This is a copy of the 1st July post in the C&N blog.
While awaiting a tutorial on C&N Asg.5, it's time to prepare for I&P. The checklist is:
Work is well under way on the transfer from C&N to I&P and I have started work on the Preamble. I will probably apply for the course in a few weeks.
Given my wish to produce clear representations of what things look like, I wouldn't normally expect to be drawn to such images, but an article in this month's B&W Photography † featured Olga Karlovac's new(ish) book, the disarray. Her technique is described as using slow shutter speeds to generate motion blur and photographing in bad weather with rain on her lens. The camera used for the book is a Ricoh GR II (fixed focal length lens approx. 28mm equivalent, no viewfinder).
The effect is impressionistic. It reminds me, in a way, of a photographer I came across while researching self portraits for C&N, Daniel Castonguay.
I cannot see me attempting to make images anything like these, but I would like to try some time. I think I would try the effect in colour at first, perhaps desaturated. I remember being astonished decades ago by a photograph by John Hedgecoe — I had several of his books and will have a hunt. There was one completely out of focus and, I think, taken in Paris without a lens. I always wanted to play with this effect. The closest I have come is a picture in the British Museum for EyV.
† Pill, S. (2020) Tales of Disarray. Black+White Photography. Issue no. 243, pp.28-35.
I discourage my students from talking about photographing as "shooting" or "capturing" or "taking," because it's really about trying to figure out a way to describe with the camera, to make something. Dawoud Bey, on Photographing People and Communities, p.29
My reluctance to embrace Harvard Referencing for anything other than assignment submissions has been stated not infrequently (see Nov 2018 and Dec 2019) but the time has come to accept it. I think the final conversion occurred when assembling the C&N zine and the Wordpress sites for C&N and EyV — it would be easier and neater to assemble a single, central set of references and therefore standardisation is essential. I have started retrofitting Harvard to all I&P material and will stick to Harvard thereafter with one exception, references to the course material as, for example I&P p.18 will continue except in assignments. And I'll use ibid. too.
I spent some time today considering alternative courses to I&P — firstly because I have only just realised (or been reminded) that there are alternatives; secondly because I am really interested in trying photgravure and I enjoyed making the C&N zine so much.
I&P is the pure photography course for #3 but there are others - Moving Image 1: Setting the Scene / Moving Image 1: An Introduction to Film Culture / Visual Studies 1: Understanding Visual Culture / Book Design 1: Creative Book Design / Visual Studies 1: Creative Arts Today / Writing 1: Writing Skills / Graphic Design 1: Core Concepts / Visual Skills 1: Visual Dynamics / Printmaking 1: Introduction to Printmaking.
There have been a couple of gravure articles lately that have sparked my interest. Neither are to hand at the moment (one was in B&W Phot, the other I think in the L'Oeil de la Photographie daily briefing). Part 1 of the Printmaking course is here. Unfortunately you can't get by on photography alone, you need some practical graphical skills so that excludes me. Most importantly, it does no go anywhere near gravure. Here's an interesting post, Photopolymer printing on a budget
The Book Design course (Part 1 here) is superficially attractive but I'm not sure I would get much out of it having already done the zine. I'm happy with what I have learned and ready to tackle the next book.
I might look at some of the others.
I blogged during C&N about my front room windows probably being the last thing I would photograph. Here they are on another fine day, 36th August.
[8Sep] Surface, aspirations to photograph beneath, and the possibilities thereof are covered in the I&P Preamble. Dawoud Bey paraphrases Richard Avedon on the matter and here's a direct quote.
My photographs don't go below the surface. They don't go below anything. They're readings of what's on the surface. Avedon in Henry Carroll's Photographers on Photography (2018, p.80)
In August I toyed with definitions of various aspects of photography, see here. Last night I wrote,
a photograph is a copy of what a moment in time somewhere looked like
to the extent that, through processing, it is not, to that extent it is no longer a photograph † me
† I was aiming to channel Lincoln here, 'Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy' (1858). There is scope for getting closer.
