Beside Santa Monica Pier

I think these children have picked up rubbish on the beach beside the Santa Monica pier.

Their clothing declares an affiliation with the US Navy – perhaps they are Sea Cadets.

The crosses to the left are a weekly installation sponsored by the Veterans for Peace.

If you want to know more about the installation, check out Melinda Green Harvey’s post where she made the crosses the main subject of her photographs (link here) and provided links for more information.

I did not go down the stairs and have a closer look at this installation.

As a Canadian I often am made uncomfortable by hyper-patriotism and aggressive nationalism that emanates across the border from our neighbours to the south.

So I avoided what I thought was one of those genuflections to the glories of war.

I was, after all, trying to be relaxed and take good photos and I didn’t think such a subject would serve that purpose.

Had I known it was an installation promoting peace, I would have had a closer look.

But I only learned of the true nature of the crosses when I read Melinda’s post.

It’s a lesson about not jumping to conclusions, especially those based on close-minded assumptions.

Perhaps the future implied in a photograph of navy cadets beautifying the setting of a monument to peace is a satisfactory representation of this installation, even if I made it without conscious design.

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Click the photograph for a larger version.

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7 thoughts on “Beside Santa Monica Pier

  1. You were focused on photography, and I too can understand your cringing at American demonstrations of nationalism….not until my son enlisted in the Marines did I have any tolerance at all for all that, but then things changed, especially when he was sent off to Afghanistan! It’s interesting how fluid our emotions and reactions can be. I like the group of people with their bags, it does look like they were cleaning up, and their different postures are nice…as are the different angles in the boardwalk and elsewhere, and the soft colors.

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    • Hi Lynn, I understand a bit (I lost a cousin in Afghanistan, he was in the Royal Marines). I recoil from that kind of nationalism because it is so often inflexible and not fluid and potentially dangerous. That is why I am a bit embarrassed that my recoil and attendant inflexibility prevented me from finding out more about this installation. Even more so because another cousin is an active member of veterans for peace (a group that welcomes his participation even though he was a draft dodger in Canada during the Vietnam war).

      I did wait for those kids to arrange themselves nicely – I have a couple of other shots where they overlap and clump together that are not nearly as satisfying as this one. The colours ARE very nice, thanks to the cloudy sky. I think a strong blue sky would not be friendly to this photograph.

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  2. I understand that hyper nationalism would make you uncomfortable, as it does me. It is easy to jump to conclusions, but not so easy to admit to having done so, I think. Your commentary makes the photo so interesting and poignant, Mr E.

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