Friday, December 2, 2016

Post-Decadence



Photography has become very, very conservative as far as I can tell.  I like William Eggleston's photography very much, but it is a safe photography, by which I mean it will bring the photographer no harm.

Photography--at least some of it--should be dangerous.  And I'm not speaking of photographers jumping out of airplanes or standing on ledges.  I mean there should be something objectionable about it, something that will bring the photographer both accolades and dissent.

But these are fearful times.  I can only hope that there are photographers doing things out there that result in some very shocking photos.  We won't get to see them for a while, I imagine, as our cultural sensibilities become more conservative (link).  I think the photos in the new Pirelli calendar are wonderful.  I think they are soulful.  I think they need to be made.  I applaud them.

But. . . where is the decadence of the Weimar Republic?

I know, I know, the result of that movement was Adolph Hitler.  I guess the decadence of my lifetime has resulted in Trump.  Even Jock Sturges is making fashion portraits for magazines now.

I may have to turn to the urban contemporary scene for fun.  Is the music still called rap?

Maybe I'll get more into the food-as-art hipster thing.  Are they still called hipsters?

I guess I'll prepare to make some soulful portraits myself.  I'll try to hide gender and certainly eschew sensuality.  No, no, better still, I'll turn my lens on inanimate objects and sterile landscapes and depopulated urban scenes.  I'll make sun prints on sensitized paper.  No. . . wait. . . I have it!  I'll make X-Rays.  Shit.  That's the ticket.  I'll X-Ray things.  I'll stalk the streets with a portable X-Ray camera and get to the heart of being.  That ought to tickle people pink.

I'm ready to make a decree.  These are Post-Decadent Times.  As H.S. Thompson said so very long ago, "What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation. It's a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die."

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