder on my M3 got blurred and unfocused
    when I tried to shot the counter rally...
  73. As you can see they were surrounded by police officers...
  74. Alex, It appears your bridges thread is now here.
  75. Ironically, among the scattered few pro-war demonstrators were many who went on the following week to march in a pro-life, anti-abortion demonstration. Do they see the contradiction? I stayed away from that pro-life demonstration; however, in retrospect, I feel like it would have been a good opportunity to capture raw, highly deluded, exhibitionist passions on film.

    For those unaware of history during the past few years, there were indeed major anti-war demonstrations in our nation's capitol against the bombing of Serbia. I still have my buttons, my t-shirt, and several rolls of negatives from them. But this would be a surprising fact to those who believe that corporate news tells them what they need to know, perhaps everything they need to know.

    Although I wouldn't count my snaps among them, I feel sure that at some point some photographer will become recognized for having captured a 'sense of the times' during our era, through photographs of these and other demonstrations. The anti-World Bank and anti-trade conventions demonstrations come to mind as representative, very representative, of the emerging fault lines between government and the public.

    One has every right to question whether, in fact, we still live in a system that can call itself in any meaningful sense a democracy, as opposed to a corporatist state which relies on prisons and bread and circuses to keep the population in line. In my opinion democracy in the US is almost, but not quite, dead from a thousand cuts -- regardless whether this is a correct, realistic view there can be no doubt that the politics of our age are an historic watershed which can and should be captured on film.

  76. Can anybody tell me what the red flag on the second picture (contre
    manifestants01) represents???
  77. United States Marine Corps
  78. Eliot,

    Would that mean that you would not believe the numbers from a pro-war rally either (or any other rally that supported your views)?

    Strangly the right and left were missing from the Clinton "wars". And what if the new Iraq war were to accidently bomb a clinic? Would we here that Sadam was hiding "weapons of mass destruction" there?

    Unfortunately I have little faith in either party to tell us the truth.

    May all of our loved ones come home safely from all wars of egos...

  79. Eliot,

    And why would it be that these people are anti-Bush? Did not the people give the Republicans a mandate? Did not Bush win the election (well under a system that needs to be changed). Could it be that Bush went to the UN looking for a blessing. Not getting one, he wants to act on his own?

    Strange that Gen. Norman S.(sp) has come out against any actions under the current circumstances? Has he suddenly made a left turn? I personally don't think that people are turning a blind eye on the past. What is past is past. Where were the protesters when we went into Granada? Or when we went into Panama? Was Reagan getting a free ride becuase he was republican?

    Both sides twist things to fit their aggenda. There is too much need at home to be the big imperialist country any longer. If action is to be taken it must be as a unified world community. In particular when borders are not being attacked directly.

  80. Guys, if you want to make a political statement with your photographs, you
    really don't have to attend a rally of any sort to do so. IMO it would be much
    harder to convey a poignant political message when EVERYONE is trying to
    say the same thing! PEACE! And as Chip would say, Happy Shooting!
  81. First of all, thank you for the clarification, Tony, about the dropping of the "Bridges" thread. I am glad it was not you. The question that follows has to be: Which moderator did delete the "Bridges" thread and several others? I got an anonymous e-mail saying that my thread was moved to hll-.// Clicking on that I found a message under my initial question saying that this was a question about photographing bridges and other national monuments and that posters should refrain from making political statements--which I find weird as this is a poltical question to begin with. May I presume, Tony, this was not your statement but that of this unknown moderator.

    So who is this Big Brother moderator and what gives him or her the right to mess with our Leica forum in this way?

    Now let me point something out here. This particular thread has been forced to move from a discussion of Leica photography's relation to demonstrations and to the photographers' own political views in relation to their work to a purely political debate because of the misinformed and irrational comments by "Eliot" (and when I see a given name and no family name I assume it is a pseudonym until told otherwise). One of the presumptions of Eliot is that those of us who are anti-war are simply out to get George Bush. Where were we when Clinton was bombing Yugoslavia? he demands. I for one was writing protests against that war--which is all I could do where I was in Japan.

