Tuesday, December 25, 2007

happy holidays

i was trying to think of a christmas-themed portrait and my thoughts naturally turned to jesus, and later, to Piss Christ. it's pretty amazing, if you think about it, that the phrase "Piss Christ" can instantly bring Andres Serrano's 1987 photo to the mind of those who have seen it or heard about it. especially since i'm interested in subjects and titles in portraiture...and i think few photographs are really well known by their titles. i don't think the reaction to this particular photograph would have been quite as intense if it had been titled"Pee-pee Christ" or "Urine Messiah" or somesuch. (especially interesting because I recently read a neat article about how most of our current swear phrases are substitutions for older religious oaths that have been rendered less naughty/powerful with increased cultural secularization.)

i'm not sure how much of a portrait Piss Christ is, but, well, it's definitely a representation of a very famous subject in addition to being sort of a self-portrait of bodily fluids... the image above is of different representations of Piss Christ found on Google Images. one thing that's always interesting to me about looking at photos on the internet is that the various jpegs of an image often look slightly different from each other—different color tones, contrast, clarity, cropping, etc. Google Images can be pretty fun for tracking the variations, and this one is no exception. (but in this case, it's variations in urine color.)

(how many photographs, by name, have their own Wikipedia entries?)

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