Above: Flames. Credit: Hans Braxmeier/Pixabay.

A Burnt Photo

In the former days of the proliferation of physical photo-snapshots, extreme dissatisfaction, disgust, or frustration towards a subject could be expressed directly as violence carried out upon a photo by ripping, scratching, folding, cutting or burning. (Artist Douglas Gordon has used such techniques extensively in his "You and Me and ...." series of defaced portraits.) A face physically scratched out--or burned out--of a photo can be a disturbing motif which speaks of loathing, revulsion and animosity. A question remains as to the digital equivalents of defacing a photo in this way. Techniques can include intentionally glitching a picture, blocking-out faces with superimposed solid shapes, or vandalizing with mark-up pen functions. In the days of the snapshot, the urge behind burning a photo--the epitome of violence to it--was often the desire for the complete and permanent destruction of the-picture-as-evidence (of a former lover, for example). These days with photo-snapshots made on one's phone the same permanent destruction can often be achieved by an action as anodyne and mundane as simply hitting the delete button--typically a waste basket icon.

(6 September 2019)