Saturday, 8 January 2011

Banot im roveim

נחום, the always funny compulsive reader of this humble blog, has posted a link to this site on Usenet, apparently asking for comment. Rachel Papo is an Israeli-American photographer with a rather good résumé (she had her work published in several magazines). Her magnum opus (or at least the one who raised the attention of my funny reader) is Serial No. 3817131.According to Ms. Papo notes, she went back to the army base where she served a few years earlier, to document the alienation of the younger israeli women soldiers. Mmm, really? My funny friend thinks it's a - pun intend - complete ...misfire: the documentation effort of a pacifist turning out to be sheer propaganda for Tsahal. 
I don't second that opinion: I don't believe Papo is a pacifist, she probably only had some qualms finding something to write for the liner notes of her book. Her ..aim was (in my opinion) simply to present some original, captivating pictures. If she really was a pacifist, she could have, say, used more sharp angles, high contrast black and white images. Cruder settings. Better yet, she could have framed her subject not only reharsing or frolicking  around. She could have shown some real action. Like, in Cast Lead. Or the Second Lebanon war. It's not the boy (or girl) toys that pacifist propaganda make, it's the real effects of warfare on the flesh and blood of soldiers and civilians that really show what 'nationalism' - to use Rachel Papo words - is all about.

Let's dismiss nahum's opinionated views, and Papo's righteous liner notes: it's a ..body of work of pretty pictures about conscripted women israeli soldiers. Some of the photos look candid enough (e.g. this and this, and also this). They seem to be genuine samples of military service life. What you're looking at are average young girls without makeup doing their daily chores. Mildly interesting, but hardly exciting, after a few ..shots. Now look at this: do you really need an assault rifle when you are wearing slippers and talking on the phone? This could conceivably be after target practice, but this other ? Come on girl, that M16 is bigger than you, and you're going out to smoke a cigarette. You're in shorts and a tank top. Oh, the gun is without the magazine, it's fastened to your pants. Some of the settings are a bit less cinema vérité, something like showing a young Queen Elizabeth in military fatigues.Oh, and do Israeli women soldiers really travel using public transportation with their rifle positioned in THIS WAY? Really, is there any strategic need for this? Isn't it a bit dangerous?  Oh, and it looks like that for these young women socializing is akin to teen slumber parties, see this and also this.

They're goohhrgeous, and the testosterone is up in the male and lesbian audience, but is the IDF approving?

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