Hole-Punch Punctum

I just stumbled across a post on Instagram highlighting a series of photos printed from negatives rejected by the US Farm Security Administration. These photos were “killed” by agency leadership, who punched a hole in the negative to avoid printing the image.

Roland Barthes argued that photographs possess two qualities: “studium” and “punctum.” Studium is an observational quality, the way a photo exists in social, cultural, and aesthetic context. Punctum is a quality which “wounds” the viewer, transcending context and piercing their spirit. These holes–literally puncta on the negatives–pierce the viewer’s spirit by subverting their expectations of the photographs, which were commissioned for strictly “studious” purposes.

These would not be nearly as effective if they did not include the entire film strip in addition to the photograph. This underlines the materiality of the film, the hole-punch, and, by extension, the subjects captured by the image–the flesh and blood existing at a moment in time.

Poster Design: Subpotent I

This post is a little bit about art and a little bit of self-promotion. My new band, Subpotent, is shaping up. We are almost done with our first set and getting ready to start playing shows in Tallahassee!

To start building awareness, I designed this poster inspired by surrealist art, situationist technique, and propaganda. This design reflects the band’s aesthetic and (I think) powerfully imprints the message with the combination of strong color, bold type, and an arresting image stolen from the Dalí/Buñuel film Un Chien Andalou.