The Twitter feed was added in October 2022, 4 years in, and halfway through the course. It is largely for my own benefit, an easy repository for any useful links with occasional postings.
This blog tracks the activities and progress of my BA in Photography with
OCA. It started in 2018 with
Expressing your vision, then
Context and narrative,
Identity & place,
Landscape, Place & Environment in 2021-22 and now Digital Image and Culture.
I abandoned the degree in April 2023. here's why.
I am wrapping up LPE for Assessment and that means building and reconfiguring this site for DIC.
I'm finalising the LPE submission and winding down the LPE website component, so here's the annual checklist.
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From L’Œil de la Photographie today.
Galerie Roger-Viollet : Laure Albin Guillot : The elegance of the gaze
The Galerie Roger-Viollet presents the exhibition of Laure Albin Guillot, L’élégance du regard.
From male and female nudes to emerging advertising photography, including photomicrography, still life, fashion and portraiture, Laure Albin Guillot (1879-1962) actively participated to the New Photography between the wars.
At the end of the 1920s, with her husband who was a scientist , she brought out the beauty of what is invisible to the naked eye by imagining her microphotographs on autochromes. A renowned socialite photographer, thanks to her interpersonal skills, she portrayed personalities from the world of arts and culture, as well as anonymous people from the Parisian bourgeoisie. Laure Albin Guillot’s success also came from her very specific style, where her diffuse light enveloping the faces and bodies or just a detail of the anatomy, thus sublimating the personality of the people photographed.
Also a pioneer in nude photography, always in search of a perfect aesthetic, her studies of the female and male body are carefully cropped in pencil directly on a reading print before making a final proof.
In the 1930s, advertising photography took an important place in magazines. Laure Albin Guillot handled assignments from the luxury, fashion, cosmetics and tobacco industries with the same rigor of framing and lighting, sometimes not even hesitating to intervene in the message to be conveyed.
Author of numerous works and exhibitions, member of the SFP (French Society of Photography), of the SAP (Society of Artists Photographers), director of the photographic archives of Fine Arts, Laure Albin Guillot died in 1962 leaving an immense, eclectic and coherent work, the majority of which was acquired by the Roger-Viollet agency in 1964.
About sixty contemporary prints will be for sale during the exhibition.
Laure Albin Guillot, L’élégance du regard
October 6, 2022 – January 14, 2023
6 Rue de Seine
75006 Paris, France
In The Times today,
White artists can use black imagery, says Booker nominee Percival Everett
A black American author on this year’s Booker Prize shortlist has defended the “appropriation” of black imagery by white artists.
Percival Everett, whose satirical novel The Trees is a frontrunner for this year’s prize, said the “appropriation of anything if well intended is acceptable in art”. He gave the example of an artwork created by the white artist Dana Schutz, based on the image of the dead Emmett Till, a black teenager killed by white racists in Mississippi in 1955.
The lynching of Till — who had been accused of either whistling or making a comment directed at a white woman — is at the centre of Everett’s novel. Cultural appropriation has become a contentious topic in the arts world, with white artists criticised if they, for example, centre novels on the experiences of non-white people. Sanderson, 2022
See also Bernardine Evaristo in C&N.
Sanderson, D. (2022) White artists can use black imagery, says Booker nominee Percival Everett [online]. thetimes.co.uk. Available from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/255b18cc-4d6d-11ed-af60-3f894fe60060? [Accessed 17 October 2022].
From Street Photography Now, Howarth and McLaren, Thames and Hudson, 2010.
I believe that the photographer's job is to cut a frame-sized slice out of the world around him, so faithfully and honestly that if he were to put it back, life and the world would begin to move again without a stumble. Raghu Rai
a version of a moment
From today's L’Œil de la Photographie.
The 16th edition of the Clermont International Photo Biennial focuses on the body and offers the photographic perspective of 17 international artists. In the program, 18 exhibitions presented in different places in the Auvergne metropolis from October 8 to 29, 2022.
Is the body only this envelope that we inhabit and that we adorn to deliver it to the gaze of the world? Or, without an attribute, does it reveal, beyond mere appearance, the deep reality of our being, its secrets or its aspirations?
The tiny being part of the whole, can it be that a wrinkle, a look, a detail for many innocuous, the curve of a hip, a simple silhouette, the furrows of a hand…are more telling? and take us much further than the contours of this single facade (or this straitjacket), “inseparable” traveling companion that we must carry and assume.
Body subject in its raw reality; tricked-out body object or deformed toy body; secret body revealed. Useful, social or aesthetic body. Poetry, assertive or repressed complex hedonism.
Multiple body or suggested body. Body as witness or memory of accomplice moments, pleasures or secret sufferings…
It remains the first field of our introspections. Even in the absence, real or figurative, of a face or a limb which suddenly opens up new perspectives, questions our perception, questions the authenticity of this “being” and this other “ourselves” with which the mind plays and time shapes.
Selected pieces or separate pieces, it is on these fragments of identity that the gaze of the festival wanted to rest. So that everyone, starting with the artists invited, can reveal themselves, get lost in or reinvent.
Patrick Ehme, Artistic director
Nicéphore+, organized by the Sténopé association, offers the views of today’s greatest photographers around a single theme.
It is old or contemporary photography, plastic, social or reportage, which is brought together in a unique event of its kind.
Each edition settles in different emblematic places of the cities of Clermont-Ferrand and Beaumont conducive to an artistic wandering of the visitors.
Eclectic, committed, demanding, Nicéphore + can now be counted among the major French photographic events with more than 10,000 visitors welcomed at each of its editions.
Nicéphore + – Biennale Internationale de Photographie – Clermont-Ferrand : Le Corps Fragmanté from October 8 to 29, 2022
www.instagram.com/stenope_festival_nicephore L’Œil de la Photographie
Winogrand's remark, "I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed" is often quoted. The literal antithesis is Ansel Adams 'previsualisation', described in his book The Negative (1983) † and these opposites encapsulate the photography of and photography about debate. I am expecting DIC collage and the other messing about to takes this to next realm. This might form the basis for the DIC Zine editorial
† Ansel Adams and Fred Archer developed the Zone System: it is unfortunate that Minor White wrote the book with that title.
This is currently the DIC About.
From today's L’Œil de la Photographie.
Be-Part Kortrijk : Jan Kempenaers
“The most striking thing about monuments is that you don’t notice them. There is nothing in the world as invisible as a monument.” — Robert Musil, 1927
In the exhibition Colonial Monuments in Belgium at Be-Part Kortrijk, Belgian photographer Jan Kempenaers (°1968, Heist-op-den-Berg, lives and works in Antwerp) shows a selection of one hundred photographs of monuments commemorating his country’s colonial past. Kempenaers is known for his photographs of urban and natural landscapes, architecture and monuments, which he has been photographing since the mid-1980s.
Belgian public space has a considerable number of such monuments. Some colonial monuments were still well maintained at the time the photo was taken, others had been neglected or vandalised. Meanwhile, some monuments have also been removed. Surprisingly, some of the monuments were only erected in 2002 and 2005.
