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Art in all its forms

If you were an up and coming photographer who was stopped on the streets and asked to photograph heroin addicts in a New York apartment, would you be thrilled at this chance? According to the critic who wrote about Jessica Dimmock, this should be how any artist needs to feel in a common situation. According to the critic, art can be a lone aspect in which beauty is not judged by the story behind the images, but rather the distinctness and how it makes the viewer feel, and “pleasure and beauty can occur in the midst of pain because it is art.” Even though it may seem counterintuitive at first, this claim does have validity.

Representation of un-ideal situations tends to draw a big and diverse crowd. For example, popular culture can demonstrate that people are very drawn to art forms involving a situation they do not want to be in. According to TV.com, up to three of the top television shows depict adverse styling (Lost, House, NCIS). When something is out of the ordinary, our heads seem to turn quickly and we are in amazement of the situation. The same can be told by movies. Movies of the action genre seem to stretch the confinements we are used to, and portray many un-ideal things. Yet, we seem to be naturally inclined to this with no end in sight.

One possible reason why people are so attracted to art depicting these things is that it is simply in our nature. It would be hard to argue that children, for example, seldom resort to violence or anger when one steals another’s toy. We tend to act in violence when under a tough situation. So whenever we see a photograph of a cocaine addict punching someone, it might relate to another person, creating an attraction. According to Heather Whipps of the “LiveScience” journal, there is an abundance of evidence that supports “violence…..are all part of human nature.” Theoretically, only a certain number of people can be put under this category, for those who find no relation to the lifestyles of what is being photographed, the basic notion that it is different to what they are accustomed to may get their attention.

This is not to say that people are only attracted to these kinds of portrayals. Art that depicts much more humane and comforting things can also be very popular. For example, the artwork of Van Gogh is very popular, yet they don’t carry a common theme of violence. This ties back into the author’s views that art is a “phenomenon” unlike any other. Only in art can pleasure arise from pain.

Jessica Dimmock stumbled upon an opportunity to take photographs of cocaine users in what was called “The Ninth Floor,” a floor in an apartment in New York City. Although these conditions are less than favorable, the critic still claims that her work was beautiful. They then continue to make the claim that art is an aspect in which beauty can emit from a situation that many feel contains no beauty. This argument is valid because people tend to be attracted to this kind of art.

Sources: http://www.tv.com/shows/top-shows/today.html?pop=1
http://www.livescience.com/history/090225-human-aggression-evolution.html

Comments

I agree with everything you’re saying here. I don't just think its art that human are attracted to when it comes to violence or situations that you don't want to be in. This connects to the news and media, they usually don’t tell people about the good things that people are doing because it doesn’t draw people’s attention. There are a lot of people who are doing the right things but the people who are doing wrong get more shine and publicity. I think that's why in class our teacher had us look us photographs of the great depression by Agee, Walker, Rosler, and etc. Not just our class has talked about and discussed their work because of the images and to see what these people went through it’s a blessing that we didn’t have to go through any of that. But I think we act in violence because of tough situation and sometimes the way they are treated at home can affect that also

I think that the most interesting thing about this article and Jessica Dimmock's photography of these drug addicts is exactly the reason why people are so attracted to this kind of work: it's dirty. If you want to catch the attention of people, photograph something completely opposite. That is, people love to look at the inside of other people's life- not only because they are different, but possibly even because we find refuge in the fact that we are not these people. However, the dirty and grimy reality of the lives of drug addicts has been fascinating America for years. Shows like Cocaine Nation, Celebrity Rehab, and True Life have gained high ratings and caught the attention of millions, and this is undoubtedly because Americans want to see other people's problems; we are a naturally nosy people. This is not to say that we want these people to live poorly forever, half the fun of watching these shows is to see the people get better and show signs of change.
In some situations, it is disheartening to see that people can be more drawn to a grimy situation instead of conventional art, but it is also something that will not change any time soon. The quote from your first paragraph that art can appear in the midst of pain is indeed very true, and perhaps this is a good thing. Being able to perceive art in everyday gloomy situations is a gift that, upon practice, can provide the common people with a new outlook they haven’t seen before. It follows that optimism can be applied to everything, and surely some people revel in the fact that the life of these drug addicts is artistic. So, I think that we should continue to indulge in the nature of our opposites, we can learn a lot from them, so long as we do not turn them into a zoo of sorts. We must stay socially connected with these people- the moment we turn them into an attraction we lose any connection with them as humans, and any chance to help them.

