Friday, April 11, 2008

Hopper, Kerouac and the Zeitgeist of Solitude

My friend sent me an article on Edward Hopper the other day. He highlighted the parts about solitude and loneliness and connected it to the road photos I have on F Blog. Looking back, I realize how much the zeitgeist of the era had entered into my photos. I have a difficult time doing "happy." When I photograph people at occasions, the photographs look worse than amateurish. Most times, when I photograph people being happy, there is some dark aspect to the picture.

I can't find faces today that look as solemn as I photographed when I was young. I find tortured and miserable faces of the wretched and poor, but the middle class have adopted a Spring Break look, smiling big orthodontic smiles, waving arms and hoisting glasses, mugging for the camera like Paris Hilton or an American Idol. Different zeitgeist.

I love Hopper, but I had never connected his vision to Kerouac's writings or Frank's photography. I am just stupid, I guess. Hopper. I feel that in my bones. I will go out with my camera again and look for something. Maybe this is the breakthrough I needed. A mission and a vision. A philosophy.


  1. Solitude? No. But in New Rome solipsistic self-absorption is the zeitgeist of the era. I’ve joined the madness as you suggested with an inauspicious start.

  2. "I have a difficult time doing "happy."

    Maybe you're too busy being happy to remember to take a photo of a happy event.

    For me it's easier to take "gritty" photos as quite often one is removed from a situation by the fact that we aren't fully participating in the moment because it's not very inviting.

    It's easier to stand back and take a shot when you aren't in the middle of an event but standing on the outside looking in.

    Hopper's paintings look disengaged and voyeuristic to me.

    Nowadays I prefer photos that show the subject interacting with the viewer in a way that shows that the veiwer is part of what is happening.

  3. razz,

    I'd say you are right in the mainstream there. Disengagement and observation is only evident in the new photography of empty spaces, urban blight, inanimate objects, though much photography of people even though interactive seems to show people as objects, too, but not in the old way, the old sense. I don't think it is possible not to objectify, though. It is part of the subjective process.

    Or whatever. Thanks for leaving the comment. I'm just happy to know that you're around. I went to your site and read a couple long entries. I'll go back for more later. Thanks.

  4. cc,

    You are a cheap bunko artist and should be thrown in jail. Your site is the subversive work of a malcontent. Hurry up and post more.

  5. Saliva:

    As W. C. Fields once said: "Cheap? Four dollars a gallon."

    Subversive? Malcontent?

    Only on my good days.

    It don't matter much whether I'm in jail or not, I have so many friends and kinfolk inside and out.