The whole exhibition reads like a collection, a typology of images that were once meant to provide confirmation of colonial thinking. However, Jan Kempenaers is an artist, not an archivist. Consequently, the photographs are not documentary and do not always show the monuments in their totality. The photograph of the monument to Father De Deken in Wilrijk, for instance, emphasises the threat posed by the hand hovering over the Congolese man’s head and the knee pushing down his back. When Kempenaers photographs the monument to Baron Jacques de Dixmude in Diksmuide, he places the figure of the Congolese slave central and we are shown only the baron’s feet and legs. Because the images are shot in black and white, the monuments in the photographs almost blend into their surroundings. Kempenaers seems to be asking us how many times we have casually walked past these monuments.
Thus, the exhibition Colonial Monuments in Belgium does not present a series of state portraits seeking to affirm the legitimacy of colonial thinking. The photographs question the status of these monuments, and the thoughtful exhibition offers food for thought.
On the occasion of this exhibition, Roma Publications is publishing the book Jan Kempenaers, Belgian Colonial Monuments 2, with a text by Phillip Van den Bossche (Roma Publications 435). The first volume of Belgian Colonial Monuments was published in 2019. A set containing both books and a print by Jan Kempenaers will be on sale at Be-Part during the exhibition.
About Jan Kempenaers
Jan Kempenaers (BE, 1968) lives and works in Antwerp. He studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent and at the Jan Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. He has been affiliated with the KASK School of Arts in Ghent since 2006.
Since the mid-eighties, Kempenaers has been photographing urban & natural landscapes, architectures, as well as monuments. In 2012, he completed a PhD in the visual arts about the picturesque. His most recent book Belgian Colonial Monuments is published by Roma Publications.
Jan Kempenaers Colonial monuments in Belgium
1 October – 11 December 2022
Be-Part, Platform for contemporary art
Paardenstallen, Korte Kapucijnenstraat z/n, 8500 Kortrijk
Curator: Lara Verlinde
From L’Œil de la Photographie today
From a literal description of the images, sight unseen (perhaps "various old cars passing a stationary camera at a single location, the sea in the background") they would not seem an interesting or æsthetic prospect, but the reality is exquisite. But all these things are subjective, I guess you have to like colourful old cars, summer at the seaside and bold compositions to react in those ways.
Until November 12, the Sarto gallery presents an exhibition by Véronique Fel entitled Habana Old Cars which she tells us about in this way:
Havana, Cuba, May 2017. I could not return without having in my images, these old American cars, essential and universal. They are the joyful emblem of a tormented country, under American embargo for more than 50 years, embargo partially lifted in 2016. I knew that the exercise would be difficult because many times treated. An “Old standby” story as they say. I realize as soon as I arrived that they have become purely tourist accessories, overly made up with “marketed” colors and token of easy dollars. Two days of wandering the streets and nothing came of it. Almost no pictures. These American girls were losing their romanticism in my eyes and that saddened me. How to distinguish them out of respect for their history? On the third day, just a few meters from my rented room, at the end of a street, my gaze finally landed, attracted by these green lines on the Malecón. Step by step I approached this vision. Step by step I felt the confidence returning. I had just found the decor, the case where I will photograph my “rolling models” as they pass. In an hour it would be noon. I sat waiting for the shadows to disappear. The Havana sun was dry and harsh at midday. Posted on the sidewalk several meters from their route, balanced on a modest stone to see and have that blue line of the sea, essential to the setting of their portrait, I photographed them as no one had done. The “Habana’s Old Cars” series was born.
Véronique Fel : Habana Old Cars
from October 22 to November 12, 2022
3 rue de Solférino
The reverse side of the knitting
Essay? Course title?
What’s not shown, unexpected ancillary outcome.
AS Byatt ch.2 of Possession
Important - call to action phot, editorial
Start with soth axis of commonality
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From L’Œil de la Photographie today:
Published by Morel Books and AMC, this new book with its dark blacks and luminous whites draws the reader into a category of images that has largely escaped the notice of historians.
As we turn the pages, we are regaled with a corpus of several hundred Real Photograph Postcards (RPPCs). These original silver prints are a hybrid between a photo and a postcard. They were printed directly onto paper, marketed in particular by Kodak, with a space on the back for an address, a stamp and a few words.
RPPCs were a medium for correspondence intended to be sent by post. You could use them to share a picture of yourself or your home with your family and friends, much as people do today, albeit instantaneously now, through the social networks.
In the United States, this phenomenon enjoyed a spectacular boom between 1910 and 1930. In Europe, it was more discreet. The iconography was also radically different from one continent to the other. In Europe, it was more family-oriented and personal, while in the New World the postcards had a more ‘documentary’ feel.
People dig the earth, work the land, cultivate and exploit it. Minerals are extracted, fruit is picked and vegetables are harvested. Mines, sawmills, bars, fields are the subjects, and of course the house with its porch, its rocking chair, its walls covered in photos, and its bookcase, the fences surrounding the house and also the windows looking outwards.
This book of images takes us into the vagaries of ordinary life in the villages and countryside of North America at the beginning of the 20th century. The title, “Dry Hole”, is taken from one of the postcards. It conjures up the harshness and adversity of difficult situations like arid land or a dried-up well.
Interspersed with the photo cards are reproductions of the messages on the back. The shaky handwriting reflects the hesitations of hands less accustomed to writing than to working the land or building a house. The messages are as mundane as they are moving, like the few words written in haste by a father longing to get back to his children but not knowing when he will be able to. Words sometimes appear in the images themselves (slogans, restaurant blackboards, or signposts, for example) or have been written on them (the name of a place, a date, or a comment). The juxtapositions sometimes throw up surprises, giving added meaning or creating confusion, like in a game of consequences.
Real photo postcards were produced by local or itinerant photographers and sometimes sold commercially. Usually, though, they were made by amateurs, which means that they are often one-off images. Collected on the internet during the pandemic, this previously unpublished material has been reworked by the author of the book. Details have been scanned and augmented; the images have been resized and recomposed: “Juxtapositions have taken shape. Intuition reigned»,” writes David Thomson, who points out the extent to which his gaze was guided by nuances of light which sometimes enhance and sometimes diminish, to the point of causing forms and faces to disappear. Faces which give vibrancy to the images, and express, over the course of the book, “a range of emotions” from apprehension to joy – expressions of fear, sadness, surprise but, above all, courage. “A sense of bewilderment was coupled by wonderment; the nature of people and their ways of being. Timeless moments…”. About the Author :David Thomson is a Canadian collector with a passion for art and photography. Dry Hole is a follow-up to his book “82”. Both books are based on collections of vernacular images. Those in “82” are from World War II soldiers’ photo albums and, in “Dry Hole”, they are amateur photo postcards. Both Thomson’s books focus attention on the messages on the back of the photos, on what is not immediately visible. A whole range of emotions and sensations are revealed by the cumulative effect of the images and the way they have been cropped.
