Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The 2010s Aesthetic

Where did this come from? In video terms I'm talking about the slow motion, unrealistically graded, low depth of field, jump cut, steadicam look. Time lapse with sliders, drone shots. Add affected piano, guitar, and/or indie female vocal. Is this touchy-feely stuff because of Apple? I'll bet it is. Or maybe Instagram. Is your photo uninteresting but you want others to think it's meaningful? Add some vignetting, apply a film look, and maybe make it black and white. But can't lie, it works.

After years of this though, one wonders what the point is. There is no point, it's just noise. And this noise engulfs the only meaningful application of video and photography - to help tell a story. Not tell a story, but help. Otherwise viewers are making up meaning arbitrarily or in uselessly vague terms. Like there might be a photo of a worn out door in India. Oooh the stories it could tell! is the impression the photographer wants to give but I can't help but think "A picture is not literally worth a thousand words dummy, tell me what's going on".  No one on the planet, without the proper context, would ever hear The Great Gate at Kiev and deduce that the piece had anything to do with Kiev, a gate, or pictures at an exhibition. That's why contemporary classical music is so sterile whereas soundtracks, which help tell a story, aren't. It's why a straight up gallery of "award winning" photos is inferior to the photos in a National Geographic article.

The indie videographer and photographer crowd rarely tell stories and when they do, it's often subsumed under fancy technique and practiced faux-earnest narration. People in the future will look back, presumably, with the same bemused eye we look at kaleidoscope filter photos from the 70s. The photos they will be interested in, however, is the mundane slice of life back then sort of thing that I believe is the real draw for Bresson or Weegee's photos.

Or maybe I've unfairly implicated the purveyors of the 2010 aesthetic in a grand Sokal-esque conspiracy and I simply don't get it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.