    Eliot tells us of his long association with this form. I sincerely hope his insights into Leica cameras and photography are better than his political thinking.
  82. "misinformed and irrational comments by "Eliot""

    Alex. FYI, my last name is Rosen. And FYI it is you and Chip who made this a political debate, long before my first post. I think it tells alot that you resort to attack and name calling rather than debate. My comments were aimed at the organizers of the rally and the many protesters carrying anti-Bush signs, some of which compared him to Hitler. I'll take your word that you were also against the bombing of Serbia. I was not referring to everyone against the war, but the many who were simply trying to embarass Bush. And I'll put my knowledge of Leica against yours any day, if you must get personal.

    It is very telling that there were NO signs protesting against Saddam. After all the administration said that he would be allowed to resign and leave Iraq in order to avoid war. Where were all of the protesters asking Saddam to step down? Nowehere to be found.

    Tou CANNOT first make political comments and then decide it is innappropriate for someone else to respond to your comments. I'd call that "irrational". I stand by what I said. If you think they are "misinformed", show me where they are wrong. Have the courage to support your contentions.
  83. "If any photographs can convince the average sleepwalking American that the war Bush is pushing for against Iraq is stupid and immoral they are photographs like the ones we have seen here."

    Alex, I found this post of yours about 9 or 10 posts before my first post. IF THAT IS NOT TURNING THIS INTO A POLITICAL THREAD, I DON'T KNOW what is. How dare you blame me for something YOU ALREADY DID. You are a class A hypocrite. Talk about irrational.
  84. Eliot,

    You are right that no one is demonstrating Saddam or any other dictator to
    step down. Of course thousands of people work anonymosly with different
    organization, like amnesty international, to ensure the respect of human
    rights, freedom and democracy. But again, the Iraki regime is not more cruel
    today than it was yesterday than it was the day before yesterday. What makes
    it now such a dangerous country and why do the USA need to wage a war to
    remove him, and to replace him by a military US adminstration (according to
    some news report). Don t you see that what turned Bin Laden against its
    previous protectors was, to his eye, the continuing "occupation" of Saudi
    Arabia. Don t you realize the danger and the possible blowback an
    occupation of Irak may trigger? Also the choice is not WAR or NO WAR ...
    there is a continuum of action and policies to deal with the issue...war being
    the last recourse. Apartheid was abolished in South Africa not trough war but
    with a long lasting international isolation. Again, why do you think such a war
    is a necessity for the world? What are the dangers? What are the evidences?
    (on the last one you have to wait the revelation next Wednesday).
  85. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    I see that the "Bridges" thread was moved to the unarchved forum, so it will expire soon, so anyone who wants a copy of it should go there and grab it (do a File->Save As).

    The other moderators are Josh Root, my assistant moderator, and Brian Mottershead, the Editor in Chief of Brian has ultimate control, and Josh has been a great help due to the fact that this place is the busiest -- and most interesting -- discussion forum around.

    Generally, and certainly historically, political themes have not been allowed in our forum because they typically erupt into flame wars, and we should not be any sort of "platform" for anyone who wants to rant about their political viewpoints. To me, the worst is when we get a question posted like, "Bush sucks; it's sad the U.S. will attack Iraq... blah blah... I hope he changes his mind for all humanity's sake!!!" which has nothing to do with photography. What's much harder to confront is a thread such as this one that begins innocently enough -- even though the "photo" subject seems to be the very thing that is off limits to our forum -- but which get's all sticky in the end (if you'll pardon that expression!).

    Lately, I have not been so quick to act, though, because we are in such a politically charged world now. Photography, and in my view, the best photography, seems always so "connected" to politics. To completely eliminate threads that contain political stuff would be like not being able to chat with your physician about birth control. Our forum would be like the very limited selection of books and magazines they gave to inmates at Alcatraz!

