Dispatches | March 02, 2009

Here’s TMR Intern Scott Scheese’s reaction to the screening of Richard Parry’s film.

Blood Trail directed by <a href="Richard Parry


Blood Trail centers on the work of freelance war photographer Robert King. The film shows King’s transition from a frightened and inexperienced nobody in Bosnia to a widely published and reliable correspondent in Iraq. A heavy dose of guile and booze transform him into an artist in a theater of terror.

But is snapping shots of burning bodies and French troops with prostitutes (King’s first big break) art?  Does the work of a war correspondent involve expression, creativity, and imagination? Of course it does.

First, King’s photos express the conditions of a people. The film shows some of King’s work concerning alcohol abuse in Russia. One photo displays a group of young (they look to be at least under the age of twelve) children drinking beer. Next, King constantly had to find ways to show the people back in the States the toils of war in a new and creative way. He took on the stories no one else was covering: French troop involvement with prostitutes and the conditions of the frontline. Finally, King used his imagination to find the right shot. He captured the French troops mingling with prostitutes from an abandoned bus. Often, King immersed himself in the culture of the Russian clubs.

            However, the characteristic that legitimizes King as an artist the most is arguably his suffering. The art family has a fascination with the tortured artist. We regard Frida Kahlo, Beethoven, and Hemingway highly because of their tribulations. The artist tormented to death, Sylvia Plath for instance, maybe even lures us more. Does the key to the expression, creativity, and imagination of art lie in personal tragedy? Does an artist have to suffer to create?