The Tourist #46


“They {photographers using digital cameras} are less likely to be haunted by aesthetically unappealing images in the future.”  

The Bear in the woods.

If you gave a deer a gun would she kill the bear?

I read a facebook post by a fashion photographer which said “THIS. IS. IMPORTANT.”

It was an interview with a young man in a park, he was wearing chino’s and a shellsuit top, white socks and black work shoes, and had large headphones. It is fashionable to dress up in a way which used to designate someone as socially isolated now because it is preferable to be socially isolated rather than in the disgusting “centre”. He was definitely, his clothes said, NOT a patriarch.

The post was a small rant about the standard contemporary moralities disguised as scientistic ethics. The “Humans of New York” seems to be a kind of mash-up of Big Brother and Friends. A kind of chummy victorian triumphalism - “I think X is bad because I am not X I am Y (I decline to engage with any dialogue which questions my absolute right to minority status)”

The young man said, predictably, that the internet was bad.

He made a metaphor, about the woods. He said that if we were in the woods we wouldn’t know what to expect next. But when we are in the internet because of the algorithms (demons) we only see shit that we like. Nature metaphor.

The nature metaphor is quite bendable, right and left use it, science is good for this.
This chap used it as a predictable neo-liberal “leftie”, like a vegan sort of thing, which is to say as a staunch conservative. Much along the same lines as hating people for using plastic bags because the “don’t understand the damage they are doing to our precious earth” - delightedly blaming individuals for their lack of enlightenment. The thing with nature is, that you speak, so you are, so to speak, fucked. You are not nature, not anymore.

The implication is that these (wrong) people (here the “right wing” - which includes and equalises bigots, rapists and “stupid” people under one umbrella term) do not experience enough #veganism to realise the eternal truth of human being which is to maintain a now at deadly risk level balance between man (not mxn) and nature… There is some assumption here that we are nature, which is only the first of many monumental problems with the argument, but the woods is too exciting to forget.

Like the murderer earlier on, the circle of lies seems desperately important, here. The young man prefers his own savagely onanistic lie set, a lie set which masquerades as moral truth, to the at least relatively honestly greedy, selfish and disgusting lie set of the central non-other. The great white.

Do you want to meet a bear in the woods and be killed? If you do, off you pop. If you do not then ask someone who knows about bear about how best to avoid being killed by a bear - they will say that not going into woods with bears in is a pretty solid start to not being killed by a bear in the woods.

Let’s say you have to go through the woods anyway, will the bear still be there? Even though you HAVE to do there? Even though it would be unfair for the bear to kill you because you HAVE to be there?  Will you go looking for the bear? If you do not go looking for the bear will there still be a bear? Does the bear exist, even if you are not looking for it?

We could burn the woods down? This would avoid the risk of being killed by a bear substantially, the bear might be killed and if not would at least be a lot more visible?

Isn’t the nature metaphor sometimes just a shit utopian regression metaphor? A desire to feel sublimely not human for a moment “in nature”. Silence, peace, “beauty” - all of which rely on the absence of human experiencial distinction. The woods as idea exists only because there is something which is the un-woods. We are able to name the woods as woods because they are not-town. We are able to identify, symbolically, a difference between these places which relies on their mutual interdependence, that they exist is how they are not the other. This is the central negativity of human existence, and of the woods. The woods is in no way positively the woods with some particular value of their own, the woods are, merely.

In the woods we may meet a bear and be killed. In the city we may meet a person who shoots and kills us. Would you like to be shot and murdered in the city? Rather than mauled by a bear in the woods? Would you be less dead?

If you were a bear would you think of the woods as a beautiful, calm, spiritual, zen, yoga, nature place? (You wouldn’t, you would be a bear, is the answer.)