[21Sep] This echoes a quote I encountered a few days later in an essay by Michael Mitchell, Verum Factum, in Thirteen essays on photography (1990),
… I want to show the unborn what it once looked like. I want them to see what we once saw and what we thought was significant. Michael Mitchell, Verum Factum, in Thirteen essays on photography (1990),
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (1990) Thirteen essays on photography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
The full paragraph is worth noting and there are several other goodies from Mitchell I'll put on a page if time allows.
Searching for any other pieces, I note that he died in May this year at 76. Obit
This continued with the thought that the act of ph. consists of subject and treatment. Or perhaps a subject and a series of treatments (taking ‡, processing, display etc.).
And that historically, film has always had two arms reality (documentary and news) and fantasy (the movies).
‡ or making in Bey's terms
From Here's Me! or The Subject in The Picture in Thirteen essays on photography (1990) p.4.
The transformation by photography is the metamorphosis of a subject into an object Robert Graham in Here's Me! or The Subject in The Picture, 1990
He goes on to examine how the subject might reclaim or roll back the process of objectification through various types of discourse between the photographer and the photographee.
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I'm just about to apply for the course. Here's an update on a previous post elsewhere.
Summer 20 - 78, 72, 72, 68, 68, 66, 66, 65, 65, 63, 63, 62, 62, 62, 58, 55, 54, 53
Mar 20 - 50, 51, 52, 52, 53, 54, 58, 58, 61, 62, 64
Nov 19 - 42, 48, 53, 54, 54, 55, 67
Jul 19 - 50, 52, 52, 54, 54, 59, 60, 63, 65, 66, 67, 72
Mar 19 - 59, 62, 65, 65, 65
Summer 20 - 74, 70, 66, 60, 56, 55, 50, 0
Mar 20 - 53, 57, 58, 62, 62, 63, 65, 65
Nov 19 - 62, 63, 72, 73
Jul 19 - 0 (!), 46, 48, 51, 58, 62, 63, 63, 64, 65, 66, 70
Mar 19 - 54, 54, 55, 56, 56, 58, 61, 65, 65, 66, 68, 69, 72, 73, 85
Summer 20 - 72, 68, 64, 63, 58, 58, 5850, 47, 0
Mar 20 - 68, 62, 58, 50, 46, 43
Nov 19 - 72, 70, 68, 67, 65, 64, 63, 62, 61, 60, 60, 60, 52
Jul 19 - 64
Mar 19 - 73, 60, 58, 54, 53, 51
While I'm waiting for my application to join the course, let's run through the assignments. Bearing in mind I only have part 1 of the course material at the moment, several of the assignments ask for the application of "what you've just learned", so there's guesswork in here.
1. The non-familiar
Five portraits of unknown local people
I have had no better ideas than charity shops triptych - exterior person on the till, pano of till and surrounds. The backup is similar groups of emporia - pubs, cafés etc. or the same ideas a little further afield. Save tattoo parlours for Asg.3.
2. Vice Versa
Five portraits interior and exterior. Same person or several
Either 5 of Mrs. B or August Sander derived, maybe workers - street cleaner, traffic warden etc.
3. Mirrors and Windows
Either photos of a group you are part of
or a local group you do not yet know.
I'm not in any local groups, so it's the window. I have often thought of offering my services to one or more tattoo parlours - that resembles a community.
7-10 pictures using course ideas, combining images and text.
That will have to wait - Part 4 is headed Image and text with sections Captions and titles / Memories and speech / Fictional texts
Part 5 is headed Removing the figure with sections Absence and signs of life and Places and spaces
This will have to wait but it promises the possibility of fewer people in the snaps.
I remain wedded to the idea of sticking with 6x7 and optional 6x14 panoramas. I still like borders.
Many of the visual art forms manifest a dimension that spans a continuum from realism to abstract. There is a cusp on that continuum that is a sweet spot such as that occupied by Henry Moore in sculpture where some of his figures are evidently derived from the human, but only just so: of his contemporaries, Hepworth is usually at the far end of abstract and Epstein working a rich seam more towards the realist.
