Monday, June 11, 2007
More bulltets and heroin
Zoe Strauss’s photographs of Philadelphia’s down and out shouldn’t bother me, but they do. There’s nothing unusual about a photographer using the camera to expose poverty, injustice and despair, especially to viewers whose privilege is blinding. And there’s nothing fake about Strauss’s intentions. She’s obviously committed and really in there. Furthermore, she’s excited about her success, which is a fantastic relief from cool-headed art stars.
So, what’s the problem?
I think it has something to do with the effect. Or rather non-effect. The work just doesn’t move me. It seems so common in its un-commonness. It’s as if photography itself weren't working anymore. It's as if it's symbolic power were impotent. For this reason, I’ve been thinking that metaphor is a must for art these days.
This reminds me to read Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag. And back on the topic of books, I realize it was a bit pretentious to talk about picking up Jacques Rancière in my last post; especially since I did, and can’t understand 98% of it. It has literally taken me fifteen minutes to get through a page.