Dry Hole is available on the Morel Books website:
or on the Archive of Modern Conflict website
and from any good bookshop.
David Thomson : Dry Hole
AMC Publishing / Morel Books
Dimensions: 24 x 17cm
In The Times, 20th November, Rachel Campbell-Johnston (no relation to Boris, who is a Johnson and has a sister, Rachel) reviewed Con/Artist: The Life and Crimes of the World’s Greatest Art Forger by Tony Tetro and Giampiero Ambrosi. She paraphrases Tetro's view on the art market,
Pomposity and pretension are knocked off their pedestals. Anyone and everyone (except the daughter he fathered at the age of 16) gets it in the neck: the paintings (“it didn’t matter what the art was . . . all that mattered was the signature”); the experts (“often, instead of facts, their opinion is based on relationships, peer pressure and greed”); the gallerists (“like most dealers he could have been selling timeshares or diet pills”); the auction houses (“much more worried about controversy than finding fakes”); the critics (“all the flowery words they would write seemed like bullshit to me”). “Real or fake,” Tetro declares, “the art business rolled on. It simply didn’t matter to anybody.” Rachel Campbell-Johnston
Rachel Campbell-Johnston (2022) Con/Artist by Tony Tetro review: how to paint a fake Caravaggio [online]. thetimes.co.uk. Available from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/con-artist-by-tony-tetro-review-how-to-paint-a-fake-caravaggio-n8cjhjvvz [Accessed 21 November 2022].
Tony Tetro and Giampiero Ambrosi (2022) Con/Artist: The Life and Crimes of the World’s Greatest Art Forger. London: Hachette.
In L’Œil de la Photographie, 26th November.
With Marie we walk along the Atlantic coast, the Iroise Sea, the Channel and the North Sea.
We don’t have a dog,
We prefer balloons.
It’s a breed we love.
In his 2022 BBC TV series, Schama examines the influence of art on 20th and 21st century politics and history. Citing:
Picasso’s Guernica, Blair/Orwell and the Spanish Civil War,
Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago and Stalinist oppression,
Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot,
the phases of Václav Havel's influence in Czechoslovakia,
and some of Ai Weiwei's work,
Schama regards their influence as considerable.
While the personal stories of some of those artists and their families were moving, their works in response to those events significant and while great changes took place in the societies in which they participated, with the exception of Havel, who became President of Czechoslovakia, their actual effect on those societies in bringing about change was not evidenced.
BBC TV (2022) Part 1, Truth and Democracy, Simon Schama's History of Now, 27 November 2022, available: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0d5wch4/simon-schamas-history-of-now-series-1-1-truth-and-democracy [accessed 28 November 2022]
This is now complete.
This is now done too.
I love cameras, they make magicians of us all. E.J. Walsingham Conversations with myself n.d.
After “ceci n’est pas une carte postale” in 2018 and “Photo-roman” in 2021, “Poteaugraphies” is the new book by Christian Ramade.
Christian Ramade was born in Marseille where he studied medicine while devoting himself to photography and more particularly to color images. He collaborated for more than ten years with the network of “100 historic sites of the Mediterranean” (United Nations) and exhibited in many French cultural centers around the Mediterranean. He created the “Aubagne en Vues” festival and “Les Photologies” he animates many workshops, in Arles among others, he collaborated for a time to Réponses photo, and directs a collection of “texts with a view” books. He gives many conferences on photography. Currently his work focuses on Italy and France. He has exhibited in many countries, Poteaugraphies is his 15th book. Christian Ramade still resides in Provence.
This is the kind of photos that in general cannot be done. As one would say of a morally reprehensible action: it is not done. But art is not morality, and its rules consist in transgressing the rules, or inventing new ones. We do not photograph one (or more) post(s). The poles, we avoid them. We take them out of the frame. We erase them. We curse them (aesthetically). Or, if need be, they are used as an overline in a composition, as a frame in the framing. It is the rule. But not in the foreground. A post (or equivalent) is not a pattern. We deal with it. We manage, often it is a bother. But in the world of photography there is an image maker who does as he pleases, who transgresses this rule with joy, humor and subtlety. A strange bird with a keen eye and a hair lock still brown: Christian Ramade…
(Excerpt from the preface written by Yves Gerbal)
Christian Ramade : Poteaugraphies
Publisher: Association Photo#graphie
142 pages; 19.00 x 13.00
It is refreshing to see a strong and pleasing series using differing formats. I was told off in EyV Asg1 by my tutor for doing this and have not done so since. But I am still of the view that each image is entitled to its own crop and format appropriate to its setting(s) and that mixing in a portfolio is quite in order. Ramade's is a sought and encountered typology rather than a performative one such as Lefebvre's above.
I have tried to find a copy of ceci n’est pas une carte postale: they are on sale in France, but at €15 plus €24 shipping. Here’s a snippet on L'eye.
I have enjoyed writing about this in several contexts. The main outing was regarding C&N self-portraits where I argued that the portrait of Bill Brandt by Laelia Goehr could be considered a self-portrait because she took them in his studio when Brandt had just begun to teach her photography . Cited in support were the cases of
Tracy Emin (photographed by her then boyfriend Carl Freedman) ;
and Cindy Sherman (some of Untitled Film Stills being photographed by friends and her then boyfriend) . I called this sub-contracted shutter control.
I have a new example:
Baldessari's 3 balls … was photographed by his wife at he time while John threw the balls .
1. See my Brandt, a gradual realisation, p.7, the book arising from C&N.
2. Susan Bright and Hedy van Erp (2019) Photography Decoded. London, Ilex, p.152.
3. MoMA (n.d.) Untitled Film Still #21 [online]. moma.org. Available from https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/cindy-sherman-untitled-film-stills-1977-80/ [Accessed 24 December 2022].
The MoMA page goes on to say,
Many Guises, Many Helpers: The Making of Untitled Film Stills
Sherman staged and shot many of the interior scenes from this series in her apartment, while she directed her friends to photograph her in scenes set outdoors, including Untitled Film Still #21. Whether she was the one to release the camera’s shutter or not, she is considered the author of the photographs. However, the images in Untitled Film Stills are not considered self-portraits. MoMA
4. Kelsey, Robin (2015) Photography and the art of chance. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press. Kelsey states,
Baldessari's game required two players, one to throw the balls and another to wield the camera. The artist made the tosses, and Carol Wixom, his wife at the time, took the photographs of the balls in flight. Kelsey p.291
Kelsey cites a 2009 interview of Baldessari by Constance Llewallen for this detail (see Kelsey p.379, note 20).
Another theme familiar to regular readers is the disjunction between photographers' intentions and viewers' interpretations.
This all started with Sue Sontag, or rather, Sontag paraphrased by Ashley la Grange,
photographs do not seem strongly bound by the intention of the photographer Sontag, On Photography, quoted in La Grange (2005) p.37
A variant found during LPE is Andy Grundberg's
I recognised that … photographic meaning [is] contingent rather than absolute. Grundberg, 2021, p.8
A splendid example of over-interpretation was described in The Times today (Turner, 2022).