And all of this, so far, has been IRL projection. We have projected the virtual into the “real” (which is to say the imaginary) to try and make it understandable. Palatable. What happens if the internet is not really like the woods at all and bears no such comparison? The internet is entirely constructed, which is to say it is also unlike a town which to some extent relies also on being built in and from materials. The internet is not your computer (which of course is also built), but the imaginary space into which the “real” experiences of the virtual occur are not built from anything as such. Remember that we are here in a place where the laws of time and space are suspended, like in a wormhole in Star Trek, as above. The internet is only really conceivable as the internet, as an entirely contrived communications network experienced as exclusively virtual.

And in the space do you want to read Nazi propaganda? Are you aware that Nazi propaganda exists, there, in the internet? Should you read it, too? For the sake of completeness? So as to be killed by the bear, too? Might you be wrong about carrots? Is it your responsibility as a human being to recognise that by speaking you are also able to listen? We must make the effort to find bears, then? Not necessarily, we must remind ourselves that we are not bears, but “bears”. Being a vegan is not superior in any way to any other diet in all of its potential ways.

The truth of the metaphor is that walking in the woods, even hotly pursued by a real bear, is still a declining of human responsibility - your responsibility to doubt that es ist, merely, so.

The risk of social media is not that you won’t be challenged by things you do not like, it is that you will realise that what you do like is an even worse lie than the shit that your lie is posited in opposition to.

Do bears murder in the woods?

What is an aesthetically appealing photo to you is not necessarily aesthetically appealing to anyone else.

The Tourist #45


“Here you just take five [photos of everything] and then you can sit in the shadow and say; ‘This is crap, this is crap’ and then there are two left… there is so much freedom involved in this. (Danish female, mid-20s, interviewed in Istanbul).”

In what way does this constitute sociological (or any other form of scientific or not) research? This book flicks the Bourdieu’s quite often… the hoor’ll be turning in his grave.

Danish female asked what by whom when and to what end?

The Tourist #44


“Digital photography is typified by ‘instantaneous time’, the ‘power of now’ and what we term screen-ness.”

Immanence immanence.
The instantaneousness of time must then transmit the absolute proximity, at all times, of God?

An instantaneousness beyond the verbal?

An instantaneousness which includes the virtual.

An “environment” which includes signs and symbols saturated with meaning and meaninglessness… in much the same way they always did, then? Only there are more? Too many? We can’t find them again?

But yes of course we can find them again, that is how, after all, that we test reality, by re-finding. All this newness isn’t at all new, its merely quotation, isn’t it? So is it merely that we hear the same stupid messages over and over and over again to the point of reductio ad absurdum?

Is is not only that your will to power is drowned in stupidity that makes you angry? You are not anxious because there is so much you are furiously bored because there is so much of so little, it’s the absolute surity of total meaninglessness that the repetition and constant requotation induce. You would think the effect was anti emetic, the terrifying truth is quite the reverse.

(11,614 words, so far)

The Tourist #42


“By contrast with the ‘that-has-been’ temporality of analogue photographs, digital camera screens show ongoing events right here, with the spaces of pictureing, posing and consuming converged.”

Spinozean immanence.

(The reference to Barthes is so ill placed and ill considered it doesn’t bear the energy that would be required to write the two lines which would be required to elucidate how shit it is.)

Con - intensive prefix

Sumare - under

Sub - under

Emere - to buy, take.

Consumere - use up, eat, waste.

To consume - to destroy by separating into parts that cannot be reunited.

Photographs cannot be consumed, do not consume and are not of consumption. Photography does not transcend the “nature” of consumption, they subvert the nature of this nature.

Posing, Gesturing. To pose against the act of “picturing”?

And in looking -  consuming?

The Tourist #41


“Over the last century analogue photography more or less dies out as digital photography becomes commonplace.”

Is there a gradual change, of anything, to anything, anymore? Is this not a kind of strangely antiquated notion?
Technological change is not constant it is exponential.

The question is whether or not we can “keep up”? Which is a strange question, in the same way that science proposes no ontology neither does technology, so long as there is politics. Which, of course, there are not.