    This thread was really under control for the longest time, though, each response (or many responses) remained connected to the act of photographing.

    If participants can keep the subject centered around the act of photographing, I think that many will be surprised at how far-reaching the discussions can go and still survive the moderator's delete button.

    Also, it is important to remain polite and keep a somewhat thick skin while participating. It's not always that easy. I know that I very often put my foot in my mouth, and I deservedly get called on it. The best thing about being a group of Leica enthusiasts is that we have had 100 years to cultivate a "high class atmosphere." We should be the most polite of all groups; our good manners should match the quality of our equipment. (Just watch, I'm going to catch some flak from that statement, but I don't care.)

    Other than accidental duplicates or completely tasteless questions, if I delete a thread, I will try my best to remember to tell you that it was me. I hope the other moderators will do the same.
  86. You are right Tony. I will tone it down. I just don't like to see these threads being used to bash Bush, America, etc., as happens too often. I feel that when this happens, someone shoould present the opposing point of view.
  87. Eliot,

    I felt this had turned in a political debate before I entered. I admit that is why I posted some of my pics from the rally. Much like Lewis Hine's photographs brought about social change in the child labor laws, photography even today can be a powerful tool. (Maybe with digital retouching too powerful) With some of my pictures I wanted to show that there were more than the "unwashed" concerned about this pending war.

    I learned a few years back when taking a history of photography class how our prejudcices affect how we interpt what we see. There was an exhibit of various women photographers at the Women's Museum. One image was of a Barbie doll on a "beach" of french frys. One classmate could not see the art or message in the image. He was not aware of Bulimia or Anarexia(sp.). That tainted his view, for once he knew about the intended message did he at least accept what the photographer was trying to say.

    In regards to no anti-Sadam posters at the rally. Yes the rally was aimed at Bush and his administration. For they were Americans for the most part, trying to effect a change in government policy. Just as days later others met at the Supreme Court to affect changes on another matter. I don't think that anyone at the rally really thought Sadam was a good man. But I am sure that many from various ministries there would say that two wrongs do not make a right.

    So long as we refrain from name calling, and school yard trash talk; any dialoge from these images are healthy. I sincerely hope that you and otehrs that disagree with my view points have noted that I have remained very civil. You all are not "loony" "jerks" that are "unwashed" "commies" as some have tried to protray those of us that want to avoid the war on Iraq as teh Bush adminstration would want. So long as we are members of the UN, we need to abide by that charter. That is what the protesters were asking for.

    For myself I did not spend too much time following the whole issue, other than the sound bites on TV; or the first coouple of paragraphs in the papers. I came away from teh rally and my images with a thirst to know more. The more I read, the more I saw the reason behind their arguments.

    Do I hope that I change your mind? Yes. But do I think that I will change your mind? No. But maybe someone like myself that was disconnected as I was will see our discussions and make up their own minds.

    Happy snaps

  88. Thank you Tony. I hope that I have remained civil in this discourse. I have enjoyed many of the commenst coming from both sides here. And I hope that this will not end up being deleted.

    Again thanks

  89. Samir, my posts were intended to expose the hypocrisy of many [NOT ALL] of the "anti-war" protesters who were, in fact, anti-Bush protesters. They were not intended to show enthusiastic support for the war. I, myself, do have some misgivings about going to war. Nevertheless, I think it will be a short war, and when it was over, there will be more than adequate proof found that Saddam is/was amassing WMD and was collaborating with Al Qaeda. Then those who opposed the war will [if they are intellectually honest] have to admit the administration was correct.

