Photographs by Enrique Metinides.
Ridinghouse, London, 2003. 114 pp., black-and-white and color illustrations, 9¾x10¾".
There is a lot of talk in these post–Big Brother, high technology days of a surveillance society in which our every move is recorded, analyzed and filed. Retinal scanners, facial recognition, satellite tracking; a nonstop otherworld existence lived out by digitized Doppelgangers in hi-def, on-demand, instant replay. It is getting to be so that it is hard to picture the true-to-life legend of preteen Enrique Metinides sleeping next to the crackle of an emergency services scanner, his small body tuned to the pangs that riddle the voices of the distressed, the shouted commands that meant Mexico City (or at least some of its citizen’s) had fallen into chaos, despair and violence, his young finger twitching in anticipation of working the shutter. For three decades, before spectacle and media manipulation were passé topics for philosophical pretenders, Metinides captured death and disaster in the streets of Mexico, always using the view through his lens to mediate between the world he had been shown—action movies, gangster films, comic frames—and the one he saw—police shootouts, car wrecks, plane crashes, suicides, earthquakes. Published originally in sensationalist tabloids bent on maximizing gore, the photographs are a different experience entirely when seen as the original, uncropped exposures. The cinematic narrative and jarring humanity displayed in the full field of Metinides’ eye in fact subvert the tabloid construct they were used in and instead reveal a simple and remarkable, if desperately difficult, low-tech and sensitive view of the world. You may think infrared security cameras are a force in the world, but keep your eye on the twelve year old with the point-and-shoot. ZANE FISCHER
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