Britain's first book blogger (November 2000). Also available in book form.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Kitsch and silence: on photographs

The Guardian proudly presents Sebastião Salgado's photographs of mountain gorillas and volcanoes.

Usually, photographs (and paintings) develop an incandescence when viewed online. Salgado's, however, seem flat, laboured and dull. Perhaps the use of black & white introduces a leaching sentimentality to what should be awesome. And one wonders why the paper felt it necessary to add a commentary. The decision says: A picture speaks a thousand words, but here are some more just in case.

Alternatively, browse the found photos at Found Photos (even if they've spoilt the effect that its original design had, which allowed one to scroll fullsize images). And look at Fallujah in Pictures. It does not matter that photography is not an art form. On each site, a terrible, exhilerating silence persists.

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