These came to mind this morning with the daily post from L'oeil de la photographie showing the work of Nasos Karabelas and Hélène Brugnes.
Karabelas, at the beginning of a long paragraph, says,
This series is the attempt to understand the functioning of sensations. To explore the space of emotions and the interaction between the forms of the image and the viewer. Nasos Karabelas
Brugnes says of her series,
The hyperrealistic image of a summer day on a Moroccan beach vanishes into a dreamlike abstraction in which only the idea of movement remains.Hélène Brugnes
The EXIF data for Brugnes' images have not been cleared. Although some of the lens data does not make sense, they were made on a Nikon D7000 and the shutter speeds were 1/10th, 1/15th, 1/15th, 1/8th.
I started writing about surrealism today too.
On 16th May last, during C&N, I wrote,
To produce a visual representation of something that merits this attention in such a way as to do the subject justice. All these judgements are necessarily subjective and and the terms deliberately ambiguous. me 15th May 2020
Last night I shortened this to,
To make a visual expression of an interest. me 27th September 2020
I think I still might prefer the May version, although this has the advantage of brevity.
See also my w-i-p page on roles.
I paid for the course today.
I am reprocessing Part 1 using the online version and inserting any new components. It will soon be time to venture out and take some photographs. My new tutor has emailed to arrange an online intro chat on 13th.
I came upon a fellow student yesterday who has a handsome site, a sound approach and even more books than I. I arrived there through his review of the Bill Jay, Lenswork Memorial edition — here's the link to Steve Middlehurst. Steve has reached a good compromise on referencing.
I have send a copy of the C&N zine to my old tutor.
Having worked through the new version of I&P Part 1 and inserted the new bits into my notes that had been based on the freely available extract, I now need to complete the exercises and the assignment for Part 1. These comprise:
Exc 1.3 - Portraiture typology - I propose to photograph armed police
Exc 1.4 - Archival intervention - raid the family albums
Asg 1 - The non-familiar - photograph High Street charity shops, or alternative vendors in the case on non-cooperation.
To town yesterday for the first course-driven photo-outing since 14th May and the Lidl's checkout security camera for C&N Asg.3 (and even that was really shopping-driven).
The targets were armed police at Downing Street and outside Parliament for some Sander typology. I will try to repeat the exercise at Kings Crustation at some point, but now to Asg.1.
I had my inaugural chat with my new tutor today and we agreed a target date for Asg.1 of 6th December.
The assignment is going remarkably well. As I note on the development page, "I am surprised how willing, or even enthusiastic the participants are".
And I joined my first I&P online chat today, organised by Mark and with Peter and Zoe in attendance.
We encountered Spence in Part 1 with her method of analysing and evaluating portraits.
I hadn't realised what a fascinating and entertaining revolutionary character she was. I attended (digitally) a conference on Saturday, Let us now praise famous women and particularly enjoyed Patrizia Di Bello (Birkbeck) on Jo Spence as a writer, organiser & photographer. I believe a podcast will be made available and I will add a link.
I grabbed a few screens during the lecture and will start a Jo Spence page with those.
I am still processing the photographs for Asg.1 and thinking what to write.
I have read Part 2 but not made notes yet.
And spending quite a lot of time creating my 2001 photo calendar.
Here's the link, followed from the course introduction, to the current state of the Assessment Criteria — https://www.oca-student.com/resource-type/assessment-criteria/assessment-criteria-visual-arts-he5
Asg.1 is complete, leaving 3 weeks to fiddle with the wording and work out how to submit it, see draft introductory email:
Unusually, the first and second assignment briefs do not give a word limit for writing about the submissions. I’ll work with 500 as that is the limit for the remaining three.
I have not seen any guidance on sizes for digital submissions since EyV p.15 that specified,
1500 pixels along the longest edge
Adobe (1998) colour profile, RGB jpegs
This will be superseded by the 30 October email to students, OCA Learn Update: Assignment Submissions that stated, "Students who are part way through a unit [as at 2nd November] will be able to submit assignments through OCA Learn from the end of January 2021". Asg.1
Exc.2-1 photographs have been taken, needs the text.
