Now that our economy is in the slump we are all anxious to find out how the current economic climate will reflect on pictures photographers take. I have always considered being political in the arts as problematic. This does not mean that social problems and art are necessarily separate from each other. Of course, they are not. Naturally, the better the author can convey a link between the two to us the more interest we find in such work. It is quite remarkable that most of the pictures dealing with the effects of the downfall of the economy as great as the may be executed seem far from enlightening, but predictable instead. Are all those blown up pictures of shopping malls gone out of business you encounter these days supposed to offer any new insight to topics we would prefer reading literature about if we really wanted to know more about them? Everybody knows that businesses go bankrupt when the economy is in recession and sadly, they do close down. Certainly, good and engaging photography may very deal with such subject matter. However, I find it quite funny that on a politically level a lot of these pictures you see right now do not have anything to communicate to us that we don't know already. I would even go as far as to say that the most interesting aspects that can be found in political art end up never being political. It does not make sense to me to advertise what is obviously the weakest link.
Precisely this is the problem I have with the recent photo series 'Stores That Are No More' by admirable photographer Brian Ulrich. Ulrich also produces political opinions, none of which you would ever be able to pick up on just by looking at the pictures here. But I guess being Anti- Bush/Cheney still wins you a lot of easy approval these days.