The mysterious naked children of the wild

I seem to be becoming more and more disillusioned with certain photography styles. One in particular is the young hipster chic thing:

please not that in this scenario boy could be girl and girl could be boy, boy and girl could also be the same person, in which case would usually be a girl but also possibly a boy:

boy: hi, girl.
girl:
hi boy… oh wow! whats that?
b: it’s a film camera… used to belong to my dad or something?
g: nice.
b: oh you’re one of them beautiful people aren’t you?… I have an idea.
g:
what?
b: lets go to the woods and you can take off your clothes and be mysterious and stuff.
g:
that sounds like it’s just up my street because I’m so quirky and unique.
b: yea you are… we both are… and so is my photography.

[group hug]

OK, that’s one scenario, but for anyone still wondering what type of photography I’m discussing, here’s a nice little list of some common features for you.

naked people in wilderness (with or without snow), people facing away as they enter water, people facing away in wilderness (with or without snow), naked people in water. naked people looking vulnerable. deers and similar animals (including horses + with or without snow). hunters. dead animals. dead animals on walls. dead animals as rugs. dead deers. dead horses. bears. strange trees. strange dead trees. mysterious floating limbs. people who seem to be trapped in the past. mysterious limbs entering water. portraits of the elderly looking vulnerable. people photographed naked on their bed looking vulnerable. just pretty girls. just boobs of pretty girls. people wearing masks. etc. etc.

I’m pretty sure most photographers could tick a few off on that list (myself included), so it’s not that I don’t like the subjects or the aesthetics. It’s more how they seem like the easy option. The HDR, sunsets and kittens for the more established tastes of photographers.

I just fail to connect with these sorts of pictures anymore. For most the results seem empty and meaningless surface layered images, but with the added fluff of poetic quotes, song lyrics, artist statements and a bit mystery to go along with the T&A!

There are hundreds of photographers out there produce similar work. Similar looking subjects in similar looking surroundings, composed in similar ways. So it’s no surprise that you may find that this work can blur together.

And because there are so many photographers producing this sort of work I really do have to question whether they are indeed showing parts of their lives, or whether it’s simple a more contrived process, all in the aim of getting a bit of attention.

Anyway, I suppose the thing I’m trying to question is that if these images are preconceived, what is the point in taking them? Can they truly hold any more value than a simple landscape? A pretty pretty? a kitten or puppy? or baby in a bucket?

Are these images simply destined to be the new commercial wall art? The HDR sunsets for those with a more educated photography palette?

Then again, maybe it is me who is missing something? Maybe there are thousands of  young, skinny, beautiful and naked people out there, dancing in the moonlit woods, around campfires while people take their pictures, performing for the cameras. Young, skinny, beatiful and naked people who sit on their beds looking expressionless, while deers stalk the outsides of the snow ridden fields and stuffed bears stand tall in the hallway on leopard skin rugs?

By: James Dodd