There's an I&P hangout on Friday evening. I have uploaded 3 pics, here's a link to the shared drive - https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/0AG7AVOTi1KRYUk9PVA.
I&P Part 3 is titled Mirrors and Windows but I have not read it yet. I am working my way through Kozloff's Lone visions, crowded frames, at the moment and one of his comments, '[s]itters for portraits appear as people auditioning for parts in their own lives' triggered the thought that portraits provide a good example of Szarkowski's M&W — window portraits show what the sitter wants to enact; mirror portraits show what the snapper wants to describe; both are trumped by the baggage the viewer brings to their interpretation.
As Szarkowski noted, this is a spectrum: these labels should be assigned at the level of the individual photograph, not to the any photographer's work in general.
A new initiative has been started to capture the contents of the many books I keep buying so that I can populate my text with snappy and pithy quotes. This began today in the Contents section. I started with one from Sz and three from Ewing. One of the Ewings from 2012 touts snappers in the Saatchi stable and Ewing wrote a witty introduction describing the land of photography, a 'world with continents, countries, extremely varied terrain, unsettled lands, over-populated areas, and boundaries that are vigorously contested'.
the 'continent of Commercia', which includes the 'wealthiest Kingdom of Advertising' ruled by the Professionals. The inhabitants have little patience with
'the dour people of Documentaria' whose noblest tribe is the Photojournalists who have a 'deep faith in Truth'.
Both realms are 'united in their disdain of the Amateurs, who inhabit a continent so vast it has never been properly mapped, let alone explored. Anarchy reigns in Amateuria' inhabited by 'a savage folk' who believe that 'no rite or ceremony should go unrecorded, though the records are immediately lost or forgotten'.
In Artistica, a 'small continent on top of the world, a republic envied for its liberties', both Amateurs and Professionals are 'distinctly unwelcome'. The occupants squabble constantly over the name of the land and whether it should include the syllable 'Art'. Apart from internal rivalries, there is a constant threat from
Artcontemporanea, buying up choice tracts in Artistica and trying to run things.
And several correspondents are waiting for the results of C&N.
I have completed two subjects for Asg.2 and today chased up two who didn't reply and written to six new candidates.
In an email from Anna Walker Skillman, Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, regarding a splendid exhibition of Elliott Erwitt’s work.
A successful day out yesterday to photograph Rev. Steve Cook at St Barnabas. Score 3 of 5.
An interesting piece in The Times today that may prove to be of use in a future course. The story concerns Scottish exam papers and controversy whether 'repeating the myths' (Horne, 2020) should be rewarded with marks. That is interesting in itself, but even more fruitful is a pair of readers' comments,
What an apology for an article.
An opportunity to educate wasted. No wonder it's anonymous.
There were tanks in Glasgow on the day of the myth. In the area of the cattle market.
A coincidence or a response to the birth of the new Red Clydesiders ? The Riot Act was read in George Square on 31/01/1919.
At least 2 union men ended up in gaol. Manny Shinwell was one of them.
There's more. Kenny MacAskill has a book on the the incident in 1919. "CBR", The Times. 7 Dec
But Shinwell's account was close to fiction and the oft paraded picture of the tanks in the streets around George Square were of a fund raising event a year previous which raised £14 million. Peter Wright, The Times. 7 Dec
So 100 years after the event it is lost in the mists (and myths) of time.
Marc Horne (2020) Myths of workers’ uprising feature in teachers’ guide [online]. thetimes.co.uk. Available from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/1571061e-3812-11eb-a4fe-454ae9b80c8b [Accessed 7 December 2020].
From the camera i, a collection of photographers' self portraits
… however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable "I". Joan Didion
I don't agree, but it might prove useful.
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A workmanlike 62% for C&N, up from 53% for EyV. Report here.
[19Dec] I'll develop this on a separate page.
