The picture above shares something in common with all the other photographs on this post. They were all taken with a Nikon, and were posted to the Internet with their digital image naming convention intact; that is, they are all named dscn0281.jpg.
One of Many Baby Photos from This Website
Years ago, before the days of Google or Bing image search, I would use the search engine of the day to view jpegs and gifs with similar names. It was a way to sort of randomly cut though the Internet--extracting a core sample of sorts--to view the visual imagery that was being injected into cyberspace.A Test Project to Inject CO2 Into a Dry Oilfield to Extract the Remaining Oil; from This Website
I first played this game more than 15 years ago, and it has been years since my last attempt. Based on anecdotal memory, there seems to be a lot less porn, and certainly a lot less of the home-made stuff from the days of the BBS systems. There is also a lot more posting being done outside of the United States. Outlaw content has shrunk, and banal posting has grown exponentially, with commerce as the main generator of content. That includes bloggers like myself who post on art; the subjects of our discourse are the objects and gestures that are promoted, advertised, and sold through galleries, museums, and publications--all components of the larger art market.The Vibrating Mistress from This Website
What caused me to play this game again was an email I received last week from an old trick I hadn't heard from in more than a year. As it turns out, he lives close to my new job, and his invitation to come over would (in addition to a roll in the hay) allow me to avoid most of the traffic on my commute home. His email to me included a picture (which I cropped to disguise his identity) was named by his Nikon.The Nanjing Women's Federation Send Relief Supplies Worth 1.5 Million Yuan to Sichuan Province; From This Website
What also caught my attention was the unsolicited inclusion of the sexy photo. He goes to the gym daily to earn his physique, so I'm sure it was sent with a sense of pride. But the main reason to include the photograph with the invitation to come over was to have it function as an enticement. Basically he is objectifying himself to gain some potential future benefit.
The primary thing all these images have in common (except maybe the first one) is their objectification of one sort or another. They all nail down a particular time, place, event, and/or thing, then add value though photography's documentation function. Every image in this post can be titled, This is a Signifier of my Privileged Experience. If nothing else, the photographer/posters are a members of the small minority of the world's population that both own a digital camera and have access to the Internet.Cute Surfer Boy from This Website
I mention this not to bash folks who happen to be born in the developed world and use their cash to buy and sell things and take vacations, but to point out that us human beings also function as objects in these systems. The objection to being objectified comes from the fact that we start out like the first image in this post, a pudgy ball of flesh that is loved but contains no inherent use-value. We are miffed when others treat us like objects because it reminds us that the world (unlike mom) doesn't love us for ourselves.
Bush, Crazy Bastard! from This Website
What I find interesting is the ease with which gay men objectify themselves. Frankly, I feel better when I'm valued as a piece of meat rather than slathered in some normative social trope designed to disguise the stench of homophobia--like a mortician using stage make-up to disguise a rotting corpse as a loved one. I'd rather not experience the polite hypocrisy of you returning my smile when we pass in public, then have you vote against my interests in the privacy of the ballot booth. At least show the courage of your beliefs and call me a fag, so I can return the favor and punch you in the nose.
So other than a string of letters and numbers, what does my dscn0281 share with these others?
For a few moments last week he was my baby; I was his driller and extractor of fluids.
He was my vibrating mistress and my relief effort.
We were each others impulse and shirtless hottie.An Ancient Amphitheater in Cyprus from This Website
I have been his crazy bastard and his pissing boy. We have role-played this in front of others.
Cannabis Seedling from This Website
I think he's exotic and I feel ancient; perhaps the reverse is true.
Summer Camp in Taiwan from This Website
We function as each others drug, porn star, and furtive encounter.
And like these last images show, we had our reunion, and that time apart made evident the aging process.
High School Reunion Photo from This Website
From the website:Oranges
My interests lie in discovering new structures within the latter stages of decay in the cycle of life. When the outer layers of decayed fragile fibres are peeled back they reveal a new array of fractal surface structures; some of these new images are incorporated into my experimental art work.
We are objects objectified, and objectifiers ourselves. But unlike some of the normative examples above, we didn't commodify the encounter or each other. And perhaps that is what makes us queer.DSCN0281.jpg