The closest many of us Brits ever come to a machine gun is when we’re hiding behind a bucket of popcorn the size of a small child in the front row at the cinema, so you can imagine our fascination at seeing this new series by Brian Finke. Brian spent four years photographing US marshals, the longest standing law enforcement agency in America who work under the federal courts. They are “tasked with protecting judges, prosecutors and witnesses, and are also responsible for transporting prisoners and tracking down the country’s most dangerous fugitives,” the book explains.
Capturing citizen arrests, marshals wielding their weapons and almost theatrical scenes amid smoke, red cartoon-like explosives and doors left ajar, Brian’s photographs are an odd window into a world depicted primarily through news reports and the film industry. “I was surprised at their willingness to have me step inside their world,” Brian explains in the book, “but once there what I saw was a well-oiled machine – one that speaks to an American heritage of civil authority that has transcended nearly all facets of U.S. law enforcement. I felt a strong connection between Marshals’ responsibilities and our civilian culture. I knew immediately that I wanted to make a book.”
It’s a timely publication, created in an era when scarcely a week goes by without news of the US police making its way into the daily papers. Whether you choose to view the photographs as though watching a high-budget action film or with the knowledge that these scenarios are eerily real, the book is sure to make for a fascinating read.
U.S. Marshals will be available from November 2014 published by powerHouse books.