I made a book of the course (C&N) last "year" and enjoyed it so much that I decided to do this every year. Bill Brandt pervaded my C&N and so it was straightforward to use him as a peg to hang the whole book on but I have been wondering what will be the backbone of the I&P booklet †. I might have found it this morning.
I came upon, by chance (while looking for the report on the November Assessment results), an OCA chat thread (Scottie, 2016) where a fine art student seeking feedback on his work from others wondered why photography students often began their responses by apologizing for their lack of expertise and agency in the matter.
My consequential thoughts delivered this —
The OCA course is about two things:
1. Taking photographs pertaining in some way to assignment briefs that manifest creativity and risk and writing 500, sometimes 1000 words explaining lucidly, articulately and informedly that they do those three things.
2. Learning to write perceptively about other peoples' (usually more-or-less famous ‡ other people) photographs.
The (possible) plan is to run the opening editorial along these lines and then try to weave it through or demonstrate it with the two or three essays and two or three photo-series that follow.
For the front page image, I might go with a snap from the 2018 British Museum Rodin Exhibition.
† My first thought involved the title A fair likeness and I bought a few peripheral books (a novel, a beginners' book on sculpture) to hunt for a way in.
‡ Bill Jay cautioned his students (2001) that fame, in the world of photography, is a relative matter — almost all 'famous' photographers are only famous to those with a keen interest in photography: those on the Clapham omnibus are unlikely to have heard of them.
and 'fame has absolutely nothing to do with merit, achievement, talent, contributions to society or culture, brilliance in a chosen field, lifetime dedication or haircut'.
Jay, B., (2001) 'How to be famous, sort of', in Sun in the blood of the cat. Tucson, Az.: Nazraeli Press, pp.27-32.
Scottie (2016) Do you need to be qualified to comment? [online]. oca-student.com. Available from https://www.oca-student.com/content/do-you-need-be-qualified-comment [Accessed 18 January 2020].
This was received yesterday. It was reasonably positive and I am pleased with the outcome. I must learn and take care to express myself more carefully. What I intend as straightforward, unambiguous phrases turn out to be neither.
My tutor is setting assignment deadlines around two months apart which will mean Asg2-28Feb; Asg3-30Apr; Asg4-30Jun; Asg5-31Aug. That's ok, I'll just get on with the coursework and assignments, stick to that timetable, start the next course when the coursework is complete and all the outstanding assignments under way and submit I&P for assessment in, I guess, November. I will expect a lower mark than the 62% for C&N and hope for a higher mark than the 53% for EyV.
I wish there were course extracts for Level 2. The choice is 2 from • Landscape place and environment • Documentary - Fact & Fiction •Self and the Other • Digital Image and Culture.
This phrase was used in an article about Anna Meredith in the January 2021 edition of Sound on Sound, used by Jack Ross to describe the mixing engineer Marta Salogni — but that's not important right now. The point is it resonated with me regarding photographers and would probably apply to the Windows end of the MW Spectrum When my tutor described my Asg.1 submission as 'somewhat clichéd in that they give the viewer what is expected', I took that as more a compliment than a criticism. Whenever possible, I print the output (in Boots) and give a copy to the subject and I want the portrait to be acceptable to them. Giving people what they want is a life skill, see also my developing Theory of portraiture.
Stokes, Will (2021) Anna Meredith, composing and producing FIBS. Sound on Sound. Vol.36 Iss.3 (January 2021), pp.59-63.
And about the next course. Assembling information here.
White Sands, New Mexico, 1974, Jack Welpott
Before diving into the many P4 exercises, I need to finish off some from previous sections . I'll list them here then aim for one every day.
[15Feb] That all took rather longer than intended, but I covered a lot of ground in Exc 3.3.
It could be a passing fad triggered by my reading Baddiel’s Jews don’t count at the moment, but I have listed my relevant prejudices before getting into Exc. 4.4.