… captured in 1984 by Annie Leibovitz in a bath of milk. I wonder if that famous photograph could be taken now. “Listen, it’s a black girl coming through milk,” says Goldberg. “It’s really no more than that. We weren’t deep when we shot it. She was like, ‘I think this would make a great picture.’ ‘OK,’ says I. ‘I have to get in the milk?’ She said, ‘Yes. And it’s like you’re fighting your way through.’ So that’s what we did.”
She lay in the milk for seven hours. Great for the skin, she says. “And for three days, cats followed me. And I couldn’t figure out why. I’d be sitting doing something, and suddenly there’d be like four or five cats rubbing up on me.” Only years later has the picture been assigned a racial significance as a black actor pushing out of a white world. “I was like, ‘What? It’s just me in milk.’ ” Turner, 2022
Grundberg, Andy (2021) How photography became contemporary art. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press.
La Grange, Ashley (2005) Basic critical theory for photographers. Burlington, MA: Focal Press.
Turner, Janice (2022) Whoopi Goldberg on being cancelled — and why she’s still wild at 67 [online]. thetimes.co.uk. Available from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/719fce00-7fbb-11ed-9454-2989524d6944 [Accessed 24 December 2022].
L’Œil de la Photographie today.
On February 27, 2023, La Poste (the Post Office) issues a stamp in the artistic series illustrated by a photo of Dominique Issermann representing the hand of Laetitia Casta.
“Like a small window that opens in the front of the envelope – always the 1st floor window on the right – onto a face, a landscape, a travel souvenir, a cathedral, the Taj Mahal… the stamp is placed, sticks inexorably before the mail leaves.
I have always liked to hear the sound of the rubber stamp which, like the three strokes in the theatre, gives the signal of departure, prints the date and the country of origin, authorizes the journey of the letter, the card, the parcel, which undertake the journey by passing from hand to hand to their recipients.
The envelope that we lick indifferently for the friend or the inspector, seals the secrecy of the couriers. The firmly glued stamp gives us clues about the feelings of the sender, irresistible cat, fiery horse, medal profile, beating heart… The time of departure has arrived, my stamp can go around the world, for a modest sum.
The tithe is paid. Planes, boats, cars, bicycles take turns and the hand is about to ring, to open the door. The postman’s hand puts an end to the stamp’s journey, mission accomplished.
Laetitia Casta’s hand brushes the stone, looks for a crack in the wall, as if to send a message, to ask questions, to wait for answers, to confide secrets wrapped in a bit of paper stamped with an image, at the top on the right, at the window.
This is the first page of the book that I produced with Laetitia Casta in the Thermes de Vals built in Switzerland by Peter Zumthor”.
Geraldine Scott, Political Reporter
The Times, 10 Jan 23
The art of political photoshopping is well known and well honed. Stalin disappeared new enemies from old pictures, David Cameron superimposed a poppy on his lapel for Remembrance Sunday, Nick Clegg was reimagined as the Game of Thrones hero Jon Snow and the North Korean regime has been manipulating photos for well over a decade.
Now Boris Johnson has found himself under the airbrushing wand and its work was revealed by an unlikely source: one of his longest-serving cabinet ministers.
Grant Shapps, the business secretary, tweeted a photograph before the ultimately unsuccessful rocket launch from Spaceport Cornwall. He is pictured next to the LauncherOne rocket on a visit in June, when he was transport secretary under Johnson.
But unlike in the original picture, Johnson is not present. The true image, which is still on the No 10 Flickr account, shows him with his brow furrowed and arm raised, wearing a jacket emblazoned with the words “prime minister”.
It is far from the first picture to be manipulated in politics. Abraham Lincoln was rumoured to be so ugly during his 1860 election campaign that he embarked on an image campaign. It led to claims that although his face was used on the famous image of him standing regally, the body was that of the southern politician John Calhoun.
In 1939 George VI was removed from a photograph with his Queen and the Canadian prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King. It was used on the Canadian’s election poster, allegedly to portray him as more powerful.
Photo manipulation was a weapon in Stalin’s purges; when his enemies were removed or killed, they often vanished from official photographs too.
In recent years David Cameron was ridiculed after his Facebook profile picture was updated to include a superimposed poppy.
Scott, Geraldine (2023) Boris Johnson edited out of Grant Shapps space launch photo [online]. thetimes.co.uk. Available from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/boris-johnson-edited-out-of-grant-shapps-space-launch-photo-tgr5wx0b7 [Accessed 11 January 2023].
From the introduction to Cultural Amnesia (2007), a collection of Clive James' essays.
That beckoning [of humanism], however, grows increasingly feeble. The arts and their attendant scholarship are everywhere - imperishable consumer goods which a self-selecting elite can possess while priding itself as being beyond materialism; they have a glamour unprecedented in history - but humanism is hard to find. For that, science is one of the culprits: not the actual achievement of science, but the language of science, which, clumsily imitated by the proponents of Cultural Studies, has helped to make real culture unapproachable for exactly those students who might otherwise have been most attracted to it, and has simultaneously furthered the emergence and consolidation of an international cargo cult whose witch doctors have nothing in mind beyond their own advancement. By putting the humanities to careerist use, they set a bad example, even to those who still love what they study. Learned books are published by the thousand, yet learning was never less trusted as something to be pursued for its own sake. Too often used for ill it is now asked about its use for good, and usually on the assumption that any good will be measurable on a market, like a commodity. The idea that humanism has no immediately ascertainable use at all, and is invaluable for precisely that reason, is a hard sell in an age when the word 'invaluable', simply by the way it looks, is begging to be construed as 'valueless' even by the sophisticated. In fact, especially by them. Cultural Amnesia, p. xvii
The phrase cargo cult begs to be co-opted into my diatribe on venal gallerists and auctioneers (link to follow).
James, Clive (2007) Cultural Amnesia. London: Picador.
Thierry Maindrault’s Monthly Chronicle ▼
Today I will share with you the latest adventures of NFTs. This new sea serpent that comes to us from the dark abyss to the surface, intermittently, under the light of the media.
A little refreshment for our minds. An NFT (“Non-Fungible Token”) is a unique digital file, which is created by a blockchain (mainly Ethereum), and inseparable from a digital asset (photo, video, etc.). In principle, this absolutely unique key is impossible to reproduce, it is used for the issuance of cryptocurrency or to allow transfers for digitized and dematerialized artistic works.