And there has not been religion for very long time.

(There never was, which is not to say that there is no such thing, merely that it used to be a politics, and now isn’t, even.)

The Tourist #40


“The camera effects all this by turning scenery and the ‘gaze’ into graspable objects (just as photography turns women into materialised objects on a page or video).”

No one ever thought that women in the photo was a woman.



Uploading a nice picture of yourself or a loved one on to the social networking site Flickr then asking anonymous perverts to download the picture print it out, jack off to it and spew man jizz all over the photo. Said perverts and pornographers take that result, photograph it and upload it back to the group where the orginal tribute request took place thus creating a virtual bukake chain letter. The Flickr tribute request is usually made by cum gargling road whores, cum dumpsters and other various sluts which are known to inhabit the pornography website Flickr.

This gangbang whore on Flickr asked for a tribute, I was bored and my sister's old Glamour magazines were used up so I complied.


by caress whisper September 14, 2009

Piss Photos by Warhol.

What is the name of the Italian photographer who made those beautiful piss photos, perhaps from Bolgona?

Nino Migliori - Oxidation Pictures c.1950

The Tourist #39


“Photographs extend the tourist gaze in time and space.”

Like a wormhole in Star Trek

The Tourist #38


“Kodak taught us that non-recorded gazes and memories would evaporate and studies show how the desire for capturing memories in image form animates much tourist photography.  Tourists anticipate that cameras will magically transform short lived, fleeting gazes and events into durable artefacts that provide tickets to undying ‘memory travel’.”

They do, yes, and they were always fake, and they always worked, anyway.

The Sainte Vierge - Du Maurier

The Tourist #37


“Tourist photography is not characterised by the suspension of norms but, like the everyday, is culturally informed by particular notions about what constitutes a loving social life.”

Ordinary life.
Ordo. Row, rank, arrangement.

Ordinarius. Regular, orderly.

Regularity and arrangement, the norm, rely on us not being sensitive to the uncanny, the unusualness of the commonplace.

(Love (not romantic love but real love, agape) is not able to be ordered, made rows, spreadsheeted? - Romantic love and familial love are the attempt to reduce agape to orderliness. And desire? It appears out of the failure of orderliness as pure anxiety.)

The Tourist #36


“The perfect social relationship and the perfect holiday may be a figment of the public imagination, but it stands for something that ought to exist.”

What exists, instead?

The Tourist #35


“People are keen to photograph, for it is in the space of the photograph that they enjoy longed for family happiness. People gaze at the holiday image – and the imaginary family or friendship of their holiday gazes back.”

Given that all social reality as it is experienced by everyone is based on an illusion how does the photographic work in these precise coordinates?

I never saw a family holiday photograph other than my own when I was younger. We almost never took family photographs. This despite my father being “keen on photography”. We did not perform on the stage of the holiday maker. We made family photographs in the same brutal and awkward way that everyone seems to have, whose pictures I have since seen.
The more interesting thing is how often, with what extraordinary regularity, every photograph fails to show the family as happy or contented. It is far more telling how many failed family photos there are, how many mishaps, closed eyes, unhappy faces, tears… When we “gaze” at the family photograph what gazes back is the absolute failure of the family as a unit which anyone might reasonably expect to function as a happiness.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

(“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”)

(“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”)

Luke 14.26,27 and 33. ESV

The Tourist #34


“Holiday-makers desire ‘private’ photos. Yet their private photographs reflect a socially media constructed notion of apparently loving family life or friendship.”

This statement, among many here and elsewhere, seem so utterly alien to me.

Could we not imagine it, merely, inverted?

“Public photographs reflect an untraceable (although undoubtedly somewhere experienced in published form, irretrievably lost) privately constructed notion of honestly loving human life and desire.”

Is it not fair to say that public life is equally constructed out of private life, at least qua the individual attentive to the difference between these “stages”?

