"This woman is already dead so I photograph her ghost. She is one of the many; here in sunny Hollywood, California, murdered by life without the slimmest of a chance. I give her fifteen dollars even though she only asks for ten. The extra five includes my last dollar. That's my donation. I'm down among the lepers and I just gave away my last dollar. I'm a fucking saint. I'm the patron saint of whores"
Following on from the previous post I thought about what is not ambiguous, what is multi-layered but has none of the between-ness that the Host Gallery Blog mentioned. And I thought of Scot Sothern, partly because his pictures are political on several levels, but also because his pictures, which are more of an archive really, do all the things that many acclaimed photographers try to do but in a more concentrated and direct form - one that was incidental to his main activities, which was visiting low-class hookers for whatever reasons.
The pictures are multi-layered but are also voyeuristic in an unnerving way. They do raise questions of ethics and I wonder how people respond to them. Nobody seems to think much of them ( Stan Banos and Doug Rickard are a couple of the exceptions), or at least people are reluctant to show them or comment on them - possibly because they are afraid of getting the "wrong answer" (a consensus can quickly build up amongst independent thinking critics/commentators and bloggers and god help you if you have the wrong answer. I think I might have the wrong answer on this one, but then again at least I have an answer). But I think they are incredible. At the same time, I could fully understand why people don't like the pictures, the way they were made or what and who they represent, not to mention the photographer, his lifestyle and how he made the pictures.
Or am I just mistaken. Are these pictures just exploitative crap? What are they? I'm really fishing for a few comments here, which isn't something I often do. But I feel these pictures and the history and politics from which they emerged (however unfortunate or distasteful) are quite unique. I am probably wrong. So what do you think. Are they
- Amazing and insightful?
- Cheap, nasty and exploitative?
- Nothing special?
- Loads of this kind of stuff around?
Do feel free to comment at length. I want to know what point I am missing.