    As far as post-war Iraq, I believe the administration when it says it does not wish to occupy Iraq, only to provide a platform so that post-Saddam self government is possible. I don't believe Americans are occupiers. If we were occupiers and just wanted the oil, we would have marched into Baghdad during the last war and taken it. The U.S. President then was also named George Bush (the father), and he keot his promise not to take over Iraq for the benefit of Americ's oil needs.
  90. Eliot,

    Hope that this is not crossing aline with Tony or yourself. But your last comment about bashing Bush or America. Maybe I missed something, but I did not see that in this thread. One of the joys and liberties we have in the US is the freedom of speech and assembly. Our founding had some very good foresight in allowing the citizens to have a voice in their government. Without it women would not have had the right to vote, the African American would not have the right to vote, both Nixon and Clinton would not have been held accountable for their actions. Every party has "bashed" the sitting party, and indirectly America. But that is the price of freedom.

    The government needs to held accountable for their actions. Remember it's "We the people.." not "We the privilaged few...". Healthy discourse whether through pictures or words is part of our heritage. The Patriot Act has taken some of that away. Lets not further erode what we have left.

    A side note - I have enjoyed some of your counter points, particularly those of reason rather than passion. Lets agree to disagree; and hope that all world powers come to the table before body bags are brought home on all lands.

  91. Appeasement worked so well with 1930's Germany. Let's try that some more. If anyone cares, Thomas Sowell had a good piece on just that.
  92. What makes some of us angry with the anti-war folks is that we think that ALL
    people deserve freedom and Democracy! Not just us here in the USA. When
    we look at a country like Iraq, with no free press, no right to vote and being run
    by a dictator we just can't figure how not standing up to such a person can or
    will ever make the lives of the Iraq people better! Our freedom was hard
    fought for. And believe it or not, we are not all miss or uninformed. Maybe we
    just find our information from different sources. I watch the news feed from the
    middle east on my sat-dish on a very regular basis. (A program called Mosaic)
    What you see is clearly propaganda. They love to show all the peace folks
    and use them to bolster their own arguments. I am also very cynical of world
    events covered by our own news media. Anyway, I should have known better
    then to get involved in this discussion, I have found these online arguments
    never lead anywhere!
  93. Robert,

    My heart bleeds for you. How you must have suffered when the Chinese marched into Tibet and began their slaughter of a million Tibetans and took away their dignity, freedoms and culture and the US did, and still does nothing. Or how about the massacres in Rawanda, another million dead and savage repression and the US insisting that the UN refrain from descibing it as genocide.

    Or all these years, in one of NATO's staunchest allies, Turkey, where their army has been macine gunning Kurds in their villages for years, or even now, while the the blacks in South Sudan are being eradicated by the northern Muslims.

    Truth is you must have suffered so badly for so long since there are dozens of examples, all over the world where similar or even worse oppression than in Iraq is occuring but the compassionate and fellow feeling US government either stands and watches or even finances the oppressors. Poor you, perhaps you could complain to your government if your fellow feeling is running so high?
  94. Garvey,
    Comparing Irak with Germany in the 30s is stupid. First Germany was a super
    power, not a developing country that can be smashed in 2 weeks. Second
    any suggestion that Saddam is like Hitler is non sense, because whatever
    Saddam's crimes, there no where close to Hitler's...doing so is banalizing
    Hitler crimes...

    You should read the following editorial in the Washington Post:

    in which the auther says rightly:

    "The final box is more or less speculation on my part: that Bush has been sold
    a scenario in which he gets to play hero thwarting a threat to civilization as we
    know it. It's like having had the prescience and the gumption to eliminate
    Hitler before the devastation of World War II. What's missing is that you cannot
    demonstrate before the fact that either Hitler or Hussein is such a menace to

    And to kill before that evidence is in may prompt history to remember you
    more as an international bully than as a hero. "
  95. There is a moral question relevant to us Leica environmental (or "street") photographers in this discussion that I would like to address. Before launching into this, please allow me a little house cleaning.

    I would like to first of all respectfully give Eliot the last word in our discussion. Second, I'd like to share the following that I received from "Webmaster":

    "Dear Alex Shishin,
    Your post on Discussion Forums has expired and has been removed. The original post and all responses are being emailed to you as a courtesy. Thanks for using"

    Draw your own conclusions. I say this is the polite language of censorship. And taking this as a forewarning of what I might encounter in the US these days I will not be photographing bridges when I visit.

