Detective Special invites us to examine our response to guns – the gun as fetish, the gun as purchasable part, the gun transcending the world of play and moving across borders in the form of illegal trafficking. The initial impetus for this series sparked from a broken toy gun that Prudence Murphy found kicking around her home. It was a replica of the Colt ‘Detective Special’, a concealable pocket revolver manufactured for plain-clothes detectives in the US in 1927. The gun had been broken – all that remained were the grip and the cavity where the cylinder had been. For over a year, Murphy researched and collected guns, dismembered them with a hacksaw and photographed them.
The images are formal, ordered, and perfectly proportioned so as to mimic the finely rendered and dissected parts of real gun components provided for the customising of weapons. They may also suggest the rituals of stripping and cleaning of weapons; or bring to mind the documentary images of guns confiscated and destroyed by law enforcement authorities; or the phenomenon of contraband weapons – where guns are dismantled and sent piecemeal over a period of time, or smuggled across borders.
56 pages, 32 x 24 cm, hardcover
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