Also, is it not clear that, now, after digital (we are in the book, at this point, after the digital) holiday makers desire precisely public photos?

Is there not a transgression of the purely private into the purely public? No. That is the real “tragedy” as it were, of the contemporary Oedipus - frantically, desperately proving her suffering on social media via someone else’s textpic meme?

The Tourist #33


“The family gaze highlights how much tourist photography engages significant others within significant places and is part of the ‘theatre’ that enables people to enace and produce their desired togetherness, wholeness and intimacy.”

A theatre as opposed to a real world?

Where is this world which is not a stage?

Where is this quiet and peaceful world, signifying something?

At what time did I, did you, did we, tread on anything which were not boards?

When did we not walk the plank?

Where was the togetherness and intimacy real? Where did it break through, for you, into an event of truth? Where did you ever pass through the act, rather than merely act out what others showed you how to do, at those points?

Which brave soul made the lover into a zombie as the lover always wants to? Jeffrey Dahmer.

The Tourist #32


“On the one hand, people tend to preserve in photos that which is closest to them; their children, spouses, friends, and relatives, as well as their most significant or enjoyable events in their lives. On the other hand they also seek to retain strange interesting and exotic sights.

(1992: 213-14)”

The neighbour is the most disgusting thing in nature.

Why have I stopped making photographs in Edinburgh? I do not know now anything less than I used to, or anything more. But I do not make photographs here, anymore. Or rather I do, but not everyday. Or rather I do, but not with a camera. Because I no longer need a camera to practice, I have a phone with which to keep my eye trained to exposure and framing. I could, on some level, equally well and equally happily have a frame to carry around, and a light meter to check how the tone would be placed. I see a lot of photographs but less and less I press the button.

I find it interesting that people enjoy seeing foreign things. I think I like seeing things that look the same as home, like Warhols plates in the film about China. He liked it in China that the plates said “Made in China” just like the did in New York. I like it that the beauty of a Pasolini short story about the smell of Chestnuts and Chrysanthemums is just the same as a story about the smell of peat and lavendar, or pies and bovril and grass. I like that the sweat in the Alva Changing room smells of chips like the sweat in the Rome changing room smells like chips. I liked the bright pink pickled turnip in the Indian shop on the North Bridge because it looked like beetroot, and was turnip. Turnip which seems so cold, and beetroot, and they were the same colour as the red, southern, warm onions. The 1970’s future film pink of diluted and absorbed blood red made to reveal its blue in being absorbed by the cold turnip.

And the hand of the Chestnut selling boy being at first part of his being, economics being part of his understanding of the world, before he understands, his theft being beautiful then, part of the game. But then later his economic knowledge becomes bitterness and the theft becomes crime. This is the same in each place. In Edinburgh, before there was a grotesque gargantuan machine of CHRISTMAS there was a man with a chestnut stand. I remember him. I remember always wanting to have some chestnuts because they smelled so beautiful, I remember also that we didn’t have them because they were a sort of silly American Christmas distastefulness. In comparison the circus, now, which takes over the entire city centre and beyond, the silly American Christmas Distastefulness seems quaint and beautiful, although it was always extremely expensive.

There were, also, the caramelised peanuts on the bridge to the South Bank Centre, they always seemed to sell the desire that the Pasolini story evokes, rather than the peanuts themselves.

The Tourist #31


“While the tourist is away, this then moves to tracking down and capturing those images for oneself. And it ends up with the travellers demonstrating that they really have been there by showing to friends and family their version of the images they had seen before they set off.”

versions is the operative, here.

Which is to raise the phantom of the version, the quote, the appropriation. That if everything is already always a quotation or version or appropriation then who has stolen from who and in which way are we to decide who has done so productively, creatively? And who has stolen. Who is an artist and who is a criminal?
Watching a show about Jeffrey Dahmer a student had posted on FB. The interviewer was so obviously far more psychotic than Dahmer.

