Saturday, October 28, 2006

I Summon the Scholars and Loose Them on the Problem

My wifey taking pictures of my sissy and her hubby at Yosemite.

Now, tell me this. Why does one take pictures of people taking pictures of other people? I believe it's an iconic image, one found in many photo albums and slide shows. And I have no doubt there is a postmodern element in this, some kind of implicit irony in observing the deflected gaze, some kind of commentary on the artificial pleasure of the subject and the all-too-real intensity of the "artist" in action. It's probably an arrogant and invasive act. Or maybe it's just double the love.

I know we had a job candidate here at USF a couple of years ago whose research involved how the makers of photographic equipment, particularly camera film, successfully sold the Western world on the notion that cameras were not be used, at least by average folk, to catch life as it was happening but to record individuals posed and presenting themselves at their unnatural best. Photography was kind of a party trick. She was answering the question: Why do we smile our respective heads off in photographs? Who are these stiff but jolly people?

Come on scholars. Dig in!

Of course, on one level, it's obvious what I'm doing. I'm getting a picture that's spontaneous at one end of it and posed at the other. It's both real and artificial. I'm getting two for one. I'm a real philosopher/photographer king.

I think that's postmodern. Or maybe I'm just being cheap. But with a digital camera there's nothing to save!

Ironic. Postmodern!

Except for the fact aren't my wifey my sissy and her hubby just cute as bugs? Couldn't you just eat 'em up?

1 comment:

B. Lundigan said...

You do seem to have a lovely family. I don't see anything ironic in your posting of this picture. You don't need to apologize, sir!