    Now the moral question.

    How do we photograph demonstations with which we disagree? If you are pro-Bush and pro-war what are your moral responsibilities in photographing an anti-war demonstration? Or if you are pro-abortion and anti-war how do you photograph an anti-abortion or a pro-war demonstration?

    There is an obvious answer: Be objective. But is there really such a thing? We can force ourselves into neutral. We might even try to be sympathetic. But is that realistic-- and honest?

    It hits me that I have never attented a demonstration that was pushing something I opposed. In the Vietnam War days, when I did not even own a camera, there were good safety reasons for avoiding the opposition's demonstations. Anti-war and pro-war people actually were identifiably different, even without buttons with slogans. The anti-war people tended to look like hippies and the pro-war people tended to look like Joe Superstraights. Look at old photos of that era and you'll see what I mean. These days people are less indentifiable by how they dress and what they do with their hair. This means you can "crash" your opponents' demonstrations and blend in.

    So you there are: You hate what you are seeing and hearing and you have your camera in hand. What do you do?

    This should give those of us who have gone at each other here some common ground.
  96. Your right Robert Clark, your the only person living left with any compassion!
    I'm personally responsible for all the suffering in the world, Saddam is a
    saint... and on it goes!
  97. 0,5478,5921220%5E663,00.html
  98. Robert [Clark]. Regarding the examples you gave, of course the USA cannot right every wrong that occurs throughout the world, and there are many, in addition to the ones you mentioned. Therefore, there have to be additional cirteria, two of which are: 1) can it be done (ie., is the contemplated action feasible)? and 2) is it in the national interests of the US. Yes, national interests is an important criterion. Obviously, we cannot take on the Chinese Army for the sake of Tibet, but I myself would have liked to see the US speak out more forcefully than it did on this issue.

    Next, good intentions don't always turn out well. President Bush (the father) tried to provide food for Somalians, and Clinton extended the mission to nation-building. You and I are well aware of how that turned out. One does what one is able in this world. It is often not enough.
  99. Alex,

    I think it depends on why you are photographing that rally. In my case on Jan. 18th I had set out to show both camps. Distance and weather kept me from the counter rally down near the Vietnam Memorial. I wanted to catch the depth of the crowds. I think that I suceeded in the Anti-War rally of showing the diversity of people. It was after tha rally that I discovered just how I ended up feeling on this particular issue.

    A photographer can go out to show just what he wants. I could have easliy stayed away from the young hippy types. But they were as much a part of teh rally as the father who lost his daughter at Shanksville PA on 9-11, or the group from Minn.. It all really depends on the honesty of your message that "you" want to deliver.

    Photojournalism and documentary photography carries a responsibility. How one handles that responsibility is how one will be judged in the end. It sounds trite, but I subscribe to "do unto others as you would have others do unto you". That is why I find more statisfaction in the Straight Photography School.

    Good question though, and hopefully it will spark some creative discussion.

    Happy snaps...

  100. Eliot,

    But how are we to decide who is worthy of our military? Keep in mind many of the previous actions were taken when the economy was stronger than it is today; both in the US and abroad. Many question not taking a stronger stand on Korea since the threat is even worse to US interests that Iraq. Dare I say the word that we all have danced around? It boils down to the interests of Irseal and Big Oil. I myself (and I am sure others) are worried that a war with Iraq will only fuel the terrorists hatered toward the US.

    While I pray daily that the war on terrorism will be won; I am afraid we have to be honest with ourselves. Such a war is unwinnable. The enemy has no true homeland. No true standing army. No true government which to negoiate with.

    Maybe we need to remember what our parents taught us. Sometimes it is the bigger person to walk away from a fight. Just as in these forums when someone becomes unrational, you can tell the bigger people by their backing away or their calm words.

    It also brings to mind that we are taught that you can't fix other peoples problems, as long as you have problems at home. Funny as we age how we remember what our parents taught us. And they think we weren't listening.