Is getting old recognising that my youthful fear of Dahmer was, merely, an identification? Is it not that I only became aware, by Dahmer, that each person has a set of desires some of which are deemed criminal and others which are not? Dahmer merely cannot not want to possess his lovers in a certain way. To murder them is far more honest than many of the ways in which my lovers have attempted to possess me. I would much rather have been eaten by Jeffrey Dahmer than been privy to the disgusting dishonestly and grotesque “complexity” of the braying liar who attempts to posit their inability to possess as they wish to my, and all of their exes naturally, other people’s “fear of commitment”. To be afraid to commit to someone deeply unpleasant is not a fear of commitment it is a distaste for the ugly.

(His special method of drilling a little hole in the victim’s skull, into which he injected acid and/or water in order to make them “zombies” is a fairly direct analogy for the desire of romantic love - to turn the partner into a monogamous, unquestioning, incapable buffoon capable only of the adoration of a tyrannical care giver. The zombie would have “loved” him because he would have cared for it, and that would have been reason enough.

The interviewers bizarre question about his homosexuality, and his bizarre answer also testify to a perversity not of Dahmer himself but of a pervasive (even to him) societal convention/contention that it is somehow his preference for men that contributed to his behaviour - that it was his homosexuality rather than his heterosexuality that led to his crimes. On the basis that we are all heterosexual (other-sexually oriented, towards an other regardless of gender) then could we suggest that in this case what the interviewer suggests is that it is Dahmer’s inability to love an other, someone other than himself homo-sexuality? A kind of mistaken auto-sexuality involving objects? Is this not also true, however of most love affairs which aim to please themselves quite by their desire to be loved rather than to love as such? To wish to be loved for being caring is to desire to be loved for not being loveable. It is to say that a cheap version of one is commensurate with an authentic version of another. Most persons despite their distaste for the idea would be radically happier with a very very rich sex doll than a partner. One who “understood” them - which is to say that the beloved accepted their “care” which is based on the lovers imagined system of what would be best for the beloved on the basis of how well they would then fit the lovers dreamed version. The question that the reviewer means to pose is, in fact, “Did being sexual, at all, contribute to your perversion?” or even “Was, despite everything and all the shite in between, Freud correct?” to which Dahmer’s answer “Yes” might then make some sense. Is is because of desire that we behave appallingly? Yes.)

Does Dahmer not teach us that an honest desire is only terrifying for a culture and society too sick to see its own depravity? Where we hold up the image of Dahmer as a card carrying serial killer we do so in order only to cover over the postively VAST number of radically dishonest mass-murderer bankers, politicians etc who kill in their thousands, daily, but in a bureaucratically and legally sanctioned way.

The complicity with the idea of Dahmer as monster betrays the toxic value of the bureaucrat who dreams of attaining the genocidal disinterestedness of the highly paid official who gambles with, the lives, health and life expectancy of the wage-slave poor, of their own and other countries, and continents.

What is disgusting about Dahmer is the truth of his “version” of desire, he says quite clearly that he aimed to possess entirely, and his method of doing so was to kill and fuck (and fuck around with) the bodies as signs and symbols. What is disgusting is that the official version is to fuck around with people, to kill them, but to do so at a distance.

It is better to be Adolf Eichmann than to be the Marquis de Sade, now.

'May she wake in torment!' he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in asudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion.


"To kill a man in a paroxysm of passion is understandable, but to have him killed by someone else after calm and serious meditation and on the pretext of duty honorably discharged is incomprehensible."

De Sade

The Tourist #30


“Much tourist photography photography involves a ritual of ‘quotation’”

Aren’t we in the “postmodern”, I think it said already that we were in the postmodern. So, then, isn’t everything only ever a quotation. As Benjamin taught.

Is the question not whether we are an imitation of christ or of God?

The Tourist #29


“What is sought for in a holiday is a set of photographic images which have already been seen in brochures, TV programmes, blogs and social networking sites.”

