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Joseph Maida: Things Are Queer


Photography’s breath is sweet and weak. Its flesh leans on dishonesty, cultivating a culture of passivity and an  idle look. Only  boundless curiosity for oddity can offer a truly quirky ability to see something for more than what it is. It is a stupidly complex imagery and aggravatingly exciting. What is an America? Tendered and infinite in commodity the staggered and estranged consumption of the east is swelled by the plains of the west. There are no accidents, only actions. In the delight of Joseph Maida’s photographs, Things Are Queer, there’s a sharp peculiarity. The success of the images’ choreography is only matched by the touching structure of their composition. There is no future without a past and addressing this play is the building block of Maida’s work.

Maida’s impulse is built upon the constellation of global conversation. This is a place where near meets far. Relativity of terms and our perspectives can prescribe how to look without really seeing. Maida is fighting for slippages, the hope that the unusual and intuitively queer quality of photography will make viewers look again. When we look again we can start to see. There is an absorptive new language brewing in socially networked photography. We know it, we see it, we engage it, and we are learning how to read it. There is a new language; the vernacular vowels are shapes and colors, composition composed in that endless scroll like the body paragraphs of a well-constructed essay.

As is the case with most abstraction there is a fascination with the fumbled mess of macro or micro. Suddenly the kitsch becomes minimalistic, even gestural. That constantly over looked gesture, touch. His hands queer up reality. Maida is fascinated by how viewers see work on platforms. How can it be more than just passive?

There is no incongruity; there is only the illusion a viewer allows. The photos are not manipulated in any way and their concept lessens responsibility-providing change through discourse. Maida is fluid in his actions to reclaim while also bearing witness to transformation. New is not without the past. Sometimes new ideas already existed but are only seen and acquired recently for the first time. Queer is no longer binary; it is unique in breath and form. Its contemporaneity is once again universal, unusual and playful. Aren’t we all.

Efrem Zelony-Mindell

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