Whenever photography hits a snag or an awkward hurdle there is always the over-reliance on aesthetics. Having glanced around the internet age, following Tumblr blogs and the ultimate rise of consumable imagery there is a very large hole left. It doesn't always achieve anything anymore. Usually it just drifts right through without communicating with anybody.
We've all seen it, the appropriation of objects placed in fascinating but seemingly useless and potentially pointless arrangements. Not to mention the seducing backgrounds that entice us in. And although it works on an aesthetic level it rarely escapes that vicinity.
After seeing the rise of Paul Salveson's Between the shell hitting the printing presses of MACK I thought we had seen the last of this pointless rise of overly polished mumbo jumbo (to excuse a phrase), but David Brandon Greeting's Infinite Power seemingly finds its way onto our networks from around the globe and gets us talking again. It gets us talking about nothing which is precisely his point.
In a few reviews of the work there is a sense of excitement surrounding it and this analysis of the photographs does not attempt to piss on any existing bomb fires. It merely strives to highlight something that makes me deeply concerned with the state of photography and potentially why I find myself disillusioned with the whole subject at the moment. The fact I wanted to write about these photographs worries me a little, but its out there in the virtual stratosphere therefore it is there to be commented on. An even larger concern is the influence this work has on educational influences. We see more and more graduates resorting their practice to the appropriation of objects to the point where it is aspired to and suggested.
When I first began my studies in photography I was excited to be a part of a subject that could eventually be anything it wanted to be, with the right execution. Seeing this work almost saddens me.
Which is ironic because the work is so jovial.
I have been considering why this genre frustrates me and I think it is down to the fact that we don't even need meaning anymore. The huge rising of random objects on beautifully photographed paper has become so big it is impossible to ignore. But wait, maybe there is something to it.
Surely there has to be.
Described by many as a recent revival of traditional methods it worries me that it has clung on for such a long time.
We may as well get used to seeing it's face cropping up to every artistic/social event.
The work is described as meaningless and the deep history of still life cannot be denied. The difference was back when Duchamp would create and sign R. Mutt onto a urinal it was to make a point. Once that point is made there is no reason to create more points on what we already know. The repetition is creating hot air. It is merely a reminder of the absurdity of art, so much so anything can be art.
This is not enough and it is no longer engaging. And much like Paul Salveston's attempt to bluff us to the trivial meaning behind his work the photographs have a desperate nature. They could have been taken by a number of artists as there is no original flare, nothing making it any different from what we see from another still life series. It is all the same.
But this for me is not the biggest issue. It will eventually make an uncomfortable dent in the subject and the willingness to keep flinging this stuff everywhere because it can is potentially wasting our time. We could be engaging with other works.
This resurgence of still life is making its way into a circus act, its the same every year.
The locations change, the people involved differ but it still delivers nothing intellectually nor on a personal front. It is just an aesthetic exercise that constitutes success in today's interpretation of photography.
It is in an uncomfortable balance now, desperately attempting to hang onto it's looks hoping it won't one day get old.
It is showing signs of age.