There is no objectively correct set of rules for reporting on politicians. Some people will tell you that it is always off-limits to report on their private lives, others will tell you that it’s fine if their private lives in some way contradict the political views that they claim to hold. These things are more of a question of personal ethics than anything else. One of my personal beliefs is that embarrassing photos of politicians are often a bit of a low blow. Something done on purpose, knowing it will be captured for video? Absolutely fine. A single photo taken between facial expressions where it looks like they’ve been possessed Exorcist-style? A bit much for me.
Maybe it’s because I don’t photograph well. Maybe it’s because I know there’s something devastating about seeing a photo which depicts you in a much more negative light than your already poor self-image. Maybe it’s because I know that you can take 100 photos of someone doing anything at all and at least a handful of them will look truly awful, despite not reflecting on anything about what they are doing or who they are. Who knows.
What I’m saying is: It doesn’t necessarily reflect on Scott Morrison (who I do not believe is a good person in the first place) that he was photographed with a fly crawling on his teeth. But what I am also saying is: Jesus fucking Christ, Scott Morrison was photographed with a fucking fly crawling on his teeth:
Photo: AAP / Mick Tsikas.
The human body was never meant to have this level of scrutiny applied to it. Our psychology didn’t form in an environment with high-resolution sensors and powerful zoom lenses. We were simply never meant to see Scott Morrison’s mouth up this close and, even more than that, we were never meant to see that mouth with a fly in it.
This photo, snapped today in Darwin by AAP photographer Mick Tsikas, is straight-up body horror. I did an involuntary full-body shudder when I first saw this image, my body immediately entering into fight-or-flight mode. This photo of a regular fly is somehow worse than The Fly, in which a man turns into a huge disgusting fly that vomits on people to digest them. It feels portentous, like something from the Book of Revelations.
I hate this image. I hate this image so much that I wish I could go back in time and beat up Eugene F Lally, the father of the digital camera. Christ.
In the interests of balance, here’s a photo also from today of opposition leader Bill Shorten with a fly in similarly close proximity to his mouth:
Photo: AAP / Lukas Coch.
Hope this helps.