I think that the most interesting thing about this article and Jessica Dimmock's photography of these drug addicts is exactly the reason why people are so attracted to this kind of work: it's dirty. If you want to catch the attention of people, photograph something completely opposite. That is, people love to look at the inside of other people's life- not only because they are different, but possibly even because we find refuge in the fact that we are not these people. However, the dirty and grimy reality of the lives of drug addicts has been fascinating America for years. Shows like Cocaine Nation, Celebrity Rehab, and True Life have gained high ratings and caught the attention of millions, and this is undoubtedly because Americans want to see other people's problems; we are a naturally nosy people. This is not to say that we want these people to live poorly forever, half the fun of watching these shows is to see the people get better and show signs of change.
In some situations, it is disheartening to see that people can be more drawn to a grimy situation instead of conventional art, but it is also something that will not change any time soon. The quote from your first paragraph that art can appear in the midst of pain is indeed very true, and perhaps this is a good thing. Being able to perceive art in everyday gloomy situations is a gift that, upon practice, can provide the common people with a new outlook they haven’t seen before. It follows that optimism can be applied to everything, and surely some people revel in the fact that the life of these drug addicts is artistic. So, I think that we should continue to indulge in the nature of our opposites, we can learn a lot from them, so long as we do not turn them into a zoo of sorts. We must stay socially connected with these people- the moment we turn them into an attraction we lose any connection with them as humans, and any chance to help them.

I agree with the idea that people will always be attracted to the unknown, which can often be violent, self destructive, and inhospitable situations for the average person, but I think there is a fine line between beauty and entertainment. I don’t really like the way the critic of the documentary goes to say that any artist in Jessica Dimmock’s position should and would have been thrilled to enter this hellhole to take pictures.
I can understand the fact that such an entry to this world would result in good fortune for Jessica, but at whose expense? Who gains anything directly from these photographs other than Jessica? Also, the critic says that Jessica was “in it”, that she cared for these people as any one in her position would. While these people are still in trouble, where is Jessica? I ask, how can one truly be “in it”, when they can remove themselves from “it” at any time.
I find some of the pictures to be beautiful, but I feel as if the photographs are in some way tainted by the fact that the beauty in the photograph is somehow being exploited in a profitable way. I know that documentary is defended by the position that is an altruistic quest for humanitarian ideals, but why then, does only the photographer benefit and not the photographed? You never hear about a junkie bringing his photographs of his life and world to a magazine to be published, what qualifies Jessica to steal these moments from the individuals?

I agree with your insights, what I liked about your article was because it is different compared to other papers I have read; you added a lot of today’s media that people watch or are a part of. The fact that people want to see and are attracted to violence and situations people do not want to be in. If we all watch television shows as Spike T.V. with the most deadly crimes or worlds dangerous moments; everyone watches them either with excitement or attention. And with the article, of Dimmock living in a total different world using drugs; people love it. People love watching others suffer or go through something that they would never go through. So the part of you explaining that people loving watching people go through obstacles those others do not go through, was totally convincing to me.
Including me with everyone else calling the article and pictures beautiful; I found it interesting and eye grabbing. While I was looking through articles to write about, I saw this same article and I was fond to read about it. I read the whole thing and observed the pictures and ended up really liking the way she did this research. Dimmock was not researching or observing a drug addict, but she was the one who became the drug addict to show the world a new kind of experiment. This was another strong point that I agreed with you because even though her article is nasty, I am a believer of this article being beautiful.