Mexican photographer Enrique Metinides, over the course of a long, esteemed career eventually turned his camera from car crashes to corpses. His early work as a tabloid photographer for the local newspaper La Nota Roja was noticed by art curators and eventually found its way into museum halls and exhibitions around the world.
Now retired, 82-year-old Metinides’ life in crime photography is to be immortalised in The Man Who Saw Too Much, a new documentary by Trisha Ziff; one of the British curators who helped his work reach an international audience all those years ago. Ziff believes that a new narrative can be woven from a documentary perspective because it goes beyond the physical photograph; as such, the trailer above touches upon themes involving the image and the obsession.
‘The image’ covers Metinides’ role as a self-proclaimed ‘police journalist’ and his compulsion to capture chaos and tragedy within a single frame. His ability to dissociate from emotion long enough to capture raw tragedy in the face of those who died and the shocked onlookers is what makes his work stand out.
‘The obsession’ takes us into the art exhibition where the repulsion of those taking a first glance at one of Metinides’ photos is captured by a hidden GoPro camera. Here we see that curiosity and interest over the crime scene soon follows.
Ziff notes that her method of working is different to Metinides method of stealing a photograph, because she offers people an art exchange prior to capturing their image with the GoPro.
“That’s what you do when you take a photograph of someone who can’t say ‘no, don’t take my picture’ because they’re either traumatised or dead; you steal. Putting up the backdrop and inviting someone to reveal themselves to my camera criticises that, questions the morality of it and the boundaries to keep.”
The Man Who Saw Too Much was screened at the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival in May 2016, more information about the short film can be found here.