    Thanks Mom. Thanks Dad. Your words did reach me.

  101. "Garvey, Comparing Irak with Germany in the 30s is stupid. First Germany was a super power."

    Hitler systematically violated the Treaty of Versailles, and every time that he did, the int'l community appeased him. The size of the German army was 900K in 1936--big, but not anywhere near the 18M the eventually fought in WWII. If France, Britain, and the rest had showed any spine and invaded the Rhinelands in 1936, then untold millions may have been spared.

    Anyway, I don't want to get into a whole Hitler thing. My point was, negotiating with despots does nothing except embolden them.

    And don't be fooled by the peace rhetoric of France et al. As long as they keep getting oil while Saddam is free to reign terror on his own people, they want the status quo. They are worried about their oil contracts, not about peace. And they know the peace rhetoric plays well in the media, so they are free to use it. The US gov't does not have a monopoly on propaganda.
  102. I hope that all those who approve of a war against Iraq are either in the process of volunteering or encouraging family members to volunteer or -- at least -- making sure that all family members who may be eligible for the draft, if it were to be reinstated, are duly registered with the government. I'd hate to see any hypocrisy about the need and urgency for war.

    Bear in mind that Iraq may well be Act I, Scene I of the Bush team's drive to "reorder" the middle east. Moreover, the Bush hawks can't count on Bush's re-election, so their overall timetable may be somewhat compressed, relative to how outsiders view it. After Iraq, well, there's Syria, there's Saudi Arabia, oh, lots of places to bring democracy. All this -- if I'm right and it's not JUST about Iraq -- will require far more enforcers than we presently have in the uniformed services. I'd say that chances of a draft are more than 50/50 in the next two years. We'll see.

    Whatever happens, when the rubber hits the road, all those in favor of a war might want to keep a case of Pepto-Bismal handy, because things might not work out as well as planned in the middle east, or at home.

    The anti-war demonstrations will get interesting. Photographing them will be a real challenge.

  103. I must jump in here.

    Eliot, these lefties have hijacked the forum for their political agenda. Ignore them. In a different thread I suggested to Tony to form a "Hate America" thread where these "Leica Photographers" can have the time of their lives agreeing with each other about how awful and simple minded you, me, and Robert are. Nobody more closed minded than a liberal/leftist. I used to think they were limosine liberals, but not they are "Leica Liberals" I've seen your contributions to the forum and appreciate your insight.

    Robert,I love your running editorial pictures. If pictures speak thousands of words, your words require scientific notation to tally. It's very clever how you have channeled your statements to pictures to give a point of view.

    America Haters...a better man than me once said something to the effect of..."All that is required for evil to flourish in the world is for good men to do nothing." Yak, Yak, cite, Yak, degrade "Bush", yak somemore. Claim the moral superiority and moral high ground. Saddam and his kind love you for it.
  104. "Funny as we age how we remember what our parents taught us. And they
    think we weren't listening. "

    Saddam was raised by an Uncle that supported Hitler during WW2.

    " I hope that all those who approve of a war against Iraq are either in the
    process of volunteering or encouraging family members to volunteer or -- at
    least -- making sure that all family members who may be eligible for the draft,
    if it were to be reinstated, are duly registered with the government."

    It's the law that 18 year old MALES must register with the Selective Service.

    "I'd hate to see any hypocrisy about the need and urgency for war. "

    Since the Anti-War folks do not use oil or oil based products, it must be a long
    walk to the Anti-War rallies!
  105. Saddam was raised by an Uncle that supported Hitler during WW2
    Bush Sr. was raised by a father who supported - and financed - Hitler. I did want to point that out.
  106. A number of people have pointed out a few of the more obvious motives for this drive to war: Oil, rearrangement of the Middle East to suit the West better, defence of Israel, election campaining. No doubt there are some very mixed motives here. No doubt from an American/British strategic point of view they all make sense.

