‘Head Shots’ Photo Series Parodies Violent Posters by Making the Photog the Victim


Artist Jon Burgerman thinks there are too many violent film posters greeting us everywhere we go. These posters of movie and TV show characters holding weapons are all too common, and most of them show the protagonist brandishing their weapon right at the viewer.

And so, Burgerman decided to fight back using a little bit of fake blood, a sense of humor and photography.

That interesting combination yielded the photo series ‘Head Shots,’ a protest of sorts in which Burgerman inserts himself into these posters as the protagonists’ victim. Whether it’s an arrow courtesy of Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen or a bullet straight from 007’s gun, subway posters really seem to have it out for Burgerman:






“I thought it would interesting to add myself back into the suggested scenes and complete the compositions to their natural conclusions,” he tells Yahoo! Movies. “This body of work is part of what I call a ‘quiet intervention’, where subtle, often cheap, nonpermanent actions drastically (and sometimes comically) alter the reading of a signifier, object or situation.”

And you have to admit, it’s worked on at least one level. Where a standard protest or letter to the appropriate governing body might have gotten him a polite response… maybe even an apology… this series has now been shared on several major news and blog sites.

To learn more about the series or follow Burgerman as he embarks on other projects, head over to his website or follow him on Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr.

(via Imaging Resource)

Image credits: Photographs by Jon Burgerman and used with permission

  • harumph

    He’s protesting violent imagery by making even more violent imagery? For me, he failed in both his message and his humor.

    Thumbs and Ammo is a similar project that pulls off this trick much more successfully, imo.

  • FartyPants

    I pooped my bed & I liked it!

  • David Liang

    Ignoring the message the since I find it a bit conflicting, I do really like the Bond and Legolas images, they worked out well.

  • csmif

    A goofy hipster gimmick.

  • Christian DeBaun

    I’m sure the PetaPixel community will have a positive, rational, calm, and enlightening discussion of this series (and gun control).

  • bob cooley

    interesting concept – lackluster execution.

  • Stan B.

    If anything, more celebration than protest.

  • Thekaph

    Wearing the same clothe on all pictures: suggesting that they were all taken the same day. That’s a serious, well prepared and photoshoped work.


  • CriticalofYou

    The poor photoshop effects are more appalling to me than the message.

  • Not Me

    He was walking by a subway poster and thought, “ooh, what if I stand here like I was the one who got shot? haha”. That bit was funny. Then he made up this crap about “oooh there too many violent images in the world” nonsense to sound artsy. ruined it.

  • Not Me

    the worst part about this is that the New Museum in new york may actually feature this and make you pay to look at this

  • Eugene Chok

    cropping might actually make these useable, they should get a long lens and try this again

  • OtterMatt

    I actually think these are shot with just enough camp to get across the idea that they’re intended as parody. I can dig it. Though, I would agree that the execution could be slightly better.

    Heh… “execution”…

  • dan110024

    That was a protest? I thought it’s cool. I want to see more. Kind of backfired for him by the looks of things.

  • Vin Weathermon

    Bogus. The movie posters; what should they be showing? Action films, TV shows with good guys and bad guys have guns. Should they be standing there lame, showing no action at all? If the imagery was a kung fu or mixed martial art’s deal where the guy is snapping somebody’s head backwards with a kick, would that be ok sans guns or other weapons? I tend to agree with one poster; it sounds like he got the idea, had fun with it, and then decided to make it a “message to save humanity” afterwards. And since that seems to sell better than “had fun with my coolpix in the subway today on the way to my day job” it was probably the right marketing pitch. I know…snarky.

  • Abraham Pak

    Haha yeah. The first thought that popped into my mind was how terrible the ‘shop job was.

  • flightofbooks

    conflicting in what way?

  • flightofbooks

    how do you figure?

  • flightofbooks

    “usable” lol

  • Stan B.

    He’s having fun with the topic- and himself. How is he in any way critiquing it?

  • flightofbooks

    By making explicit the violent image that we for some reason accept when it’s merely implicit. If people with bullet holes in their heads were part of the one sheet would we be so sanguine about their ubiquity? (although judging by the comments here, I’m actually scared what the answer may be).

    Sure the images have a ‘fun’ quality to them. Not sure why that means it’s not a serious critique. It’s absolutely absurd that these one sheets and their violent imagery are as pervasive in every day life as they are. Responding with absurdity is right on the mark (no pun intended).

  • Stan B.

    I have no problem with what your saying, I just don’t think this guy’s response is very well thought out- which as others have pointed out, even brings his intent into question. And as Mr. Cooley below has already well stated- his execution is most definitely lacking (sophomoric if you asked me).

  • Eugene Chok

    lol maybe acceptable is a better word?