I will try to be more concrete and quite explicit in my simplification. You are a photographer, and you bitterly regret that customers (shrewd amateurs) do not rush, in your studio-gallery to marvel at and to acquire many of your imperishable artworks. To keep up with the times, your computer buddy reassures you with his bag of magical solutions for all kinds of concerns. He will put you in touch, directly or thru intermediaries, that have a great and long experience of a few months, or even of a few weeks. This little marathon happens to a specialist, called a “founder”, who for a few small coins (be careful, often provide for the obligation to go through a cryptocurrency). This latter will definitively identify your artwork, only digital. An – ultra-confidential – code, is incorporated inside the structure of your digital-artwork-file. The sale of the property of your photograph is made by transfer of this variable code, which certifies the registered ownership of the image. As discussed in a previous chronicle, you hand over your creation – in principle unforgettable – to a third party for Bitcoins, Ethereums or one of the thousands of cryptocurrencies (hundreds bloom every day like dandelions in the spring). Do not gloat over having found an admirer of your talents. Your buyer is a smart guy who has already relisted his new intangible good, with a substantial added value, to a slightly less smart guy who does the same thing again and so on. As it is common knowledge that all fights cease for lack of fighters. When your artwork reaches the upper point of too much, no one wants it any more (the price has become too high to hope to make an attractive financial return). The unfortunate, last one on the list, finds himself the lone owner of your image, which at the same time continues to run through all your social networks and on those of the people who want it. Everything is fine except for the last on the list: our “pigeon” has become a collector of wind in spite of himself and not always flattered to have been financially plucked (so goes the speculation!). However, everything remains really legal. Morality has never had a place in the financial worlds, whether fictitious or materialized.
The problem arises when the good, however ghostly, disappears. Imagine an asset (in the financial sense of course) whose materiality does not exist, which vanishes. Evaporation of nothing to be replaced by nothing. Our great computer geniuses have achieved this feat, unimaginable even by Houdini and his colleagues.
A knowledgeable little guy, an engineer at Solana (blockchain) informs us: “NFTs hosted on the FTX platform are now corrupted and invisible”. What about their value? During the bankruptcy of FTX on November 11, 2022, the world, stunned (sic), discovered that FTX was selling, to its naive customers, fake bitcoins and also that its procedures used for the management of NFTs were not really reliable and secure. Many specialists are looking into the difficulty. Because if it seems that NFTs still exist, although the images are – to this day – no longer visible. The owners have NFTs with corrupted metadata, whereas you have understood that the latter is the indispensable and essential component of an NFT.
Thousands of digital professors “Nimbus”, both on the dark side of the force and among the good Samaritans, are looking into the possibility of ignoring properties attached to files. They attempt the regeneration of this famous information which was originally certified as completely inviolable, until the next chapter of this fascinating saga.
Incidentally, the question arises of the responsibilities inside this brilliant chain of stakeholders who will be foes into the meanders of justice. Our poor photographer, in need of financial recognition, risks finding himself in the front row if one of the happy ex-owners of his artworks files a complaint for lack (by hidden defect, for example) of access to his immaterial property. Indeed, it is the author at the origin of the digital file and its placing under inviolable protection who is responsible for the fraud. Buyers, even successive ones, have only passed on the photographic treasure. As my great ancestor used to say quite often: “before you lose your hand, beware of unknown mechanisms”.
In the end, all this is not very serious, since most NFTs were paid in cryptocurrencies. If the owners had not seen their exceptional artworks of art leave for a digital paradise, there is a very strong chance that this would have been the case for their fictitious digital treasure. In the sense of virtual writing sets, in the games of all kinds, the player is rarely a winner.
Photography is at the forefront of this new deadly hazard of digital communication. This is not surprising, for its true followers so badly need an oasis in their journey through the business desert; but that is no reason to ignore the mystification of mirages.
Thierry Maindrault, January 13, 2023
your comments about this chronicle and its photography are always welcome at
Maindrault, Thierry (2023) title [online]. loeildelaphotographie.com. Available from https://loeildelaphotographie.com/en/nft-worries/ [Accessed 13 January 2023].
Submissions uploaded to the G Drive today. Now back to the DIC Prelude.
I have bought a Sigma DP2 Quatro.
In her 90th year, Marilyn Stafford held a small exhibition of her work in the Tom Foolery café in Shoreham, West Sussex. Customers were amazed to see informal portraits of Albert Einstein, Édith Piaf and Indira Gandhi along with documentary shots of refugees in north Africa and fashion shoots in the streets of Paris in the Fifties and Swinging London in the Sixties.
This obscure event led to her rediscovery as one of the most important female photographers from the mid-20th century. It also led to several exhibitions in Britain and abroad, plus the 2021 publication of Marilyn Stafford: A Life in Photography, a lengthy book of her work. She later remarked: “Never in my wildest dreams did I think all of those pictures under the bed or in shoe boxes sat on by my cat would ever see the light of day again. Most of my work was on assignment so when they were taken, they served their purpose and were then put away for good. The Times, 2 Feb 23 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/marilyn-stafford-obituary-0mcjqt2dm
From L’Œil de la Photographie today.
The Parisian gallery W exhibits until March 4 the images of Chris Morin-Eitner. As a presentation, he wrote these few lines:
While walking through the temples of Angkor, I was fascinated by the way nature had reclaimed the premises. At the height of their splendor, in the middle of the jungle, these temples must have been impressive, as are today the gigantic buildings where man asserts his domination over nature. A nature that he controls and pushes ever further, imposing a coded, designed, structured and urbanized mineral universe.
Angkor, today invaded by lianas and sublime with poetry, and tomorrow, what will become of Dubai, Shanghai, New York, Rome, Paris…? What will become of these urban spaces, these megacities “megacities”, these civilizations today at the top?
My work is built from an optimistic vision, full of hope, full of life, a rediscovered Garden of Eden, teeming with colors, shapes, to create a poetic world and make the hierarchy of right angles , flat and unobstructed surfaces disappear, letting nature imagine new forms.
The starting point is always a city that I have photographed, where an iconic building, old or contemporary can be recognised. I then compose the image: colors, shadows, textures, sharpness, perspective and then clipping of tags, animals, trees and plants… all kinds of elements that feed the universe that I explore.
Chris Morin Eitner
Until March 4, 2023
5 rue du Grenier-Saint-Lazare 75003 Paris
Another good piece from L'Eye today (and they disappear tomorrow for non-subscribers).
