Reviews & Profiles

Getting the perfect protest shot

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By Christine W. Wanjala

Posted  Thursday, December 5  2013 at  02:00

There have been quite a number of dramatic pictures on the press. Many are of police restraining unruly members of the public. I do not want to get into the who, why or what. others before me have done that exhaustively.

It is the subjects of these pictures that I have a bone to pick with. How do you let yourself get caught up like that? If social media has taught us anything, it is that a photo is not only worth a thousand words, it is worth a thousand likes. So if your picture is going to be taken, then it had better be like worthy.

Apparently, the main stars of recent events have not heard this. The way they were caught with the most unflattering grimaces and in very uncomfortable looking situations! It is shameful to say the least. I think it is time I passed on some vital information on being photographed 101 if you are going to be in a protest, or a scuffle with the police.

Step 1
Think carefully and admit that things may get ugly. Also admit that despite that, you are determined not to look ugly in the pictures. Now here is the crossroads where the roles differ. Members of the uniformed forces turn right, the others, turn left.

Step 2
For those on the right, your uniform is just fine. What do you use to secure it? Eeeeeh the thing does not move even in the roughest apprehensions! Could you care to share some of that intelligence with the civilians you arrest so we are spared the sight of their underwear and hanging bellies?

For those on the left, the officers may not be so forthcoming. But we will make do. Get on your best underwear, something you would not be mortified, or at least the degree of mortification would be survivable if the whole world saw, if it was shared 1000 times.

Now put on your clothes and remember three things. Secure, secure, secure. A strong rhinoceros hide belt may be the best but if you do not have time to procure one, tie your fake leather tighter than usual. You can do without proper breathing as you have probably learnt the zillion times you have been doused with teargas.

Step 3
Those on the right, remember this is not just a photo opportunity. It is your Jack Bauer moment if you will ever have one. This picture will be a constant reminder that you are working. Your face, should bear a focused expression, straight into the camera. If you must grimace, do it like an action hero, with your jaw clenched and sinews in your neck rising but keep your eyes open. It is hard to maintain when you are dealing with a person resisting arrest but that is the cost of a good photo!(And probably a promotion).

Those on the left, you are a victim. It does not matter if you walked right into the police or blatantly flaunted rules. When people analyse the photo, you are the victim. I suggest you watch a few Mexican soaps to get tips on how to convey a dramatic look without looking ugly. No, Nigerian films please! Aaaah abeg, no looking like you just licked a lemon! You can fight valiantly, or try to, but make sure your eyes are open and look into the camera as often as possible. Whatever you do, stay upright, as recent research has shown, there is no glamorous or dignified way of being carried upside down, or being lifted by the backside. If all this too hard for you, then just take a selfie once in a while and post! At least that is on your terms!