Prolific fashion photographer Nick Knight is constantly re-defining and discussing pop culture in his work, never has this been more true than in ‘Text Talk’, an editorial created for Garage Magazine in 2012. With styling by Katy England and modelling by Lindsey Wixon Nick Knight combines the recognisable imagery of texting and uses them in a way that is reminiscint of Roy Lichtenstein’s work to create a modern take on pop culture.
Groupies, the original fangirls – dedicated and devoted to rock stars. In the 60’s rock photography legend & chief photographer at Rolling Stone magazine, Baron Wolman photographed these obsessed young girls who were willing to dedicate their lives to getting the attention of rock stars. Wolman gave the followers a change of authority and take centre stage in their own right. Wolman believed that groupies deserved a place on the cover of Rolling Stone just as much as the rockers they loved.
Today groupies have almost levelled up to become the fangirl – to debate which is healthier or more dedicated would be a pointless exercise, the digital age now allows fans to build a fantasy relationship with their idols from the other side of the world, whereas before, groupies would have to follow the band from city to city in order to be a true fan, rather than just on twitter. The prior method meant devotion was built on “real” interaction but a place to call home and often morals were compromised. It would be interesting to consider how technology and digital culture has fed the culture of groupies and transformed them into something completely new.
‘The society of the spectacle’
Guy Debord – 1967
Key relevant notes
I Separation Perfected
4. Images control human social relationships. “It is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.”
“Weltanschauung” – meaning a world view of a group/individual.
15. “the spectacle is the chief product of present day society.” – consuming/ watching the performance of consumerism.
18. “it is inevitable that it (the spectacle) should elevate the human sense of sight to the special place once occupied by touch; the most abstract of the senses, and the most easily deceived” – consumerism and mass media means that sight is more often deceived less reliable than it once was.
19. “So far from realising philosophy, the spectacle philosophises reality, and turns the material life of everyone into a universe of speculation.”
21. “The spectacle is the bad dream of modern society in chains, expressing nothing more than its wish for sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of that sleep.” – Metaphor for consumerism, not allowing opinion movement or the basic human needs.
25. Through the spectacle cultural promises are never met. Promises aren’t realistic. Much like the American dream.
27. The spectacle allows no freedom apart from activity, which is banned in the spectacle. No freedom, must do what the spectacle says is right.
35. The more independent you are the more you are cut off. Reminds me of Corey Doctorows book ‘Little Brother’ if you try and be different or make a stand you become isolated and a target.
II The commodity as spectacle
38. The spectacle only cares about quantitive. It’s more about numbers than it is substance. No one cares what you are buying as long as you are buying something.
III Unity and devision within appearances
59. Behind the glittery surface of mass media and the spectacle are passive consumers.
60. The portrayal of the celebrity is the unachievable version of labour. Work hard, buy products and this could be you. It’s a goal for consumers which in unattainable.
69. Each product you buy is a shortcut to total consumption.
The Spacetaker website describes the work of Magid Salmi and how it comments on modern society in a unique way.
Spacetaker is excited to host Alternate Reality, a solo exhibition by Houston artist Magid Salmi, as part of its ARC Exhibition Series. Salmi’suniquely constructed still life photographs feature the use of common household and perishable items to create an alternate reality which investigates the notion that what we consider strange and shocking at this point in time may become the standard of things to come.
It is within this process that he describes and encapsulates our society’s obsession with consumerism, and how prevalent technological progress has become in our daily lives. “My photographs suggest that ideas, concepts, and truths are only as pertinent as the time in which they exist,” states Salmi. Taking a humorous approach to many of his works, Salmiencourages the audience to discover their own individual connections and interpretations to the images.
On Magid Salmi’s website the series is called iTECH this name along with the consistent use of white makes a direct reference to the iconic and global brand, Apple. The browning of the bulb reminds us that these items are perishable and makes me think about how temporary modern society is, within a year or so this garlic phone will have lost it’s initial integrity and end up in the bin, much like our latest technology will be in a year. It is hard to know if this is the meaning Magid Salmi meant to convey because he provides no description to his work, and is keen to let the viewer create their own relationship with the image and the idea behind it.
It’s important to me that my work contains some sort of social commentary, but I also want to find a connection with my audience by utilizing and transforming items that everyone might be familiar with.
Salmi’s representation of our society through an alternate reality reaffirms my idea that a photo can be constructed to become a reality in it’s own right. A portal into a non existant world, and in this case the portals purpose is meant to make us reflect on our own relationship with technology.