Album art for Crystal Castles III (2012), inspired by Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda’s image of a veiled woman holding a wounded relative in her arms after a demonstration in Yemen last fall, winner of the 2011 World Press Photo of the Year.
The album cover is probably more pop than political, but it reminded me of instagrammed war photography, now readily supplied by both citizen witnesses and professional photographers. A phenomenon I think could be considered in two ways:
- Digitally enhancing and/or applying a filter to images in order to elevate, or divorce entirely, from original context. An impulse informed by the desire to romanticize and heighten a photo’s inherent dramatic value. (In the above example: what was once a photo from a nation in the throes of revolution is now a gothgaze cover readymade for tumblrs devoted to creepers and upsidedown cross fabric prints)
- Or perhaps, making traditionally otherized images accessible through what is simply a recently common and recognizable aesthetic, the same one some might use on their brunch photos, see: Everyday Africa. And recognizing how this accessibility propagandizes war, see: Israel Defense Forces.
In short, does the new visual context insist real isn’t real enough, or is it the new real?