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Craigslist Mirrors

January 19, 2014

The high-concept curation on Tumbler (I have taken the liberty of correcting the spelling) of images culled from the dank recesses of the internet has been a thing for a while now, but I never really took much of an interest in any of these sites until today, when, following a Facebook link posted by former Charlottesvillain and would-be cult leader Brandon Joyce, I came to and was briefly returned to happiness. Mirrors! Velasquez knew it, van Eyck knew it, it was Parmigianino’s main claim to fame: mirrors make things artier. Stick a mirror in it and –Bam!–  it’s art. Even if it is just a photo to post on Craigslist. Because, as you might guess, that is what the site is devoted to: pictures of mirrors for sale, posted on Craigslist. 

The collection elicits two forms of aesthetic fascination. There is that inherent and irresistible artiness of mirrors, the visual and spatial and conceptual delight they offer; plane-pinging, light-bouncing, reality-warping, crazy-juxtaposing and so on. And then there is also the candid look at ordinary American life, in its raw materiality, as lived by the craigslisting class. Hitting the viewer from both angles, it becomes something truly extraordinary.

But there is no need to say much about this. Sometimes you just want to give a nod to greatness. And maybe also offer some sympathy to the serious photographers with artistic ambition out there — possibly including the sites creator, Eric Oglander — who now have further evidence of their own redundancy. How can you ever compete with random people on the internet?

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