Abstract

Abstract:

This article considers how Allen Ginsberg's process of photographing and captioning reveals a project of community formation that reconsiders the position of the social subject. For Ginsberg the documentarian, the image/caption mode is ideal for his documentary project of recording the self in relation to its community. He produces a version of the self that is relative to its community and displaces an atomized, stable self from the self-portrait. His photographs and writings show the formation of a loose cultural group and demonstrate a point of view that shows how the image/caption as medium serves as a particularly descriptive method of documenting a community's emergence. In Ginsberg's work, portraiture and self-portraiture, in particular, work to describe a loose structure of affection and desire. Picture-poems open up the possibility of seeing the group's arrangements because the aesthetic practice of cross-reading shows the photographer's investment in mimesis. Ginsberg's version of documentational aesthetics, that insists on giving durability to a historical moment, shows that he prioritizes a relation of "among," enfolding the many, instead of a relation "between" two. His archival practice, furthermore, reiterates this insistence on a documentational viewpoint that speaks to the historical moment. Ginsberg's collection, writing, photography, and arrangement insist, in contrast to the way the Beats are perceived in the press, on durability and permanence: they demonstrate a future orientation, a drive to record history. The gestural possibility of the snapshot shows its fit to capturing the ordinary and organizing the emergence of a social form.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1536-0342
Print ISSN
0011-1589
Pages
pp. 219-244
Launched on MUSE
2019-07-20
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.