There's no need to organise the images into a contact sheet as there's a PDF from the exhibition. I'd like a catalogue, and if I happen to get to Paris, I'll go. Rebois states,
What do we see when we look at a photograph? Contemporary artists and photographers Mathieu Bernard-Reymond, Michel Campeau, James Casebere, Gregory Crewdson, José Damasceno, Denis Darzacq, Alexandre Dufaye, Mickaël Marchand, Sarah Pickering, Catherine Rebois, Patrick Tosani and Bernard Voïta have come together to confront, question and consider the “Contours of the Real”. This new exhibition raises questions about representation, one that brings into play the real, reality, fiction or even pretense…
Certain photographic stagings managed down to the smallest detail are often so acute that they restore a preponderant perception of reality, if indeed we agree on a definition of reality and the real. Since its origin, one of the essential concerns of photography has been its particular relationship to these notions. The photographic descriptive power also refers us to intensity, especially since the staging of reality arouses confusion. And if the real does not exist in itself, on the other hand, the perception of reality does make sense…
… Fiction would tell imagined facts while truth would tell the facts as they happened. Is it so simple? It is obviously impossible to deduce that the fictional narrative is false. Telling or representing is already giving an interpretation of reality. Fiction is not a story that talks about facts that did not happen. Everything is fiction and we need the story to grasp the world, it is articulated more precisely through perception. The real is above all what we discern through our senses, what we hear, what we see and what we consider…
… Photographic vision, for its part, does not reproduce the human gaze, on the contrary it gives to see the invisible. This is a precision given, already at the time, by Étienne Jules Marey, doctor, physiologist, photographer and French inventor: according to him photography would develop a more mental than visual approach. Photography, for example, cannot show movement as we perceive it. Chronophotography by breaking down movement, thanks to a photographic gun, also invented by Marey in 1881, gives a scientific version of mobility and perception. It effectively demonstrates that photography gives us to see the invisible, what the eye and our brain can no longer discern or capture, but which photography succeeds in capturing. We can deduce from this that photography gives us to look at matter, invisible to our eyes, but really decipherable, graspable and intelligible which speaks to us of another truth or better still of a supplement of reality. Photography is read and translated, it is not a simple object offered to the gaze…
…Furthermore, the power of fiction is to let us understand its possible reality. Thus, the fictions that we create are not opposed to the reality that is given to us. These fictions pursue, prolong, underline and clarify things. Reality and fiction sometimes mix and why not? Under these conditions, new things become conceivable and worth considering… and it is indeed all these perimeters, outlines and “Contours of Reality”, in their different aspects, that the artists invited for this new exhibition consider. Catherine Rebois, Extracts from the text of the catalog “Contours du réel” edition Topographie de l’art / Le livre d’art, Paris, February 2023
L'Eye today - the first image is an absolute cracker: it would be easy to be flippant about it, but having eased past that temptation it is full of intrigue. What is the occasion, why the flags? It is better not to know.
The BarTur Photo Award was founded in 2011 by entrepreneurs Amnon and Armon Bar-Tur in memory of their late wife and mother Ann Lesley Bar-Tur, a British artist.
Endowed with a total of $20,000, the annual award honors photographers and photographic artists from around the world who use photography as a medium to sharpen our view of the world and focus on the burning issues of our time. In the abundance of photographic material we are confronted with today, the BarTur Photo Award aims to discover and support the best contemporary photographic talents and to make their work better known. Special attention is given to the work of women, queer and non-binary photographers, as well as photographers from the Global South, who are particularly invited to apply for the award.
The award seeks work that is unique, compelling, and inspiring. The selection process is supported by a jury of leading industry representatives, including in 2022 Austin Merrill (Everyday Africa), Katharina Mouratidi (Artistic Director f³ – freiraum für fotografie), Fumio Nanjo (Mori Art Museum, Tokyo), Ossaini Raggi González (University of the Arts, Cuba), Karin Rehn-Kaufmann (Leica Galleries International) and Simon Roberts (photographer).
The focus of the BarTur Photo Award is not on the presentation of works that have already been published or shown in an exhibition, so among the winners of the BarTur Photo Award 2022 are true discoveries: fresh, new photography with innovative approaches, equally from young, unknown image authors as well as from renowned photographers.
1. Ann Lesley BarTur Award – First Prize Winner: VERONIQUE DE VIGUERIE
9. BarTur Award for Climate Change – Series Winner: GIACOMO D’ORLANDO
3. BarTur Award for Climate Change – Single Image Winner: CHINMOY BISWAS
6. BarTur Wainwright Prize for Climate Change: SUPRATIM BHATTACHARJEE
4. LEICA Fotografie International BarTur Photojournalist of the Year Award: ESPEN RASMUSSEN
7. LEICA Fotografie International BarTur Photojournalist of the Year Award: PHILIP CHEUNG
2. BarTur Award for Faces of Humanity – Series Winner: MAROUSSIA MBAYE
8. BarTur Award for Faces of Humanity – Single Image Winner: KELLY BECKTA
5. BarTur Award for Unity and Diversity: DANIELE VITA
BarTur Photo Award
February 9 – 19, 2023
f³ – freiraum für fotografie
10179 Berlin, Germany
Maindrault, Thierry (2023) The Photography ••• Blah blah blah [online]. loeildelaphotographie.com. Available from https://loeildelaphotographie.com/en/the-photography-blah-blah-blah [Accessed 10 February 2023].
This reads like a machine translation of an original, but there are some sound points made.
Thierry Maindrault’s Monthly Chronicle
More than half a century ago, a very famous French weekly made its reputation on a profession of faith imagined by the unforgettable Roger Thérond. This motto has become commonplace: “the weight of words, the shock of pictures”. In the context of that time, this balance between the words of knowledge, reflection, and imagination was particularly well-balanced by the impact of descriptive, immersive and emotional images. It should be remembered, for all those who did not know them, that in those not so ancient times, quality was paramount. Journalistic pens prided themselves on living up to the prevailing international literary tradition. Of course, the photographers invited by the magazine never ceased to assert, with their shots, their often inimitable talent, even today. Each article published was based on a balance that was as innovative as it was subtle between these two aspects of creation.
How could this success decline so quickly with the evolution of communication? Undoubtedly for a reason as important as it is unavoidable, which is the intellectual weakening of the greatest mass of readers of this magazine. Everyone knows that any proposal, especially in communication, disappears with the disinterest of the recipients. Thus, information and the solicitation of reflection have been abandoned for pre-digested soporific mince. It is the same for images which are quickly dissolved in their own developing tray, at the turn of the millennium, to become the ephemeral digital files of all the geniuses of the “street view” or of psychosexual introspections. We are all, at the same time, mediocre virtual sensors and dumbfounded blotters of this “tremendous” era!
Ernest Hemingway or Françoise Giroud, Dorothea Lange or Robert Capa are relegated to the bottom as digitised antiquities. All this to confirm that this period when words and images moved forward, hand in hand, to sustain the culture of “well-made heads”, seems to me to be completely over.
Beautiful and good images are becoming increasingly rare; despite the almost infinite profusion of authors and their almost endless production. As everyone is convinced of having committed essential artworks. The pressure to exhibit or to edit becomes so strong that the number of opportunists multiplies at high speed. Self-exhibitions and self-publishing flourish wonderfully. Sadly, the term marvel does not apply to all those anorexic works that find themselves tortured in the so-called self-satisfactions of a supreme ego. Incidentally, “sponso-exhibitions” and “sponso-editions” are part of the same invasion.
The indigence of almost all of these productions, in situ or in books, sends the reader of images drowning in misunderstanding. Don’t panic, the lifebuoys are waiting nearby. They are all called: blah blah blah. It is still more practical to all have the same name when you are the result of the famous cloning: copy-paste.