Michael A. Kohler's Constructed Realities has been on my wants list for some time and I have been intrigued by the front cover. L’Œil de la Photographie provided the answer today with a piece on Sandy Skoglund that states,
In the late 1970s Sandy Skoglund finally abandoned painting in favour of photography. This was fuelled by the artist’s interest in pop culture, kitsch aesthetics and her obsession with commercial photography. Skoglund was fascinated by the ‘sterile’ images that produced the image of the American Dream. She was particularly drawn to pictures of food in glossy magazines and catalogues. As Skoglund says, ‘I was amazed at how cleverly the advertisement manipulated the consumer’s mind.’ In the ‘Still Life’ series of photographs from 1978 the artist takes an ironic view of the strategies for creating advertising images. In her photographs the traditional food of the American middle-class is transformed into a decorative object or an optical illusion. Starting with the ‘Still Life’ series, food is one of the most importance themes in Skoglund’s work. According to her, this is the most universal language, understood by everyone: ‘After all, everyone eats,’ says the artist.
In 1980 Skoglund took one of her most famous photographs, ‘Radioactive Cats’, in which she depicted a post-apocalyptic scene of life after nuclear disaster. This image marked the beginning of her work with installations that she subsequently photographed. This unique combination of several art forms has made ‘Radioactive Cats’ a symbol of the tableau photography concept. At first glance it may seem that the frame was made using Photoshop, but in reality the bright green animals in the picture are sculptures that the artist personally sculpted from plaster clay. She made 25 life-size figures of cats especially for the photograph and placed them next to actors who performed pre-directed actions. ‘I feel that it is a hopeful message because the cats seem lively and able to keep on living,’ Skoglund explained in one of her interviews. ‘The role of the people in the scene is not clear. Their future is ambiguous, and this is intentional.’ L’Œil de la Photographie
And here are some of the pictures they showed.
There's another photographer this work reminds me of, but I just can't think of who, for now. That's why I must keep expanding the Photographers pages.
Now complete, due for submission at the end of Feb. I'll fiddle with the submission text for a while and send it in a few days early because there is a new system.
Regular readers will be aware of my liking of unpretentious archive vernacular projects.
L'oeil de la photographie delivered details of a delightful new book today, Tar Beach by Susan Meiselas. First the title - Tar beach is not a phrase I had heard before but it is a known thing (there are other books with titles that include it): it's a lovely concept. derived from the urban tendency to sunbathe on flat roofs. That immediately brings to mind two things Alvarex Bravo's nude,The Good Reputation, Sleeping (La Buena Fama Durmiendo), 1938 - looking at it now, it's probably not a rooftop, but there is a wall so it might be urban.
And the Beatles farewell rooftop concert (Wikipedia) with the incomparable Billy Preston (How great thou art).
Back to the book,
There's another borderline vernacular item on order, Russian Self Portraits, David Attie. More on that later. Thanks to Graham Land Photography for that lead.
Two recent copyright stories, first from PetaPixel, Photographer Sues Kat Von D Over Miles Davis Tattoo, 'A photographer has filed a lawsuit against celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D, accusing her of infringing on his copyright by using his photo of iconic jazz musician Miles Davis as a tattoo for a client.
Instagram - no Wikipedia
And from TheArtNewspaper, Jeff Koons and Centre Pompidou lose appeal in Naf Naf copyright case—now other French museums could be in the firing line, 'The US artist Jeff Koons and the Centre Pompidou in Paris have lost an appeals case against the photographer Franck Davidovici, who first accused Koons in 2014 of plagiarising his well-known 1985 advertising campaign for the French fashion brand Naf Naf.
According to Emmanuel Beaud, the Paris-based lawyer who represents Koons, the decision could have far-reaching implications for other French museums who will now have a tough time deciding what appropriation art can and cannot be shown. Beaud told ArtNews: “We are disappointed because the French [court] did not apply the fair use principle,” adding: “French museums are going to be in a difficult position now.”
The Centre Pompidou included the work in question by Koons, a porcelain sculpture titled Fait d’Hiver (1989), in an exhibition in 2014. It was later removed by the Prada Foundation, which purchased the work for around $4.3m at Christie’s New York in 2007. The sculpture can no longer be shown in France.'
