“Photoshop,” was my immediate response, followed by “I wonder what crap Hollywood movie this is from”, when I saw this photo (note this is quite a disturbing photograph!). And then I read the caption, and it turns out it’s a real photo, it’s a real person: “A French woman badly disfigured by facial tumours caused by a rare and incurable disease has appealed to President Nicolas Sarkozy to allow her to die by euthanasia. In an interview with the Agence France-Presse news agency, former school teacher Chantal Sebire, 52, begged for the right to end the ‘atrocious’ suffering inflicted on her by the disease which has rendered her face unrecognisable because of growing tumours.” (story)
It would seem that we can’t look at portraiture without all the pre-conditioning kicking in, working on us and our reactions. In a world, hyper-saturated with Photoshopped imagery and movies, as if the world was ruled by teenage boys (to a large extent, it does indeed appear to be catered to them), actual, real images lose their significance, and it does take the full verbal assault to force us away from our usual reactions, to bring out what we would ordinarily think our normal reaction is and should be: Oh my God, that poor woman.
(to be continued…)
Earlier parts: one