In our age of near-infinite photography, reality is belittled by the images we make of it. Reality even seems to imitate the image, rather than the other way around. To what “reality”, then, does the photographic image offer access?
In these two series of images, Rana Dasgupta asks how the photograph may be made to merge once again with the mythic flow of “reality”.
In Like Reality, Except Real, everyday urban scenes and objects, shot on 35mm film, are taunted by goblin voices that seem to rise from below the street. The world is not “everyday”, they seem to say, nor does seeing allow you to know it. These voices supply another, fairytale, knowledge, under whose influence “reality” becomes real again.
The daylight of this first series cannot penetrate to the subterranean world of Eleven Seconds, which asks us what the human image has become in the age of pornography. Pornography, perhaps the ultimate photography of the “real”, can paradoxically deliver none of the reality of sex – until we slow down the camera and view it in capsules of clotted time. Then we see the hellish truth of the erotic: true animal forms erupt from human impostors, and desire is transubstantiated into heat and light.