Friday, November 19, 2021

Moral Choices (in art and life)

I saw this Polaroid on Instagram the other day.  Oy!  Who is making photos like this now?  Turns out a whole lot of people, mostly non-Americans (un-Americans?).  There are a few American women who do this, but they are exempt from criticism, I think.  I became enamored by the image and sent it around to my friends.  One of them kept questioning what I thought was so wonderful about the photograph.  "I can fairly feel the sensation in the loins," I said, leaving it ambiguous as to whose.  This may just be the moment before she farts, it said, but that is not how the photo strikes me.  I mean, I think we could say that about most photographs.  I wanted a copy of it, so I messaged the woman who ran the IG site.  I didn't know if she was the photographer or simply a curator.  Turned out to be the latter.  But she was a generous woman and put me in touch with the photographer.  He is from Turkey.  His name is Seckin Kadir Erel.  So I reached out to him.  Turned out to be a very friendly fellow.  He said that he didn't have prints but would send me a scan file if I wanted to print it for myself.  Well, sure as shittin', I did.  

Once I had the file, though. . . you know.  I fooled around with it a bit. 

And now. . . the dilemma.  I should have left well enough alone.  

There was another image from the site that I would like. 

But should it look like this?

I have written to the photographer to see if she is willing to send me a file as well.  I thought to make two small prints to frame and put together somewhere in the house.  But then I thought, "Wouldn't they make lovely encaustics?"  But I don't think any of this is ethical.  I mean. . . I didn't make the photos.  

But wait!  Ethics!  Dare I speak of ethics?  From today's Times. 

In response, I wrote (to friends) "This sort of thing confounds me. Ethics isn't some transcendent value. It is simply, like aesthetics, a hierarchy of values. People use the word "morality," though, in a religious way.  Morality is simply whatever ethical system prevails."

And here I am dealing with both, Ethics and Aesthetics.  

I should probably leave the whole thing alone and make my own pictures, but my social contacts consist now of old men, houses and warehouses, and my mom.  I don't want to ask my mother to pose like this.  


There should be a moral lesson in that for me somewhere, but I choose to turn away.  I didn't drink last night, so perhaps sobriety will inspire a new morality.  You know, the one that leads to shitty art.  

Art is about desire, I think, at least in large part.  The thing we want.  The life to which we aspire.  Even the old masters of religious paintings realized this.  

Well now way back in the Bible
Temptations always come along
There's always somebody tempting
Somebody into doing something they know is wrong
Well they tempt you, man, with silver
And they tempt you, sir, with gold
And they tempt you with the pleasures
That the flesh does surely hold
They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple
But man I ain't going for that

I know it was her pink Cadillac
Art and temptation and the land of Kingdom Come.  

I know that is not all true, of course.  I mean, there's Warhol and Eggelston and Bansky and others, and you can't discount that.  I just felt like being a little naughty today.  

But goddamn, who doesn't love a Modigliani.  

Moral Choices (in art and life)

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