18 January 2011

Scarification





Expectoration, December 2005, Darrow, LA (detail)



Untitled, June 2010, Gulf of Mexico (detail)



Nightmare, Carville, LA, 2010



Gangrene, Luling, LA, 2010



By way of the latest photo gallery at The Morning News, above is some work by eco-minded photographer J. Henry Fair, from his recent series Industrial Scars. Fair's been doing a great deal of work on this theme, much of which has been collected and is about to published in book form, which is to be published sometime this month.

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And once again, because critical discussion on this topic seems to being going full pitch these days, over at Guernica contributor John Patrick Leary weighs in on the recent trend of "Detroitsploitation":

Ruin photography, in particular, has been criticized for its 'pornographic' sensationalism, and my bookseller friend won't sell much of it for that reason. And others roll their eyes at all the positive attention heaped on the young, mostly white 'creatives,' which glosses over the city's deep structural problems and the diversity of ideas to help fix them. So much ruin photography and ruin film aestheticizes poverty without inquiring of its origins, dramatizes spaces but never seeks out the people that inhabit and transform them, and romanticizes isolated acts of resistance without acknowledging the massive political and social forces aligned against the real transformation, and not just stubborn survival, of the city. And to see oneself portrayed in this way, as a curiosity to be lamented or studied, is jarring for any Detroiter, who is of course also an American, with all the sense of self-confidence and native-born privilege that we’re taught to associate with the United States.

Quite a long and thorough piece -- comprehensive, intelligent, and astute. Full article here.

About the only question I have from reading the thing is...someone's making a Red Dawn 2?

(And no, I haven't been researching this topic lately. Just seems like it keeps popping up in a number of places.)

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