Holiday want list -

Casual sex

Cheap drugs


Rococo Architecture


A suspension of the law

A declining of obligation

Civilisation (trains, cafes and cinemas in which one can smoke without ghastly growling new parents and their little grim reapers)

A cure.

The Tourist #28


“We have argued that the tourist gaze is largely pre-formed by and within existing mediascapes.”

The tourist gaze in its mediascape. It seems like a parody of Jurassic Park speak? The sort of sociology that leads to the resurrection of a dinosaur, not in an interesting or spectacular way, rather in a kind of sagging academic wilfully impotent way.

WARNING - “Watch out! Or you will have walked up the garden path and found yourself at the end of a garden path.”

The Tourist #27


“Photography involves obligations. People feel that they must not miss seeing particular scenes or ‘Kodak moments’ since otherwise the photo-opportunities will be missed and forgotten.”

Whereas if we did not have cameras we would have no “obligations”? Wouldn’t we just get more really shit tattoos? “I WAS ERE”? This is a platitudinous stupidity which assumes people are incapable of deciding not to take the same stupid shit boring photos other people have taken? Or that they would be incapable of having any interest outside of the continuous recapitulation of the societally oppressive visual “norm”.

Is it not an obligation to visit the christmas market? To go swimming in the sea? Sunbathing? Eating out? We are obliged not to eat at home because we aren’t at home. We are not obliged to read Barbara Cartland novels if we don’t want to… Are we not failing to make some fairly fundamental distinction here between obligation and choice?

Necessity and Essentiality.

God is necessary but not essential.
God is essential but not neccessary.

Images are essential but not necessary.
Images are necessary but not essential.


Essence? Of Sense? Of Spirit?


Life in its bareness, its animality, or with the addition of something, human. Geist. In all its terror.
The Spirit is worth the risk of its horror because the alternative is inhumanity and reversion to animality.
To accept photography as non ontological but of the doxa, habitus, field… etc.

A spiritual science.

What word do we use to describe, in the way that prayer is to speech, what being human is to merely living? Essential? Necessary? Spiritual? Religious?
This assumes, of course, that we are aiming to be human rather than merely animals?

Art is attention. Taking a photograph is not making one, in the old cliche. Photography plus attention as opposed to lacking attention? Photography lacking human attention is, merely, nature. Photography in the realm of human attention, which is to say the realm of languaged beings, is what? Something else? The beauty is that you cannot tell one from the other. This is the beautiful risk of the photograph. It is nothing, either way.

Attention. Attention is only available to us when what is necessary is already dealt with in some basic way. Necessity must be diminished in consciousness in order to allow for attentiveness? We have, then, to be able to eat and stay warm and so on, in order to use language? Language is supplemental to these basic things. Language proposes art. Being human proposes art. By its very supplemental, essential distanciation and reproduction.

Attention is not possible sub-money. So long as life is the continual suffering of indebtedness then there can be no freedom of attention - this is the greatest trick of the Great Beast.

The Tourist #26


“Photography have (sic) been crucial in constituting the very nature of travelling and gazing, as sites turn into sights, they have constructed what is worth going to ‘sightsee’ and what images and memories should be brought back.”

What else should we bring back? Sadness and stolen objects? I loveheart tshirts? Caps? Wine and liqueurs? Toblerone?

Is there not here some obscene injunction to travel AS SUCH. Just to keep fucking travelling and travelling and not reflecting? There is a kind of dull, high modern morality about this distaste for the memory to be reflected on. The idea that we should act, rather than think, again.

I wonder how it will feel to photograph the set of the BBC TV show “Rome” in Rome? Which is the more, or less, authentic? And what does it matter? Am I more or less likely to be struck by a lightning bolt of sin or divine illumination in one or the other? Why would Caesar’s palace be any different to Caesar’s Palace? And any more or less likely to promt a passage a l’acte as opposed to merely an acting out?