Our economy is in crisis. World markets are faltering. For better or for worse, we stand on the brink of a new era in financial history. And this is the best that photographers can do?
I’ve made a game out of the financial crisis by collecting photos of harried stock brokers. There are a lot of them. It seems to be the only way that a respectable news site can visualize the impending disaster. Reuters even named a recent financial crisis photo bundle “Torment on the Trading Floor,” like it’s some kind of new Madonna album. Photo after photo of stock brokers and wire clerks who look like they’re on the verge of either combusting or vomiting.
The thing is, the people who work on the stock exchange look like that all the time. The market could go up by seven thousand points tomorrow, and they’d all still look like they’re one trade away from heart failure. Trust me on this one. In a world where one botched hand signal means “sell ten thousand” instead of “buy ten thousand,” no one is ever happy. The trading floor is an ungodly pressure cooker even in the best of times. A broker with a worried face is about as dependable as sunrise, and you’d have more luck getting a smile out of the Monstromurk.
The photo of the trader gazing desperately at the ceiling or hunched with his hands shielding his eyes tells me nothing. These poses are just as likely the product of indigestion and sleep deprivation as an impending sense of doom. So please, MSNBC, CNN, and everyone else, find me a new motif. You want to connect with me? Show me the college student who’s wondering what this means for his loans, or the family wondering if they’ll have to declare bankruptcy. Put that in a picture, if you can.