The most poignant observation raised by this body of work however, is not about Nelson, it’s about ourselves. That this photographic collection was so readily and uncritically celebrated by such a large audience in the media, the photography community and beyond is troubling and requires reflection. We are no longer in the golden era of salvage ethnography. At this point we know that exaggerated, exoticized representations of any classification of people carry with them a subtle condescension and a false force of othering. Yet, why is a critical eye not applied by many viewers of Nelson’s work? What is this strange admiration of authenticity that romantic “tribal” images readily tap into? Do they make us feel more advanced? Do we need to counter the perceived boredom of our “modern” lives with something exotic and different? The answer is not entirely clear.
"when it comes to accountability, the blinds come down. There is no scrutiny of our deportation programme. There is just silence, and behind that: barbarism."
“RM felt that the power of Big Media was akin to the power to raise a private army, and he says this with reference to feudalism. Feudalism couldn’t end while the state relied on the barons for mobilisation, and while they controlled mobilisation, they would make sure it didn’t. He may mean that private power over media is to the capitalism of the 1990s (when he was writing) as private power over mobilisation was to feudalism.
RM argues that it’s primarily about power. He doesn’t really take a view about planning vs markets, or if he does I’ve not reached it yet. Whether economic life is dominated by organisations or markets or something else is a secondary point. What matters are the terms of trade between the actors in it. He was very well aware of the criticisms of planned economies and also of Attlee/Nehru nationalised industries. The rigged market is as much an instrument of violence as Gosplan.”