For those who are not regulars at their local gun club, you might be surprised to know that shooting targets aren’t all the classic bullseye or silhouetted portrait. No, some of them are much more realistic, as the Amsterdam-based magazine Useful Photography has pointed out. The publication collects everyday images, and for issue 11 depicts several decades of targets from tens of thousands of shooting ranges in the United States. The results are disturbing, to say the least.
While traditional targets were once anonymous figures, they are now much more lifelike. You’ll find photographs of dictators, women, children, and everyday people pointing a gun back at you. It gives the target a personality, and you can practice your aim and get swept up in the grim, suggested narratives. Some manufacturers have gone too far, and which includes a line of targets called No More Hesitation that featured small children and pregnant women holding guns, and a bleeding “ex-girlfriend” (masquerading as a zombie). Both were pulled off the market.
Erik Kessels publishes the magazine and explains to Fast Company:
We found that shooting targets in the U.S. are getting more and more bizarre with what they show. Our biggest question on the topic was what scares a nation–gunman who hold children ransom or infamous terrorists? In this age of high impact gun crime, are the participants seeking protection or accelerating the violence?”
He goes on to say,
“By taking these images from their original context and putting them together in a magazine we hope that people start to look at them again.”
(Via Fast Company)