It is not a question of the small poem, which is juxtaposed in counterpoint to a beautiful diaphanous image. No longer a structured and virulent text posed as the culmination of a decadent and distressing photographic shot. Even less a hymn to power juxtaposed with the vigor of a permanently frozen gaze.
Nay! Even surrealism has thrown in the towel! Texts as voluminous as they are insipid, even totally abstruse, settle on the highest steps of the exhibitions, invite themselves on each page of what looks like a catalogue, hymn in the mouths of mediators who have become essential.
Everything is good to hide, to coat all these photographic achievements which by definitions should be enough in themselves. The questions, sometimes very legitimate, will only be the subject of a second stage stored up by the reader. If I tell you the story, the origin and the how, I kill the magic of the dialogue between an artwork and its discoverers.
A lot of reasons explain the emollient, uninteresting, and often low-quality of the texts. A quick overview shows the number of centres of disinterest which are solicited before the discovery of a photographic work.
The author’s biography, pure ego satisfaction, begins by concealing the unmentionable periods of a career, then by framing the poor balance by an angelic number of distinctions (most frequently without any value), by an imposing list of exhibitions and by the announcement of a lot of some personal books.
The inspiration of the author’s creative choices, the essential why at the origin of such brilliant images (from the famous lost cat of the neighbour to the naked self-portrait not assumed by terrible blurs without any interest).
The very detailed fabrication, when not timed operations; sometimes, the speech too meagre is reinforced by a long and unbearable videogram which, itself, has nothing creative about it.
If all these explanations, are insufficient, they are relayed by the subject who appears on the image with the description of his own story which, is obviously not trivial.
The crowning glory now goes to the pseudo-sponsor who invites himself into the story to demonstrate his indispensable role in the production and transformation of a series of photographs into a pure masterpiece of contemporary art, still maybe more.
This mode of explanation – at all costs – has just arrived recently in the Juries, whose members see themselves undergoing very long explanations and strong instructions before discovering the first images (often already all preselected). If there is no reward, and it is a simple selection, the instructions are identical. The vast majority of interviews and other press articles are more thirsty of juicy details of the author’s private life than for the multidimensional value of his creations. It is true that very frequently, the media spotlights are much more interested in a television show presenter, an architect, a novelist, an actor (rarely in a manual worker, some of whom nevertheless conceive excellent photographs), in need of an awesome hobby. If these apprentice photographers (not all of them are bad) had the good taste to photograph their granddaughter in a swimming pool or to bring back four photographs from a small alley at the other end of the world: they are genius. All this blah, blah, blah was not useless since the doors of the great places of public exhibitions or institutional publishers open for them.
As one of our great contemporary photographers has just confided to me: “the old obligatory time in the laboratory (darkroom) to claim trying to print photographs was not so bad! ”
Any image should speak by itself today and tomorrow; otherwise, go figure. Then the history, the study of all the contexts, the analysis of the making, it is another Story which has strictly nothing to do with the creation and the realisation of a photograph.
Thierry MaindraultThierry Maindrault in L’Œil de la Photographie 10 Feb 23
Found and lost on L'Eye, found again in Google.
Worth a look.
I intend to apply for DIC at the end of this month. Now on with Part 1 using the extract.
I applied for DIC on 1st. The online system has improved since last time, but still failed me nevertheless. I am awaiting a reply from Student Services:
I am trying to register for my next course, DIC. I have completed all but the WorldPay payment and I get stuck there because the system insists that I log in and then will not accept my password, see attached.
Thanks, Nick Note to Student Services, 1st March
There was an excellent piece in the Guardian today about the colour photographs of Werner Bischof (the sixth member of Magnum), taken on a Devin Tri-Color camera. There is an exhibition, organised by his son Marco, at MASILugano.
I began toying with TriColour, recently - my first attempt was unsuccessful.
In L'Eye today.
Interrogating the Meaning of Houses, Churches, and Chairs
Interrogating the Meaning of Houses, Churches, and Chairs, is a series of photos that play with the iconic house, church, and chair shapes in a variety of abstracted context, juxtaposing these with other recognizable symbols. Most of the pieces are monochrome, and use a single material for both the structures and the additions to them. Minimal and conceptual, these photos are meant to interrogate the meaning of the house, church, and chair symbol by exploring how simple interventions affect their interpretation.
Every time I enter a gallery or an exhibition. Every time I open a photography book or a magazine’s portfolio. I put up with all these intermediaries who inform me that I am in the presence of marvelous images. The latter are necessarily extraordinary, since the photographs presented are pure masterpieces made by a marginalized drug addict, by a mediatized ecclesiastic, by a guru of nature or by a licensed activist. Consequently, a lot of instructions for use are necessary and indispensable to allow me to wonder in front of series of photographs, very often of poor quality, mediocre creativity and insignificant messages.
I understood that in our current times, it is essential to pull out all the stops to generate consideration and virtual money. But shouldn’t we stop for a few moments and reflect on our daily observations? Shouldn’t we stop believing in all these excuses and other adjectives to justify the unjustifiable?
A photograph is really good, or not tremendous when it is not frankly bad. It’s not more complicated than that ! All the parasitic cosmetics, of all kinds, are without any interest.
Whether the photographer climbed on a tree, sprawled face down on a pile of manure, hanged by his feet or put his head underwater is an anecdote to animate winter evenings. If the technique used delivers an image of consistent quality. If this same image guarantees readability in harmony with its reason for existing. If the indefinite proposed by the image enters our thoughts to generate emotions, feelings, rejections, analyses, happiness. So the photography is good. This principle on the quality and interest of the photographic image must be recalled once again. Unfortunately, it remains difficult to understand to these millions of new pseudo creator-photographers who persuaded themselves to take photographs without never taking any.
So why does our current cultural environment oblige us to certify that such and such a photograph would be great because it was taken by a woman? Worse still, this formidable word: “… it is a photograph of a Woman…”. How could a large part of our societies have reached such a terrible and counterproductive stage? No, the photographic image – like all other human creative expressions – has no gender, neither predetermined nor indeterminate. The so-called quota methods only exacerbate communitarianisms, as varied as they are multiple. The principle of equal opportunities must remain open to all, without any other distinction than the intellectual and spiritual value of the works produced. I will feel deeply humiliating to be told that I make a Man photograph and that they are exhibited only for this reason.
With mastery we all make photographs. One click, a lot of work, on to the next one, and we offer it to others to see. I meet handicapped people with motor and earring disabilities, women of African origin (hey, that’s the fashion of the moment), former adventurers who are still atheists, whimsical homosexuals and many others who introduce me to real absolutely wonderful photographs. I had the opportunity to voluntarily interchange the works of each other, without any noticeable reaction from the visitors. “If the picture is good than…” sang Barbara. Let’s stop having our works deposited in now digitized lockers and us with them, at the same time. In addition, should I remind you that the works produced do not always and necessarily reflect the personality, or the way of life, of their author? The creative germ remains so complex, – and that’s good -. The desire to constrain and limit a work to two or three parameters of its author’s life remains pure utopia when there are a multitude of interacting spaces for the birth of a single image. All these attempts at the excessive rationalization of our creations come from limited, even incompetent brains. It’s no better with the so-called “emotional” fashions, which currently reserve exhibitions only to the works of female origin or those from Ukrainian authors. It’s called opportunities that encourage all kinds of hordes to adapt to invade free space. Today, some very talented creators and some very good authors (women) are themselves caught up (in spite of themselves) by these surging waves and become guarantors of this system, with a guaranteed leveling down.
