I watched The Killing Fields again recently. As is the way in the modern world, after finishing watching it, I had a poke around on Wikipedia, read some stuff about the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot. On Pol Pot’s page, there’s this photograph of him meeting with Nicolae Ceauşescu:
Original, full-size image here.
I’ve become a wee bit obsessed with this photograph. I’ve looked at it at least once a day since I first saw it. It’s so utterly fascinating. At first I kinda got to wondering why Pol Pot and Ceauşescu would be meeting each other, but I guess all world leaders have something to talk about, some common business interests. I wonder if they talked about their brutalities? I wonder if they were one-upping each other? Or did Ceauşescu not get into that game simply because he knew he’d lose, no matter how big of a twat he was?
I like these official meeting photos, the way they are always kind of the same, but it’s the differences that are fantastic. Here, it’s the potted palms that look like they were dragged into that room 20 minutes before the meeting. The huge curtains look like they are concealing something other than windows. Maybe that’s where the banquet is being held, but, y’know, it’s Pol fucking Pot, so it’s probably a room full of skulls.
And who was it who decided those types of chairs were good? Nobody ever looks comfortable in them unless they’ve kicked their shoes off, put their feet up on a pouffe, and are reading the newspaper in front of Coronation Street. The guy on the right looks like his feet barely touch the floor; Pol Pot looks like a Gerry Anderson marionette, Nicolae looks like a drunk uncle, and Mrs. Ceauşescu seems like she’s about to nip into the kitchen to put some more custard creams on a tea plate. The guys in the background, too. The Romanian seems to be a cartoon villain, and the Cambodian guy seems so out of place; he looks like he’s expecting the photograph to just be on Nicolae Ceauşescu’s Facebook page.
And seriously, could the photographer not hold a camera straight?