This Day’s Notable Aesthetic

The work of photographer Michael Eastman rarely shows human subjects. Absent from the photos themselves, the person in Eastman’s work becomes the viewer whose imagination takes them through the empty door, up a spiral stair, or into a room where the story of a life can hang from a clothesline beneath a baroque chandelier.

His images from his Cuba series present a past, now frayed at the edges, but unlike America, not cast away or abandoned, but captured in the here and now, frozen in time. From the photographer’s perspective, the present now co-exists in the degraded splendor of an aristocratic, colonial past. Castro’s Havana has neither the interest or the resources to eradicate what the revolution rejected. Were it for us such places would be restored, gentrified perhaps. But then the very people whose lives hang from the clothesline beneath the baroque chandelier of Isabella’s Two Chairs would once again be invited to enter such spaces only by invitation.

John Keats once wrote “beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on Earth and all ye need to know.” Which is why Eastman’s image of a fadingly corroded beauty infused with a narrative that speaks of romantic decay and genteel decline is This Day’s Notable Aesthetic. Beg to differ?

Michael Eastman: Isabella’s Two Chairs, 2000


~ by eaesthete on 01/19/10.

7 Responses to “This Day’s Notable Aesthetic”

  1. wow. neat juxtaposition of images.

  2. It is the very first time that I forward a post in my blog . thank you and I hope you don’t mind .
    I emotionally loved that post .

  3. There is something truly romantic and beautiful about decay. This image is hauntingly seductive, and as usual, you have managed to present a point of view that is rarely seen out there in cyberworld.

  4. It’s why Venice is so romantic, and why Blanche du Bois is so tragic. Decaying beauty speaks to the past and the future at the same time, and so seems not to be of the present.
    I adore your blog.

  5. Beautiful image

  6. The clothes bring this photo to life for me, good find , thank you. I liked some of Michael’s images from Italy too:

  7. simply spectacular. It is very difficult for me to discribe the feelings and emotions i have when i look into this master piece. I would say the feeling is close to when you first fall in love and your heart begins to hurt from skipping beats for the one you desire. I tried to approach this piece with the sound of a violin and my emotions grew stronger as if this particular place belonged to me.

    I would love to gaze upon this amazing beauty everyday and I hope i can try and make it into a center peice in my home.

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