In the absence of “feminine” photographs, I would like, in passing, to re-establish some truths about all the women creators of photographic images to whom we owe sublime works. The techniques of photography, quite scientific in their effective use, are very recent on the scale of Humanity, first half of the 19th century. This is a time when female curiosity was successfully entering medicine, research, finance, and teaching. Thus, from the outset, women, despite the technical and above all logistical constraints, have made a real place for themselves in the photographic universe. Often, it is said that too few female surnames are known by the public. But, it is the same for men, how many last names of great photographers (between the arrival of photography and 1950) are known? It was not until the second half of the 20th century that the excessive personalization of authors led to the emergence of names. From 1950, the few prestigious photography schools already had almost as many women as men, with options in all specialties. My renowned professors included as many women as men. Today, the overabundance of various training courses claiming to teach photography is overwhelmingly filled by women.
By the way, it is good to note that if an educational circuit brought a certainty of talent at the end of its course, one would know about it. Girls have become, in the younger generations, more numerous to take photographs. They show me, in my reviews, less often bad photographs than boys.
No, this object which is a photographic image has no sex, any more than it has religion or ethics. Which absolutely does not prevent it from conveying sex, dogma, ideas, confrontations, discoveries, pleadings in all directions. Because if our photographic works have no gender, they certainly have a soul. Moreover, this is how the photographs of our predecessors were able to gain acceptance in the Art space … and that’s perfect.
Since we are ending on Art! Art is precisely Universal. So let’s stop claiming to be part of a community, a caste or a gender to demand a right to show our works. Projecting oneself into evolution – through a lot of work – seems to me more objectively to contribute to the origin of talent.
Thierry Maindrault, March 10, 2023
your comments about this chronicle and its photography are always welcome at
Payment eventually went through and I'm about to start DIC, but I'm giving serious consideration the abandoning the degree entirely.
C&N taught me that making books is as important to me as making images.
LPE taught me that making sounds is as important to me as making images, especially when the two can be combined
LPE also resolved the matter of voice — as noted on 20th March a year ago, "You've found your voice when you stop trying to please other people".
Fully half of the students I met in the LPE chat group have left the course. They have quoted a variety of reasons but they all boil down to, "my interests will be best served elsewhere".
I would probably quite enjoy DIC, but I am thinking with increasing certainty that I will find Year 3 a frustrating, pointless waste of time and money. And in purely practical terms, the chances of my being physically capable of completing Y3 are no greater than 50%. Therefore, what benefit in paying >£2k of taxed income to be told that I am moderately good at taking snaps and that my thoughts on photo-theory are quaint?.
My LPE FinAss has just come in with some largely positive comments and a score of 64, which is better than the year before but hardly a ringing endorsement. I rate my images and my essays more highly than my tutors
I quote from EyV at the top of every course,
At OCA we believe that your position or viewpoint is absolutely as valuable as the position of any author that you read; the only difference is that you probably won’t have fully discovered, or at least articulated, it yet. Your viewpoint is the source of your imagination and ideas but it can be quite a long journey to bring it into the light. EyV p.101
That has not been my experience at OCA. I am not going to change their minds and vice versa, so tents up and move on makes financial and aesthetic sense.
[spellchecked to here]
My short-lived tutor wrote a very kind letter and I replied,
Thank you for your very generous letter. You are right that I have decided, nevertheless, it was good to read your personal story.
The course so far has been very good for me and has re-energised me, but I have taken pretty much all I want and all I need from it and I don't think DIC and especially Year 3 would add a great deal. I had a good time playing with the early exercises in DIC from the course example(see E1 and E2), but can't help thinking that I should get on with some real work. It will be the essays I miss most.
But the point remains that I don't think the OCA has given enough consideration to dealing with older minds.
One more thing (no action required on your part). The deadline for cancelling the course is 11th April. I wrote, as instructed, to email@example.com, but the automated reply stated (in red) "Due to staff leave, this email inbox will be monitored only occasionally over the period Friday 31st March - Monday 10th April 2023." I have sent supplementary emails to Learner Support and to Student Services. Just in case there are any issues over the refund, I will, if I may, call on you as a witness. I intend to copy in Dan Robinson on 9th April if I have heard nothing. Of course, my GMail access might just disappear leaving me in the dark. This sort of service level is a frequent source of complaint in conversations with fellow students.
author (year) title [online]. website. Available from url [Accessed nn March 2022].
author (year) Title. Location: Publisher.
author (year) Title. Journal. Vol, pages.
[28Dec19] I have been collecting apposite quotes since starting the web site, but rather apathetically because I did not have a convenient means of storing and referencing them. Here's the original page. This is a new plan - stash them in the blog (which I often have) and list the sources here. I'll add navigation arrows through the entries. As currently conceived, the quotes gathered during each course will remain discrete in that blog - I might organise a way around that.
Richard Avedon - surface
Lewis Baltz - style and objectivity
Dawoud Bey - shooting
Nick Blackburn (me) - photography comprises poses and gazes.
Nick Blackburn - a version of a moment
Erwin Blumenfeld - photography is easy (or is it?).
Dorothy Bohm - stop things from disappearing.
David Campany ambiguity
A.D. Coleman - All photographs are fictions
A.D. Coleman - the gaze
A.D. Coleman - art theory
John Coplans - meaninglessness
Joan Didion - the implacable "I"
Paul Dirac - poetry vs. science
Marcel Duchamp - photography vs. painting
William Fox Talbot - chance and charm
Sigmund Freud - fleeting visual impressions
Peter Galassi - Photography is a bastard
Paul Graham - orthodoxy
Robert Graham subject → object
Andy Grundberg - photographic meaning is contingent
Clive James - cargo cult
Bill Jay - photography's destination
Stanley Kubrick - affection
Rene Magritte - what has never been seen
Matisse - objects and surroundings
Duane Michals - large prints
Richard Misrach - large format cameras
Richard Misrach - interpretation
me - why photograph?
Steven Pippin - inverse sophistication
Raghu Rai - faithfully and honestly
Harold Rosenberg - an artist …
Sontag - intention, loosely bound
Sontag - mortality, vulnerability, mutability
Sontag - never entirely wrong
Alec Soth - still photography is incompatible with the narrative sequence.
Tom Stoppard - recognising quality
Rory Sutherland - we see what we understand
Paul Vanderbilt - new consciousness
EJ Walsingham - magicians
Evelyn Waugh - first or a fourth
Edward Weston - the thing itself
Oscar Wilde - on masks