Went to market today, first real cold day since i’ve been here. Good for sitting in front of the window and thinking.
I told about the greve (strike) against the new laws governing retirement that the government wants to instigate to save money (for how long?). The movement has spread to all sectors of the community, even the teenagers are joining in, because they are supposed to fill the gaps in the workforce as retirees leave. Reading the newspaper, one realizes that there are many different sectors that do difficult (teachers) and often dangerous work, who rely on an early retirement. They will have to work till they reach 67!!!
Saw a retrospective of his photographs at the Museum of Modern art. Having taught teenage boys, this exhibition, and my subsequent reading of an article about his life and work, also set me thinking. Especially the way some artists but especially photographers justify work that is explicitly sexual by nature. He calls his work “real life, real situations”. One critic describes Clark’s photographic technique as: “drawing you into the moral void of gorgeously sensuous squalor”. He says that he is interested in adolescence: the slang, the dress code,and haircuts- he seems himself to be a teenager in a grandfather’s body. His subjects lack self-consciousness, and his photographs clearly show this bravura.
What i question is this: to what degree, though he adamantly refutes it, is he exploiting the insecurities and frailties of teenagers who have no other sense of self but that which is sexual. One of his favorite characters is a 15 year old hispanic boy with barely evident down on his lip, but very well developed sexual organs. This is clearly his pride, and he poses proudly for Clark. There is nothing pornographic about his photos, and his subjects are portrayed with empathy and understanding, but this is the main theme of his work, and i would like to see Clark work in another genre to prove his mettle.