Police officer with wounded demonstrator at San Francisco State, 1968 DAVID HUME KENNERLY A pajama -clad president in Tokyo, 1974 DAVID HUME KENNERLY might drive a person to action. So if that action would cost a person his or her job, then perhaps it becomes better not to knowor at least to acknowledge, even to oneself what one suspects. In another instance, Kennelly recalls covering student demonstrations at San Francisco State. He mentions that S.F. State pres ident S.I. Hayakawa was brought in ostensibly to calm the situation. But Kennerly doesn’t mention that Hayakawa was a right-wing ideologue, whose presence would likely lead to more unrest. Instead, he describes Hayakawa’s manner of dress. We are left with the impression that the students got what they deserved at the hands of the police. Yet, despite Kennerly’s seemingly willful obtuseness, his photographof a policeman pointing his revolver at unarmed students who are backing awayis chilling. Another picture shows a student, blood covering his face, being held in an armlock by a helmeted police officer. Kennerly’s photographs persistently reveal more than their author, and perhaps that’s as it should be. In brief, Kennerly’s world viewor rather, his apparent lack of onedoes not alter the situation in his documentary photographs. Whatever his own perspective, he was professionally driven to make telling photographs. Sometimes they aren’t as revealing as he believes, but others are more revealing than even he seems to know. They exist as a record of actual events, not merely “photo-ops” or ego aggrandizements, and they deserve their honored place here at U.T.’s Center for American History, and in other archives. But there remains an undeniable dark side to Kennerly, this perennial teenager with a camera. He is not, as James Earl Jones comments in considering Kennerly’s witness to history, “Forrest Gump with a camera.” Forrest Gump was intellectually unable to understand the forces that moved him around. David Hume Kennerly refuses to understand, because he works for those forces. They give him his access. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.