The poor image has girl rhythm. The poor image is a departed image but a departed
image is not necessarily the poor image. I am interested in Steyerl’s conclusion that due to the
nature of the poor image, it is “no longer about the real thing—the originary original. Instead, it
is about its own real conditions of existence… In short: it is about reality.”
It is emblematic of
our societal shortcomings and systemic failures; if that was not the reality, the poor image would
cease to exist. We can look at the poor image to understand the broader societal implications that
it is pointing to. They are artifacts but do not require time-gone-by to qualify them as such; poor
images are artifactual responses to conditions and limitations that span from past into the present.
Similar to how Goldin’s photography gives a viewer a deep sense of the memory in an image due
to the slippage in a less-contained or less-structured composition, Steyerl is saying the poor
image “diminishes the distinctions between author and audience and merges life and art” because
“its visuality is resolutely compromised: blurred, amateurish, and full of artifacts.”
I would
consider Goldin’s and Frazier’s photos departed images, but never poor ones since they are not
resolutely compromised. The poor image inherently departs on many fronts from the
visually-dominant standard, high-resolution, worshipped, rich image, but I will be focusing
specifically on the departure of low-resolution and how that categorizes both the poor and
departed image as sub-standard and abject: the poor-departed image.
Steyerl, “In Defense of the Poor Image.”