Landscape format, etc.
The novelty of a time where the most common photographic side effects (depth of field, motion blur, flash) effect rareness, and where even just the landscape format makes nostalgic, is remarkable.
As its descent from natural vision means it is not born artificial, the landscape format has long ranked a degree of difficulty above the portrait format, which is art-ificial even before my intervention. But if a generation longs not for abstraction but for connectedness to the world, then it is the landscape format which speaks to it all by itself. (All the more so since the landscape format has simply grown rare).
To wear a camera around one's neck, which is back in fashion,1 is a statement and a vulnerability, because anything even minimally serious opens itself up to criticism. In this sense, presenting a camera is like speaking of an application for a competitive position, the success of which is still unclear.
Seriousness succeeds half a decade of cool indifference. Was it in light of a new political sensibility, the demands from which we were still learning to follow, that we made ourselves unintelligible, therefore unassailable, as we shared only fleeting mobile phone photographs, inserted a pale and pixelated layer between ourselves and the world through the superzoom, testifying our distance also through its telescopic focal length alone, et cetera?
Anyway, for five years, photography has dazedly observed a world slipping away. Today, it gently assures that the world is still here, and that one is still in it.
What has happened? First, a generation has taken politics and values back into its own hands, rather than watching events unfold in disbelief. The same discourses around identity, climate, etc. that we were shyly attempting to go along with in 2018, are now driven by youth itself. (Hence, a new courage for seriousness.) Second, a generation deprived of one component of adolescence nostalgically flirts with those photographs the prior left lying on Tumblr in 2010, back when one still existed in the world. (Hence, retrokitsch again.) And third, simultaneous spatial limitation and global interconnectedness have initiated a tug-of-war of dimensions, only counteracted by a resocialisation of individual and its immediate surroundings.2 Spoken backwards: "Here I am, and this is the world, and I am part of it."3
Funnily, Wolfgang Tillmans has been running on just that mode continuously since the nineties.
Succeeded is a “here am I, and over there, in the distance, is the world.”