It didn’t take Freyja long to realize corpses didn’t make interesting subjects. Death, like porn, was titillating but in reality it quickly became boring. A corpse was basically a carcass, unless, of course you knew it when it was alive. Headless corpses were totally depersonalized.
Grieving relatives made interesting subjects up to a point. The problem was to make the public, reading the magazine in their dentist’s office, relate to the grief. Freyja knew that was almost impossible since having someone close to you die violently was like so many things in life - you had to actually experience it to be able to relate to it. It was for most people, as it was for her, an out of context emotion.
Bad guys made interesting subjects. They had a sense of the dramatic, their swagger, their tattoos of Santa Muerte, the iconic grim-reaper figure worshiped widely in Mexico’s criminal underworld. But it was tough to get good detail with a telephoto from a position where you wouldn’t be noticed. And you didn’t want to be noticed because these guys really didn’t like having their pictures taken.
Freyja found she could better illustrate emotions by taking pictures of recognizable, everyday items ordinary people could relate to - and show them tainted with death. Things like an article of clothing – a baseball cap with a single hole in it, a muscle shirt emblazoned with a popular sports team logo shredded by bullets, an empty Nike running shoe splatter with dark spots.
Klein had particularly liked her shot of a pair of legs sticking out from beneath a kitchen table that was set for dinner, tortillas still on the plate. Another that had been ‘fronted’ was of a picture of the Madonna hanging on a wall, the wall riddled with bullet holes, the glass splattered with blood.
The Lion King lunch box covered with gore on the front seat of an ambushed SUV went too far even for the hardcore Europeans.
Freyja tried to view each murder, multiple murders, or wholesale slaughter as a photographic challenge. Placing the lens between her and the victims gave her distance, allowed her to cope.
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