Monday, January 29, 2007
Sunday, January 28, 2007
I recently posted a couple of guesses and a comment online:
Who knew we’d be flexing our celebrity connoisseurship skills? Meaning, if I can’t find the exact image, but close, I think hmm, is that in the style of? Is that their typical compositional style? Is that how they use focus, color, photoshop? My poor work colleagues and students these past weeks….I’ve even learned about the work of Alyssa Milano, Rosie O’Donnell, celebrity work for Playboy, and more. One last go, as I’ve found others “in the style of” it for V (although her skills are usually be better that this example). Will it ever end?
Today, again, I spent way too much time looking at the work of Ringo Starr and finding out that Mikhail Baryshnikov also takes photos. Soth stated today that several people are very close. Although I'd really love a signed print by him, I must reiterate: Please someone, stop the madness...soon!
Carmen Electra, From one of the sites from which I know he got a lot of images or inspiration!!
Monday, January 22, 2007
Here is what I learned this week:
or rather they always do,
That's why there are rules:
Think of a grammar without a language:
without semantics: The been run run,
A world without hair: O Daddy-O!
A word without a voice: sand. A hill
Take flatness from paper: sculpture.
If you could subtract green from trees
You can't empty without transforming —
Take height from the sky and you bump your head
and you have an angry woman.
Take criss from cross and zig from zag,
the last shudder from your body
— Pelle Cass
Monday, January 15, 2007
(Click on the image for a larger version if you have trouble reading it.)
Paul Hester, HCP SPOT
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Here is a great summation of the various types of photo blogs from the folks at American Photo on their blog "State of the Art." In the post Shoot it, Blog it, Share it, they go over various kinds of blogs - from the philosophical blog primarily dealing with other's work and not one's own (i.e., Alec Soth) to extensive general and interview-based photo sites such as Conscientious to blogs used mainly for promotion of one's work as well as those used as a virtual critique group. Another important blog is that of Jen Bekman, who was just named one of American Photo's gallery innovators of the year and who just happens to be the PRC's juror for our juried exhibition this year! Her blog, personism, is quite impressive, extensive, organized, and has all that stuff like feeds and delicious links that I am still learning about.
Now onto the envy part. I've noticed that either a posting idea comes to me or rack my brain for a nice topic. Recently, I thought of a juicy topic, only to find someone else had tackled it. Now, I realize that I would do it differently and I could quote the other and generate discussion, but it just seemed to deflate my excitement. I also find myself quite envious of how some execute a very short post - juicy, raw, and just begging me to click on their links. I will call this the "mystery list post". Here is an example from Modern Art Notes. I hope to learn from these examples and get over my blogging fears. I expect that blogs evolve over time and find their own rhythm.
It's also quite fascinating to see certain blog discussions ripple through other blogs and how they grow and change in each instance. Take the recent and oft-quoted and linked Soth-Polidori "where are the people" Katrina discussion as it was quoted on Modern Art Notes. However, this short quote doesn't do this very considered discussion justice. One really needs to read the original post and comments. Even Chris Jordan jumped into the discussion.
Another interesting phenomenon is what I will call "blog clusters." As you'll see on the above blogs, they have very similar lists of other blogs on their sites. Visiting these sites will often reveal a web of cross-references and interesting ripple discussions of topics. Sometimes these blog clusters are regional. There seems to be a strong mid-western blog contingent, from Soth and Todd Deutsch in Minneapolis to Brian Ulrich and Jon Gitelson in Chicago. Something really seems to be going on out there in the midwest! In fact, Brian, Jon, and Matt Siber organized a fascinating panel on intersections and regionalism at the last SPE in Chicago.
Here in Boston we have Joel Brown's Hubarts, Geoff Edger's Exhibitionist on boston.com, Greg Cook's New England Journal of Aesthtic Research, and (I think) Modern Kicks. Although not a blog, the Boston area online art journal Big, RED & Shiny is published every two weeks and I just drink it in every time it comes out. Go to the site and click on links for their list of links and blogs.
Now, I have just gone and worn myself out with what has turned out to be a much longer post than expected and linking all of these links! I think my next resolution is to use more photos and less words in my next post and work on developing my "mystery list posting" skills.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Mr. Washburn and his gallery regularly and generously gave to the PRC's annual benefit auction. Although he lived in the Boston area, I sadly never got the privilege to meet Mr. Washburn. He didn't do lectures as often, although he was represented locally by the wonderful Panopticon Gallery. A quick visit to their site reveals that they are doing a retrospective of his favorite images. I highly recommend browsing through this online gallery of majestic images and reading the captions. To a long, amazing life!
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
In addition, I found some stock photography collections that attempt to convey "being at home sick" aka "sick stock." Some instances are pretty humorous when broken down as such.
And last but not least, check out this image and note the keywords listed as search terms. I think I fit the first 20 of them. Poor little kid. I should take a picture of myself. I could make some money.
