Habitus photo essay – a few thoughts

A two-part foto essay, by me:

The first is a set of photos of objects, most of them from my own home. The photos tend to be taken idly, e.g. at the start of new film roll. The subjects are often repetitive. E.g. I often load film in my bedroom or in the kitchen (where I keep my film), and shoot a photo of the window. Nonetheless, these accumulating photographs, of the accumulated debris of my home, have themselves accumulated meaning for me, demanding a second glance. This is often accompanied by thoughts about the future, about how I will look back on these photos, and how the vital fabric of our everyday lives often goes undocumented:

https://notes21century.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/habitus-1-objects-photo-essay/

The second explores similar ideas, but in the homes of my brother and his friends. Visiting them, seeing their intimacy, and the rich density of the trash strewn around their Newcastle houses, was always very beautiful:

https://notes21century.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/habitus-2-kunsthaus/

A note on the form: ‘photographic’ images are becoming easier and easier to produce, as digitial photography develops alongside all sorts of mobile/integrated imaging ‘technology’. Perhaps, as a result, photos are becoming more disposable.* If so, this does not necessarily mean that photography is ‘closer’ to our everyday lives, nor that it is now ‘in the hands’ of the proverbial ‘man in the street’ (cf. Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’). Indeed, a corollary response to digital developments has been the proliferation of ‘expertise’: the hyper-production of magazines and clubs and courses and equipment – particularly increasingly ‘powerful’ and expensive camera sensors and lenses. Search the net and you’ve a hundred thousand ‘professionally’ produced images at your tips. The very weight of these accumulations of ‘well lit’ photographs is depressing; the most fantastic images are now the most banal. This hyperatrophy of the photographic means of production, the vast accumulation of photographic ‘wealth’, renders the longest exposure or the keenest portrait equivalent to the most offhand ‘snap chat’ snap. (Again, cf. Benjamin.)

The only way out of this I can see, at the moment, is to shift from the image itself to the organisation of images. In these ‘essays’, the locatedness of the images, and their semi-articulation of ideas and narratives, side-steps the fetish/banality of the ‘image itself’.**

Or, at least, that’s how I see it.
Chris

*According to my housemate who, recently, very patiently explained ‘Snap Chat’ to me.
** Having said this, the self-conscious fetishisation of high technique – use of light, composition, printing – when achieved at sufficient intensity, still manages to shock, on occasion, with its beauty and clarity. Obviously I prefer other photographers’ images to my own. Let us hope new and more fantastic methods of arrangment can be dreamed up.

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