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· Culture Notes: Ubiquity and the Individual

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Culture Notes: Ubiquity and the Individual
by The Kindly One

Now that professional grade cameras and equipment are cheaper and more accessible than ever before, the internet is experiencing an explosion of amateur film, video, and photography at a fairly high production quality. Add to that the accessibility of avant-garde and high end publications, both through the ubiquity of chains like Borders and through online communities such as The Fashion Spot, and everyone can study and more or less copy the work of professional photographers such as Terry Richardson. It's all exciting, this level of access and possibility, but I frankly see the great majority of innovation going into technology itself. Photography and film as art forms haven't progressed greatly with these innovations. Quality is far clearer, and it's easier to work with less light, but these aren't the only contributing factors to a good, much less iconic, piece of work. Namely, I can scroll numerous fashion and photography blogs and see artfully designed, high quality photos of teacups, food, and studded boots. Only less than 10% of the time do I see something that stands out. There's a lot of good work out there, both technically and artistically, but very, very little that stands on its own as having an interesting, unique, well-defined point of view. It's no longer enough to be "good." Cameras do the work for us now, to the point that we're able to hold one out and almost be guaranteed a good shot. Likewise, edgy or naive subject matter can only hold out appeal for as long as those trends last, at which point we'll hold a snapshots of waffles, curios, and Anthropologie doorknobs in our hands and think, "What the hell do I do with these?" It's now increasingly important to develop a distinct point of view that doesn't rely on cultural props and inexpensive technology to make its point.

The video below, Kirsten Lepore's "Sweet Dreams," offers a well-animated characterization of a world of sweets that intrigues and provides a much-needed antidote to hipster ubiquity and girly-girl shots of pastilles and polka dots. Her use of food is impressive and surprising, to say the least, and her craftsmanship is superb. Of all the videos I've seen in the past two years, this is the single one that I can remember.

"Sweet Dreams" from Kirsten Lepore on Vimeo.


4/14/2009 [3]

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