The wonderful thing about belief is how uncritical it is of its surroundings. Take amulets, for example. These can be man-made (coins, dominoes, glass beads) or naturally occurring (fossils, shark teeth, mole paws), but in general an amulet’s physical attributes are worth much less than the faith placed in them.
Amulets can be held for an almost infinite number of reasons: for good luck or for love’s satisfaction; for protection against disease or for defence against malignant personalities; for wind or to safeguard against storms. However, all amulets have one salient characteristic: they’ve got to be able to fit in your pocket. For although amulets communicate with forces beyond our ken, their range is limited. They must be carried close to the flesh in order to work their magic.
In photography, objects as subjects is definitely nothing new but rather, what’s worth noticing is the obsession that rises throughout the medium’s history. New York Times critic Hilton Kramer and MoMA curator John Szarkowski famously said William Eggleston’s photographs were “banaly perfect” and that his object-subjects were noted by their presence. Likewise, I read recently that Ansel Adams started taking sharply focused photos of found objects like lichen-covered anchors to showcase the magnification of his lens. So whether the nature of this reemergence of object-centered images is just art school standard or a cycling of trends, as always it’s most important to pay attention to who is doing it best.
In that sense, there are few photographers who I think are reinterpreting this style well and that includes David Brandon Geeting. A contemporary of Peter Sutherland’s, Geeting holds his own and proves his ability to transfer a mood to whatever object-subject he photographs. As he quotes one of his photo professors at School of Visual Arts (SVA), “‘snapshot’ photographs are only exciting if the photographer’s life is exciting”. Geeting’s life is “boring” and he likes it that way.