    What amazes me, and this was the point of my last post, which seems to have been missed, are the number of those chaps here who still want to believe it has anything to do with morality.

    To those who want to see democracy and fairness spread in the world - a noble sentiment - just look at America's superpower record (Nicaragua, Guatemala, Chile, Panama, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Palestine etc. etc.) Be honest, the moral motive has not been paramount. This war is all about the perceived strategic interests of the US and its allies and what they can get away with. Perhaps these demonstrations and the attempt to photograph them are an attempt to bring morality back into the picture. Not just as kant and rethoric - a little apeasement to the good people of America, so they can still think that the leaders they have elected (sic) are just - but as a genuine issue to be discussed and debated.

    Whatever the iniquities of Saddam Hussein, this is NOT the reason why he will be attacked, so please don't insult our intelligence by claiming that it is.

    Getting rid of Saddam may be good for a lot of people. Bombing the hell out of Iraqi people in order to do so is at the very least highly morally questionable. The powers that want this to happen will no doubt assure their public that this will all be done as tidily as possible and collateral damage (thousands of deaths) will be kept to a minimum.

    I am with George Kennedy here, I also see this as Act 1, Scene 1 of a badly written tragedy.
  107. Just a point about oil here (I'm not sure what this' got to do with photography but I'll try to work something in). It's a commodity sold in a world-wide market. Although for specific purposes such as getting the right mix of gasoline and heating oil for northeastern states during the winter it may, in the short run, make a small difference where supplies come from, in the long run it doesn't matter at all where supplies come from for whatever consumer purpose in whichever consuming nation. Unless there is a huge uptick in demand for oil by some subset of world demand, local demand will not affect price. Similarly, no producer can set prices because as soon as they try to charge a non-market equilibrium price consumers go elsewhere or other suppliers come on-line. In other words, it makes no difference who controls Iraq's oil, because they aren't going to be able to charge anything other than the going world price. This is economics 101, or at least basic economics in a decent Master's program. It's just simple economic fact, all the rhetoric about security of oil supplies to the contrary.

    Having said that, there's another point to consider: Anybody who thinks that an invasion of Iraq will pay for itself through the oil that we appropriate may be making a huge mistake. Indeed, my guess is that the net cost will run into hundreds of billions of dollars. I happen to know that some senior government economists privately share this view. One might argue that Larry Lindsey lost his job (he was the White House's top economic advisor until he was recently thrown overboard, for those of you who didn't know) precisely over this issue, when he started talking about the costs of a war in Iraq.

    Mind you, this would be before the Iraqis blow up the wellheads, which would require about a year to fix (repairs on blown wellheads in Kuwait took about a year and a half after the first Gulf war). If the fields aren't functioning when we take them over the overall costs will be even greater.

    Back to the demonstrations, then. One reason that they are so interesting is precisely because there is this huge gap between what people can think for themselves and what they get told -- about, for example, oil, as the above simple discussion reveals -- by the corporate establishment. In demonstrating, people are expressing their views, their independent critical thinking ability, in the only possible way that they can, since their voices are shut out of political debate at every other level. There may be a simulation of debate on television, but it is for the benefit only of political insiders, and involves nothing substantial to speak of, just the posturings of various insider factions in their jockying amongst themselves for power. No connection whatever to ordinary people. It's particularly distressing to see this simulacrum regurgitated by the ignorant then, as if it were a meaningful process to them. But I would suggest that unless one is out and about on the street, either anti-war or in favor of it, one's opinions mean little or nothing. Except in, as one poster above noted quite properly, the sense that they contribute to one's personal moral universe.

    Which I guess would call for some portrait shots. Wouldn't you love to get Pat Robertson into the studio for a portrait while he talks about Muslims?

  108. David,

    Let me say that first that I am not attacking you. You raised some points that I would like discuss.

