IDEAS

Here we'll share ideas we've found useful in thinking about photography


Art is becoming a specialized colony of the monopoly capitalist media.

Allan Sekula, Dismantling Modernism, Reinventing Documentary. In Photography Against the Grain. London: MACK, 2016, p55.

The only necessary rigour in a commodified cultural environment is that of incessant self-promtion... Careers are "managed". Innovation is regularized, adjusted to the demands of the market. Modernism is transformed into farce, into a professionalism based on academic appointments, periodic exposure, lofty real estate speculation in the former factory districts of decaying cities, massive state funding, jet travel, and increasingly ostentatious corporate patronage of the arts.

This last development represents an attempt by monopoly capital to "humanize" its image for the middle managerial and professional sub-classes (the vicarious consumers of high culture, the museum audience) in the face of an escalating legitimation crisis. High art is rapidly becoming a specialized colony of the monopoly capitalist media. 


What Do We Read?

Hans Eisler

In Leah Ollman, Camera As Weapon: Worker Photography Between the Wars. Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, 1991, pp 17-18.

How and why do we read?
And how and why does the bourgeoisie read?
The bourgeoisie read for fun, 
for diversion.
We read to learn, to concentrate.
In their books, the bourgeoisie
seek illusion, escape
from reality.
In our books, we seek reality, 
so as to change it.
The bourgeoisie want a "trip",
an "experience".
We want to stimulate our minds, 
broaden our awareness.
For the bourgeoisie, art is for
pleasure, for consumption.
For us, art is for thought, for
learning, for struggle.