According to the English writer Dorothy l. Sayers, “A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought,” so she probably wouldn’t think much of this lead- in.
However, she’d think much less of the current state of photography. My, what an uninspired, overdone pile of old turds is photography in this year of our lord 2017. Open a magazine or a phone and you’re bound to see at least one of the same eight images—eight images I will now prosecute, sentence, and violently bugger over the next couple of pages. Here come the swears.
Palm Trees Against a Clear Empty Sky.
When someone takes one these photos and shares it across social media, they’re hoping to put this thought in everyone’s head: “Julian must be in LA! What a cool palm tree! Excellent photo, guy!” Here’s what people really think: “If I see another photo of a palm tree against a pristine blue sky, I’m going to force a magnum of champagne up the bottom of the person who took it and then kick it till it breaks, sending thousands of irretrievable and very painful glass shards throughout their rectum.” That’s what people think when they see a photo of a palm tree.
Food & Coffee.
This style of photography should be limited to magazines with titles like Boredom Enthusiast, The Snoozeville Gazette, or Condé Nast Tedium. No one needs to open Instagram and see what you are about to eat or drink. Do you have any idea how much the world’s waitpersons hate you? I actually can’t believe food snaps are still a thing after the years of ridicule the perpetrators have endured. Why are they still doing it? You may as well share with us the nut-speckled black thing it became after it passed through your digestive system.
People Holding Up the Leaning Tower of Pisa etc.
“Look everyone! I’m holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Look, now I’ve got Ayers Rock in the palm of my hand! Now I’m pinching the Statue of Liberty between my fingers! What fun! Tee-hee!” You lousy fucking bum. What are you doing? We’ve all seen that shit a million times. “But it’s a thing! It’s what you do!” No it isn’t, you lousy scumbag. Give me that camera. Now drop your pants, bend over… bit more… shuffle to your left… to the right a little… stop… CLICK! Now you’ve got a picture of yourself getting rimmed by a sphinx. Get outa here, you whacky funster.
Out the Plane Window.
You know that moment when you’re looking out the window, 30,000 feet in the sky, and you sort of think, “Wow, it really is amazing that we can fly”? And then, because you’re so charged up on the marvel of humanity, you take a photo, and you look at the photo and consider posting it on Instagram later with the hashtag “#birdseyeview” or something like that? But then you’re like, “Nah, everyone posts that pic,” and you put your phone back in your pocket and order another bag of $18.00 M&Ms? Keep doing that.
Long Exposures Camping Under the Stars.
I actually think these ones are cool, but apparently they’re overcooked, so here we go: Hey, fuck you with your goddamn long exposures of the stars on a goddamn camping trip. Yeah, it looks really cool, but we’ve seen it before, so give it a goddamn rest before I pull all the pegs out and kick your tent off a cliff. Oh, I dare you to place your camera on a tripod and focus the lens to infinity. Do it. I double dare you. Oh, OH! I know you’re not setting your aperture between f/2.8 – f/4 right now! I know you’re not doing that… Whoa, you better not attach a cable release for optimal results…
Standing On a Mountain with Your Arms Open.
When I was 19 I decided to be a filmmaker. My unfinished Super 8 opus, The Installment, had a black and white scene featuring my friend Andrew wearing a business suit and clown makeup while standing on the top of a small hill. The day we shot the scene I remember giving the directions, “Just stand there,” and then looking through the viewfinder to find Andrew with his arms outstretched like he’d just reached the top of Mount Everest. There’s gotta be some science behind this, because it’s a pose that people automatically assume when they stand on top of a mountain. It also sucks. Stop it.
Good Looking People Being Good Looking.
As someone with a face like an old catcher’s mitt and the body to match, I think I speak for everyone when I say stop taking pictures of yourself being attractive. You know what I mean; pouting your lips and softening your eyes. Gimme a break. Unless you’ve dropped a hundred pounds or had a facelift, no one needs reminding that you look good. Or maybe you need reminding do you? Maybe you’re addicted to being complimented about your looks. I wouldn’t know about that–like I said, I’ve got a face like a 16th century agricultural worker, and I’ve never tasted the sweet, sweet taste of “happy face with love heart eyes and an aubergine”, so I’ll never form a habit like you, you red hot junky.
Your Fucking Pet.
I don’t know, put a hat on it or something? Something. You have to do something besides take a photo of an animal doing nothing. If you have a dog, don’t photograph him lying on the grass—photograph him when his little red lipstick comes out. If you’ve got a cat, why not put some jeans on it, or doll’s shoes. Come on. There are only three times you should take a straight up photo of your pet: (1) when you first get it (“I got a puppy!”), (2) once it’s fully grown (“Look how big Rex got!”), and (3) when it dies (“Rex got sick and I had to shoot him.”). Otherwise, lay off the pet photos. At least give it a fez made out of a Styrofoam cup or something. You gotta do something. Please.