    You wrote :"...these lefties have hijacked the forum for their political agenda.". By my count of this thread we have about 62 messages that were neutral (meaning that they had to do with pictures taken, techniques, general housekeeping, and I even counted the "editorial" photographs in this), 30 were from people like myself that question the need to rush to war. 29 were from people like yourself that support the Bush adminstration. So I don't see where the "hijacking" is coming from.

    What is interesting is that those on the right have used terms like "lefties", "jerks", and the such. While the "lefties" IMO have tried to maintain a higher ground and explain rationally their feelings against the war on Iraq.

    I don't hate America, contrary I love America. That is why I exercise the rights given to me by the founding fathers to voice my opinion to my government. Remember it is "We the People...". Our government was never meant to be governed by the sole will of a few.

    You also wrote: "Nobody more closed minded than a liberal/leftist.". I assume that you use "liberal/leftist" to denote those on the left side of the political spectrum. As opposed to "liberal-leftist" that would be on the extreem left of the spectrum (and are not generally "accepted" by those on the left). I find that surprising since the liberal IMO is interested more in finding a middle ground for all concerened. While it is true that there are those that are closed minded, I beleive those are n the minority. Now it may be my "liberal" bias, but I find far more people on the right that seem closed minded. Just look at some of the postings in this thread.

    It dismays me that when the liberal tries to make his voice heard and counted, they are branded as "America Hater's". I have never heard a liberal say that a conservative is an "America hater" when the conservative is making their voice heard. I guess so much for the party of "inclusion". We can be included only if we agree, and give up our rights to make ourselves heard.

    Finally no one is trying to "degrade" Bush. Again our founding fathers wanted the people to hold their leaders accountable for their actions. That is all the anti-war folk want. While those on the extreem left would like to see Bush go, they are a minority of the voices that want retstraint before we act. Why bother going to the UN to get a colalition of nations to support an action and not wait till that body has done its work? The administration keeps talking of "proof"; but none is shown yet. Maybe next weeks visit by Powell will give us "lefties" the proof we need that body bags coming home is the right thing to do.

  109. It is true that the costs of this potential war might be higher than the benefits,
    but what matters is how these costs and benefits are shared: most of the
    burden of the war will fall on the US taxpayer, while most of the benefits will
    go to he shareholders of the big oil companies (US or non-US) and those
    companies that will get contracts in the reconstruction of Irak. This is without
    factor in the human costs of the war.
  110. On oil again.Check page 4 of this Deutshche Bank report on Esso...

    "ExxonMobil’s status as the largest US oil company gives it a
    major political weight with the US government. As the de-facto leader of global oil negotiations on Saudi Arabian re-entry, the company may also benefit from new positions in Russia and may find itself in pole position in a changed-regime Iraq."


    Oil is maybe not high in the agenda to war but it is a factor one cannot overlook (Russia and France eventually will go along the US only because they do want to have a piece of the cake).
  111. Britain financed its colonial enterprise in India entirely through taxes on residents and entities on the subcontinent and through the acquisition of local resources and know-how. When the British government bought and dissolved the British East India company (the capitalist advance guard of colonial occupation), it added the charge to India's own account--thus Indians (and, through history, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis) footed the bill for their own subjugation.

    Did the Raj provide substantial benefits to the local people? Yes--a federal republic, universal suffrage, a nominally capitalist economy, extensive infrastructure, a broad system of education, etc.

    Did the Raj exact a brutal cost, the long-term effects of which may take generations to resolve? Yes--a seemingly intractible (and nuclear armed) border dispute with Pakistan, continually unresolved tensions among religious groups that claim thousands of lives annually, an unwieldy government bureaucracy that stifles economic growth and prevents development. And, let's not forget, a death toll in the hundreds of thousands, after 200 years of colonial occupation and the suppression of dissent, along with the bloodletting in the population transfer between India and Pakistan in 1947.

  112. Robert,
    Where do you get all these pictures from? Are they your own? I like them...
  113. Yes Samir, all the images are ones that I have done over the years. I just
    want to add that I am a "political" person and even if I disagree with what
    some of you think, I do enjoy the discourse!

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