Why faux-vintage now?


Hipstamatic View of Disney, gingerblue 

From The Society Pages:

The faux-vintage photos populating our social media streams share a similar quality with the inner-city Brooklyn neighborhood rich with authentic grit: they conjure authenticity and real-ness in the age of simulation and the vast proliferation of digital images. And, in this way, the Hipstamatic photo places yourself and your present into the context of the past, the authentic, the important and the real.

But, of course, unlike urban grit or the rarity of an expensive antique, the vintage-ness of a Hipstamatic or Instagram photo is simulated (the faux in faux-vintage). We all know quite well that these photos are not really aged with time but instead by an app. These are self-aware simulations (perhaps the self-awareness is the hipster in Hipstamatic). The faux-vintage photo is more similar to a fake 1950′s diner built many decades later. They are Main St. in Disney world or the fake checkered cab in the New York, New York hotel and casino complex in Las Vegas. These are all simulations attempting to make people nostalgic for a time past. Consistent with Baudrillard’s description of simulations, photos in their Hipstamatic form have become more vintage than vintage; they exaggerate the qualities of the idea of what it is to be vintage and are therefore hyper-vintage.

The very thing that a faux-vintage photo provides, authenticity, is thus negated by the fact that it is a simulation. However, this fact does preclude these photos conjuring feelings of nostalgia and authenticity because what is being referenced is not “the vintage” but “the idea of the vintage,” similar to the simulated diner, modern checkered-cab or Disney Main St.; all hyper-real versions of something else and all quite capable of causing and exploiting feelings of nostalgia. Therefore, simply being aware that the authenticity Hipstamatic purchases is simulated does disqualify the faux-vintage photo from entering into the economy of the real and authentic.

“The Faux-Vintage Photo”, Nathan Jurgenson, The Society Pages (via)