Results tagged “photography history”

Two Projects

Today, I have begun the ball rolling for two projects, an application for a PhD, and a show at the CCP. The show application, will focus on a body of work, I shot recently and may form a larger project, over time; one day a book I hope. The PhD, is at such an early developmental stage, I am reading a book that will help me decide where to go., the book is entitled, The Craft of Research. It has already proved to be a great help.

Readings

So I spent the morning here reading the online issue of the New York Times, with particular attention to the arts section. Very disappointed I was, so I flipped over to one of my favourite archives of modernist theory American Suburb X. Some great articles, and worth a read, even if you feel modernism is dead. My one complaint, well two really, the formatting of the pages is broken in places making reading off and difficult at times, and the line height of the text a little tight for my liking in Safari, anyway. The pages can be awfully slow too. A small price however for the sheer volume of information provided. A must for all those interested in photography's reach in the late modernist period of art history.

I just wonder how the publishers of American suburb X are getting their hands on such material, while articles 6 to 10 years old may not be cutting edge, they certainly are still informative and when it comes to getting up to speed on post modernist theory,and a worthy leaping off point.

For anyone who cares, I'm reading some great books on Art photography, and creativity, at the moment.

Source has allowed me to draw some possibly dangerous parallels between my life and several of history's well known artists, such as Hemingway and O'Keefe. I have learnt some interesting things too about early digital images from the reconfigured eye.

16 October 2009 – 4 April 2010
Photography Gallery, Level 3
Free entry

[In 1967, the NGV established the first separate curatorial Department of Photography in an Australian art gallery and since that time we have delivered a continuous program of exhibitions and publications featuring the rich history of photography. The heart of our activities is based on the permanent collection which now numbers over 15,000 photographs, of which 3,000 works are by international artists. This year marks the 40th anniversary of our first acquisitions to the collection and, as such, it is timely to ‘re-view’ what has been achieved. National Gallery of Victoria]

read on...

I will be visiting this exhibition over the coming months I hope to use it for some inspiration in at least blogging, we shall see.

A quote

"Man is the actual medium of expression not the tool he elects to use as a means. Results alone should be appraised; the way in which these are achieved is of importance only to the maker. To the extent that the completed work realizes depth of understanding, uniqueness of viewpoint and vitality of presentation, will the spectator respond and participate in the original experience. This premise, restricting too personal and therefore prejudiced interpretation, leads to revolution---the fusion of an inner and outer reality derived from the wholeness of life sublimating things seen into things known."

From "A Contemporary Means to Creative Expression, by Edward Weston,"
The Art of Edward Weston (1932, p.7)

Taken from; the Frederick Sommer Website

Can digital photography be made art?

We have reached a certain point here in the history of western art, where history seems to be somewhat insignificant, or perhaps less significant. My training in the arts, had a heavy emphasis on what had gone before it [In all the arts]. The path was/is to an extent linear, but not in a mathematical/chronological sense. The great/new artists of the past, tried/explored/created something that had not been seen/heard before; more importantly though 'borrowing' and sometimes even outright theft was not uncommon, that, 'theft' was then re-invented.

Now we are so far down this slightly linear path albeit curved, twisted, and modulating, path that Modernist Art History is hardly taught at art school.

We can give beginners directions about how to use a compass, we can tell them stories about our exploration of different but possibly analogous geographies, and we can bless them with our caring, but we cannot know the unknown and thus make sure a path to real discovery"1
It is as if the past prior to the turn of the century, the one before the last, matters not a fig.

What then for young people starting out? Who do they emulate, copy ridicule; other post modernists? Any wonder few people feel they understand modern art.

For me, part of this whole history of art, was the materials, concepts, & techniques explored by all artists, often in combination of all three. Not like the idea alone, as Duchamp said:-
"I am interested in ideas, not merely in visual products"2
However; for some myself included, it is difficult to reconcile the quality of brush strokes, in a Caravaggio to the day to day rumblings/ramblings of my own highly digitalised life. Image making in particular using a camera, has become a single point perspective about the moment. Millions worldiwde are participating. With so many 'creators' is anyone a 'consumer', should there be, will there ever be again, does there need to be?

Part of the difficulty in trying to be both an artist and a business person is this: You make a picture because you see something that is beyond price; then you are to turn and assign to your record of it some cash value. If the selling is not necessarily a contradiction of the truth in the picture, it so close to being a contradiction—and the truth is always in shades of grey—that you are worn down by the threat.3

If 'art' is materials, processes, concepts, techniques, how then does digital photography one of the least tactile processes known in the history of art, fit in to this equation? Given that the process of Digital photography is even more removed from the average person's ability to control and manipulate results to match their own emotions and ideas does this make it less of an art-form. Or does it? Photographic prints are still able to be manipulated to match vision and emotion, by more people more easily and more often than in the history of the medium so far. But do people want to, how many stories can be told ultimately? Stories that are expressed iin a unique way; exploiting medium's unique characteristics?

For me Digital photography, is the most cerebral it has ever been. It far more removed from the tactile wet process than many imagine, music too has always been non-tactile, in the sense of appreciating it and responding to it. Therefore being non-tactile like, music, does this make digital photography more art like, only with it's own rules in terms of speed.

In my own mind, I keep coming back to speed; digital almost instant, comparatively speaking. For many it is the 'act' of making an image that is paramount, eg barb, and pw-pix. Caravaggio had no say in the idea of speed, each brush stroke was deliberate and carefully considered.

For digital photography to real art, modern art, it needs to be freed from the constraints of it's birth and development in the last century, it needs to embrace the speed and connectivity that the internet allows, the culture jamming that is being conducted out there as well as loose any connection to the idea that it alludes to truth, or evidence.4

References

  1. Roberts Adams, 'Why People Photograph' ISBN 0-89381-597-7, pg 39,
  2. thinkexist.com
  3. Roberts Adams, 'Why People Photograph' ISBN 0-89381-597-7, pg 43
  4. For a more detailed and complex exploration of this idea, see Fred Ritchin's 'After Photography' ISBN 978-0-393-050240

V&A and Photography

The Victoria & ALbert Museum in London has a wonderful photography collection, when I was in London in 2004 I visited the gallery, looks like I need to to return, who says the tyranny of distance doesn't exist?

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