Monday, January 8, 2007
No place is boring, if you've had a good night's sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film. - Robert Adams, "Darkroom & Creative Camera Techniques," May 1995, page: 37
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Will Ferrell's character comes to realize that his life is being narrated by a distraught author plagued with writer's block, played by Emma Thompson. Inspired by his visits to a literary theorist, Dustin Hoffman, he gradually attempts to determine if his story is a comedy or a tragedy as well as find out if he can affect the story or is simply a pawn within her larger narrative. The movie also makes inventive use of graphic elements, namely in the form of graphs and sku numbers, laid over the scenes to illustrate Harold Crick's love of all things numerical and mild OCD compulsion for pre-determined routines. (The geek in me thoroughly enjoyed the references to the architecture of math and science in the characters' last names, including Crick, Pascal, and Eiffel.)
This inspired me to post a few musings and links regarding when a photographic subject seems to turn the tables and attempt to take directorial control from the photographer. Although many photographers describe their work with certain subjects as collaborative, can the power really flow both ways through the cable release? Take Andrea Modica and her work with Barbara in her series Treadwell and the oft-cited case of Sally Mann and her early work with her children, which stirred much controversy when published. Here is one of the typical ways in which the photographer-subject relationship has been couched:
From the beginning, Barbara was a striking presence: a Rubenesque urchin, sad and sweet and a little sly, who responded to Modica's rapt attention like a flower that turns toward the sun. - Village Voice
Jessie Mann, daughter of Sally Mann, recently collaborated with the photographer Len Prince in a fascinating endeavour. (She is the one with the pearls in this shot and is now 26 years old.) In a recent New Yorker, she offered some interesting insights on the photographer-subject dynamic and her effort to invert the equation:
Jessie said, of the early portraits [by her mother], “It’s very difficult to say exactly who makes the pictures”; she sees her alliance with Prince as an extension of her work with her mother, which has occasionally vexed her but has always made her proud. “People have pointed out the obvious Freudian interpretation,” she said. “And it’s true that there is this sort of surface layer to doing these photos with Len—a power struggle, to reassert my identity. But I’m a Jungian girl myself. I’m interested in the significance of being a character in the story of art."
In the film, when Harold "realizes" that he is a subject, he takes agency and "fights" back by doing absolutely nothing one day in an attempt to stall the plot and a variety of other hijinks. On Jessie's artist website she elaborates on her own quest:
My up and coming photography project with Len Prince is an examination of both the characters and the archetypes of our time and as well as those of different historical periods. It honors, as active agent the muses and numerous subjects that have given themselves over to this fictional realm of human consciousness with both extreme self-consciousness and postmodern awareness, but also, in many cases, out of some undeveloped love of the camera or desire to be known or immortalized. It examines the quest of the self-fictionalizers and the magic of those who are called 'good in front of a camera'.
I share below one image from the series, but many more can be found at Danziger Projects that showed "Self-Possessed" just this past fall. In most of the photographs, Jessie visibly holds the shutter release--sometimes assertively, sometimes limply, instead of the photographer--enacting what she has described as "making art by being in art." I ought to end here my faithful readers, as I wouldn't want to continue to influence your opinion and affect the outcome? Hmm, you say you are getting sleepy now...?
Friday, January 5, 2007
Addendum: 1/6 I just found this old IM exchange that I saved
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
While performing my daily visit to the Boston Globe's artblog, The Exhibitionist, by Geoff Edgers, I found that his blog made it to the top 10 blogs submitted to the Walker Art Center by Tyler Green, who writes another blog, Modern Art Notes. In Green's list, he lists Alec Soth's blog as well as the Walker's own employee blog (a great idea). Poking around the Walker blog, I came across a great post sharing John Szarkowski's thoughts on what makes a "perfect photo." It's worth returning to look for more from Paul Schmelzer and re-quoting the quote:
In a bad photograph, a lot of the time, the frame isn't altogether understood -- there are big areas of unexplained chemicals. It's especially difficult as the picture gets bigger. If it's small, a little piece of black can look like a dark place, right? But as it gets bigger, eventually it just turns into a black shape. And you look at the surface of the picture and it reminds you of the chemical factories on Lake Erie, creating pollution problems by making synthetic materials out of soybeans and petroleum derivatives. And you don't want that. The basic material of photographs is not intrinsically beautiful. It's not like ivory or tapestry or bronze or oil on canvas. You're not supposed to look at the thing, you're supposed to look through it. It's a window. And everything behind it has got to be organized as a space full of stuff, even if it's only air.
Some photographers think the idea is enough. I told a good story in my Getty talk, a beautiful story, to the point: Ducasse says to his friend Mallarmé -- I think this is a true story -- he says, "You know, I've got a lot of good ideas for poems, but the poems are never very good." Mallarmé says, "Of course, you don't make poems out of ideas, you make poems out of words." Really good, huh? Really true. So, photographers who aren't so good think that you make photographs out of ideas. And they generally get only about halfway to the photograph and think that they're done. ....