The Post-Aesthetic Age: where everything is photographic

Photography is inherently not conceptual.

A piece of visual work defined as being conceptual is a piece of work that clearly evinces the introduction of text into its machinations, text or any of its derivatives, in any of their multifarious formats. A piece of visual work defined as being conceptual is a textual image.

Such that aesthetics and narrative are also to be apprehended as being textual – aesthetics and narratives are text.

The post-aesthetic is photography in its original, pure form – image.

The post-aesthetic is the home of all litter, home also to the photographic litter on most social media profiles. To gain entry into the post-aesthetic, litter and photographic litter must be properly contained. Litter, including photographic litter, lies abandoned and neglected. Without disrupting the sanctity of misery, the post-aesthetic seeks to cradle all kind of litter that lies sprawled and wasted on our streets. The post-aesthetic is the voice of misery, and hence its subjects can only be found to reside in cities. Cities are our laboratories in which we consummately produce cleanliness, order, logic, rationality and perfection. But these are not the genuine and ultimate products of civic laboratories. In crafting perfect copies of copies in our civic labs, misery is swept further into the nooks and crannies detailing our streets. Without acknowledging this enterprise, the exacerbation of civic misery’s misery is the ultimate aim of our civic labs/farms.

The post-aesthetic will not romanticize its subject; recent upholders of the post-aesthetic, lacking the necessary stamina and discipline to maintain an all pervasive mental holocaust, have already started leaking poesy, and this is seeping into their work.

The post-aesthetic is not an aesthetic. The post-aesthetic is a container.

The post-aesthetic demands that the photographer indulges in the worst kind of self-harm: it first makes her/him master technique, only to then force her/him to deconstruct technique during exposure of the light-sensitive film/sensor, this in order that the resultant work may effectively fool the viewer. But the post-aesthetic needn’t demand any of this; the photographer merely has to pretend that that was indeed the state of affairs.

Objectivity is misery.

…And we only want to represent that which we can recognize.

Representation is recognizable.

The post-aesthetic is the truth. The post-aesthetic is the lie. This can only fool you, for in photographing, I am.

Being simultaneously glorious truths and sumptuous lies, the post-aesthetic leaves no room for escape.

Photography is the post-aesthetic.

Photography is democracy.

Photography is anarchy.

All you need to do is pretend. And you needn’t actually do that. For there’s the world right here.

Featured Image:

Mug of coffee at the office. January 2020 at Paola. Photograph by the author.