Aesthetics Of Aging Essay

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An Aesthetics Of Aging Recall, reader if ever in the mountains a mist has caught you, through which you could not see except as moles do through skin … Dante, Comedy1 ARGUMENT: THE RELEASE FROM THE BODILY EGO Many recent studies on visual culture highlight the representation of the body in photography as a signifier of social constructions. Photography however has always played an important part in the construction of the subject, a perspective that I suggest in what follows, one that combines analytical concepts with aspects of the phenomenology of perception, indispensable for the understanding of art works and of our relation to them. By contrast with the overexposure of the body in commercial photography, photographers in…show more content…
They presently mesh with an apostrophe to the imagination, which also sees without using eyes. » James Merrill (89-90). 1 of the self. Instead of showing “old people”, her photographs become carriers of optical distortions, signifiers of self-perception and self-representation. Rather than an instrument more or less adapted to the necessities of life, the body is shown as something concurrently solid, stable, and changing, movable. A paradox epitomized in the phrasing of the philosopher Marc Richir as: “an inner statue, infinitely labile and moving, ephemeral and changing in its manifestations.” (11) An art photography perspective on aging – connected to time, movement, and change -- neither documents nor sentimentalizes but, I would argue, contributes to a creative rethinking of aging. Significantly, I will not approach aging as a state (documented by the photographic image) but as a process of growth (that is, of subject construction, and of shaping, adapting subjectivity to new parameters). In this dynamics of change and becoming rather than a destructive agent, time is conceived of as a formative category and a source of creativity. How can photography visualize aspects of aging that do not merely correspond in a documentary way to visible realities? How are such complex psychic structures as those related to aging translated into visual patterns? These are the
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