A few days ago I was speaking about photography with some friends (now thats news!) and one of them whom really knows the subject (ok, Mr. TT) said some really interesting things on beauty. I take inspiration from that discussion and a bit of my own..
In italian photography there is but one problem: too much beauty. Here everything is impeccably beautiful. Here we could have never had photographers like Juergen Teller or Martin Parr, one so profoundly german, the other so profoundly english.
Why are we so submissive to beauty, here in Italy? No, don’t come and say it because we are the nation of Giotto, Michelangelo and Caravaggio. No, absolutely not! The great aesthetics of our remote past (of which we only know the names, but we do ignore -as the ignorants that we are- the true history and deep poetics) does not count anything in our inevitable need for beauty.
So what counts then?!? We are such victims of beauty because we are comfortable. Yes, comfortable! Because we have mommy preparing our little lunch box when we leave home! That irons our underwear when we are 30 years old! Because daddy is always there to defend us! Because granny cuddles us! Because perhaps we live off grandpa’s pension and daddy’s apartments’ rent! We are comfortable and seated.
Therefore in this context the blackmail by the molasses of beauty is inevitable. Something that perhaps is taken for granted, but that definitely it isn’t: the first quality of a photograph is not that is is beautiful. Absolutely not!!! Its not like that! It is as if the quality of the food of a great restaurant was being edible.
The famous photographs which I’ve always criticised (the sunset, the kittens, the venetian masks, the naked girl in a factory…) are not bad! On the contrary, they are beautiful! Beautiful, but horrendous. Beautiful, but useless.
Besides with the modern photographic cameras its not easy to take bad pictures. They all come out good. If you think about what all the various iPhone softwares can do? They intervene to worsen your shots: they apply flares, hairs, cuts, finger prints, imprecisions, so that it would ruin a little (making it look better!) what was too perfect.
And after the word beauty I would like to say two words on the word vulgarity: I often read people that, in their vague programming intents, they say NOT to want to take vulgar photographs. “we take artistic nudes, not vulgar” and they place the model in an abandoned factory with suspenders and high heels. Perhaps not taking a vulgar photograph. But a horrendous one! Which is worst!
Ok, here I would like to invite you, if you want, to a little homework for the holidays: you have to take an ugly photograph and a vulgar one. Don’t laugh, its not easy! I assure you that it is much, much easier to take beautiful and artistic ones.
Send them to email@example.com and the ugliest one (perhaps not useless…) and the most vulgar one (perhaps not superficial…) will be published here, to the honour and glory of everyone to see.
And speaking about beauty, ugliness, summer, sea, beaches… I publish a photograph I took a while ago in Cape Town: in my opinion they are beautiful…