Dear readers of Hi Tricia, hello again! I've been traveling for two months and finally am now back in the states. I have lots of posts to write about my work and play in India, China and Sweden - and some cities in between - but honestly i've been so overwhelmed with all the stories I want to tell that I just haven't been able to pull myself together to do it until I had all my thousands of photos uploaded to my flickr!
Now that I am almost done with uploading my photos, I came across one of the photos that I had uploaded earlier this summer on my way to India - and this photo pissed me off so much when I saw it that I knew this would be the photo that would get my blogging self back into the webosphere!
I saw this Canon advertisement of the Maasai (often misspelled Masai), a semi-nomadic group in Kenya and Northern Tanzania.
I was deboarding the plane when I saw this photo light box on my 12 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany en route to India. As I was taking a picture, a group of German males in their 30's came up to me and said, "that's a pretty cool picture huh?" They paused at my side to reflect on how "cool" the photo was. I was shocked but too jet-lagged to respond. All I coujld think of doing in that was to knock them over.
THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS WRONG WITH THIS CANON LIGHT BOX ADVERTISEMENT!!!! WHERE DO I BEGIN! hmmm help me on this one if I miss anything! I am too upset to even write in full sentences:
1.) portrayal of Africans as "tribal" without any context, and contrasting their tribalness Canon "western" technology
2.) invasion of the African body through Western technology, the X-ray
3.) the capitalistic and exploitive use of African bodies for Western consumption
4.) problematic boundaries over the visual and symbolic exploitation of African male genitals (referring to the male in the front with the x-ray over his pelvis)
5.) technology as triumphing over more "traditional" lifestyles
6.) technology as more revealing and useful than indigenous knowledge
7.) highlighting the notion that Westerners bring englightening technology to "backward, tribal hunters" Africans
8.) a return to colonial relationships and images
9.) exoticizng the "tribal" through technology
10.) ignoring the complexity of issues that the Maasai and their surrounding communities are undergoing