Pictures of horror are often shocking and yet “bestselling”
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Following the survey of photographed sexuality and lust in Darkside I, the other end of the physical spectrum is illuminated: the intimate affinity between death and photography – impairment, disease, degeneration, violence and death, pain, grief and loss.
Recording death is, along with war reporting, one of photography’s original tasks. Pictures of horror are often shocking and yet “bestselling”. They provoke questions about exploitation, complicity and power relationships – infront of and behind the camera and in the photograph itself. Photography often provokes accusations that it aestheticizes misery, creating a “pornography of horror”. Enlightenment quickly turns into transfiguration, photographic enlightenment into commerce. Darkside I and II examine Eros and Thanatos in pictures and words. With photographs by Antoine d’Agata, Hans Danuser, F. Holland Day, Peter Hujar, Sally Mann, Enrique Metinides, Ishiuchi Miyako, Gilles Peress, Sophie Ristelhueber, Andres Serrano, Fazal Sheikh, Cindy Sherman, W. Eugene Smith, Weegee and many others.