Photography in the common visual language of the snap shop would be more than an aesthetics of the fragment.This aesthetic has dominated the poetic since the romantics; including the fragment as transmogrified by modernism, high and low, and more recently retooled in the neoclassical form of the citation—ironic and/or decorative—throughout which is called “postmodernism.
People ofter refer to the common visual language of the snap shop as the mummy daddy language. What is attractive about the visual language of the snapshot is that it is an anti-hierarchical means of organizing knowledge and of recognizing intersections and engagements between seemingly disparate ideas and things.
Engaging with the ordinary in everyday life is both elusive and difficult to represent. It is also difficult to express or communicate what has been represented in an everyday visual language. Is ordinary visual language something other than, or different to, the visual language of our commodity culture? Do we need to unlearn the normal visual language in order to represent and express the ordinary?
I don’t know the answer to these questions.
I do understand that in a society of the spectacle, such as Australian society, much of ordinary life is constructed by consumer culture. In this sense, the shopping mall is the most ordinary environment and shopping the most ordinary activity. Yet, this kind of ordinary in a consumer culture may be quite opposite to the everydayness a photographer might want to evoke.
When I’m in Victor Harbor I drive past this scene whenever I go to the shops in the car. I keep on looking at it and thinking, ‘ now, that sure looks interesting’. It looks to be a suitable photographic subject. Would it work as a photograph? I kept on looking as I drove to and from the Woolworth’s shopping centre.
Today I decided to incorporate it into a poodle walk, and I took a couple of snaps to see what it would look like as a photograph. If it looks okay as a photograph then what is the best way to shoot it.
This looks okay to me. In fact it’s looks good enough for me to consider reshooting the succulent with a large format camera (5×4) tomorrow afternoon, weather permitting of course.
As its been raining off and on in Adelaide this past week my photography has consisted of taking a few quick snaps of the banksia in a pot in the townhouses’ corner balcony that overlooks Sturt St. My photographic time has been spent in front of the computer working on archival photos that I’ve scanned.
The walks during the week have been done between the showers as much as possible. Today is the first sign that the rain depression may be lifting. We have both sun and rain alternating today.
It has been raining in Adelaide for several days straight now. Autumn has gone, winter has arrived. I’ve been trying to take the 5×7 Cambo out between the showers to get some photos of the tree roots of Morton Bay Figs. But I’ve had no luck.
Although it is clear blue skies when I leave, the apartment, by the time I get to the location the showers are sweeping across the ground. It clears, but then it is too dark and the light is too flat. So I’m down to quick snaps whilst walking the dogs in the parklands.
I realize that the changes that are slowly taking in the part of the inner city of Adelaide in which I live are an example of the new urbanism. The changes are slow, but there are signs of a reaction to the spreading out of cities, a mixture of work and home emerging, a mixture of classes and a sense of decreasing the dependence on the car.
New Urbanist town planners, developers, architects, and designers try to reduce traffic, eliminate suburban sprawl, and create inner city neighborhoods that resemble an old European village with homes and businesses clustered together.
We are surrounded by the images of our commodity culture whether we are watching tv, walking the streets of the city or working on our computers. The visual signs are everywhere.
Our experience is that we live under the assumption that there is no other way of knowing and being outside the phantasmagoriac realm of representation of commodity culture.
So I photograph these visual forms. We often sleepwalk through their world, barely conscious of the way they speak to our desires or shape our sensory experience. ‘Sleepwalk’ because I often feel that we are living a dream of what it is to be modern in a world of progress (to a better life or future); a dream woven for us by the culture industry of capitalism.
I couldn’t resist taking a photo. The street art appeared on the wall in Wright Street over the weekend. When I saw it I thought of the well-known phrase attributed to Antonio Gramsci: “The old world is dying away, and the new world struggles to come forth: now is the time of monsters.”
I have little idea why I thought that, then and there. It popped into my head.
Maybe it is because so much street art depicts the monsters. They seem to come from the unconscious. Anyhow, I went back home, grabbed the camera and took a snap, as it was getting dark.
When we are down at Victor Harbor on the the weekend I often walk around the mouth of the Hindmarsh River with the dogs. This coastal walk and beach are a popular with strollers, bathers and other dog walkers. The scene looks best in the soft afternoon light, and it is reasonably protected from the winds coming in from the sea.
It’s hard to do the landscape photos with a large format camera due to the time constraints (household duties and obligations), blogging and the weather. I managed to take a photo of the silky oak yesterday with the 5×7 Cambo, even though the weather was dull, overcast, and a few spots of rain were falling.
I’ve become tired of just taking photos, building a decent archive of images and then posting them on Flickr and my photoblog to share with others. It’s become something of a cul-de -sac. I’ve run out of enthusiasm and becoming jaded.
I have to do something more substantive with the photos—to construct them into a project and publish them in some way. The next step is to begin to work on a project for publication–a DIY book—from the Port Adelaide archive. So I’ve returned to the Port Adelaide arcchive, and starting looking over the work I was doing last year.
So I am picking up where I’ve left off last spring:–returning to the digital studies I made of the Port River Expressway that were done for a reshoot with a large format camera. The above image is one that I had planned to do. This is another.