A warning on the linked images, they have not been censored, so do not click if you might be offended.
Koons has previous here, as the Guardian reported in 2017, Jeff Koons plagiarised French photographer for Naked sculpture,'The American artist Jeff Koons plagiarised a French photographer for one of his celebrated sculptures, Naked, a French court has ruled.
The judges decided the work, a porcelain sculpture of two naked children produced in 1988, had been copied from a 1975 postcard picture taken by photographer Jean-François Bauret called Enfants.'
One of the first things I wrote on this site and on this course (as a whole) on 18th June 2018 was a list of my ambitions from it. They were modest: 1. a better technique and 2. to understand Subject and Object. A month later I added a 3rd, to establish a workflow.
I haven't really touched the page since. My technique has improved, I'm sure of that, not a great deal but to a satisfactory degree with more to come. I have established a workflow that is more effective and efficient and still improving, last formally defined during EyV Asg.5 and gradually refined since.
But the matter of subject and object remains untouched, despite the fact that I still think about it and usually check the indices of new books for any helpful suggestions, so far without success.
The reason we are here today is a last page article in the Winter 20-21 issue of the Contemporary Photography group of the RPS by Adrian Hough that is right on the money.
Photographers often speak about the subject of their photographs and the subject of other people's photographs. However, the stuff that we photograph is, according to grammar, not actually a subject at all. If I perform an action on something then I am the subject and the thing is an object. So when I photograph something, it is really the object of my photography and not the subject. That's why the lens furthest away from the eye in an optical instrument is termed the objective lens. Adrian Hough, Contemporary Photography, no. 82 p. 38
He goes on the draw the familiar distinction between photographs of and photographs about but fails to reach the clear conclusion that the 'of' category tend towards the objective end of the spectrum, with 'about' photographs at the subjective end and some way the subject/object distinction has come to be applied to the photographer who interprets the [insert new word here] in their way.
Under the various pejorative forms of gaze it is possible for the photographer to subject his [insert] to objectification so those words are of no further use.
As regards our new [insert] word or phrase, one thing we know for sure is that it will not be Weston and Szarkowski's the thing itself † because that was all about photographs of and we are now engaged in photographs about.
While this matter is being considered, we could use the word 'input' and consider the parallels to non-visual data processing where a program (or app or photographer) acquires data (chooses the input - I nearly said subject) and then processes it to produce output. It is said that computers are soulless and objective, but programs are (until recently) written by humans at the direction of other humans so there is a lot of subjectivity involved, even if this mostly comes down to limiting the capabilities of the process (a banking system will not tell you your weight or your horoscope). I'm drifting way off topic here, but my destination was to be that the old art vs. photography debate (long since decided by the venal acquisitiveness of dealers and galleries) used to rest on the passionate, subjective painter and the photographer using the mechanistic, objective camera: but photography in all its technological phases has always been about the subjective choices of the photographer and the subjective interpretations of the viewers.
To be continued.
[28Feb] I have noticed an existing blog quote from Sep '20', from Here's Me! or The Subject in The Picture in Thirteen essays on photography (1990) p.4.
The transformation by photography is the metamorphosis of a subject into an object Robert Graham in Here's Me! or The Subject in The Picture, 1990
He goes on to examine how the subject might reclaim or roll back the process of objectification through various types of discourse between the photographer and the photographee.
† As noted in the C&N blog, Weston wrote that,
The camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh. Edward Weston
I do not yet have a citation for that. Szarkowski used the phrase in The photographer's eye as one of the five aspects of photographs, the others being the detail, the frame, time and vantage point. To be fair to Szarkowski, he did write that a photograph is not reality but it "evokes the tangible presence of reality … a simpler, more permanent, more clearly visible version of the plain fact" (p. 12). And, as noted in C&N Part 2, it is well worth reading Hurn & Jay's on being a photographer (2001, 3rd edn., pp. 32-3) on the matter. I could quote at length but let us just note, 'most photographers would do the world a favour by diminishing, not augmenting, the role of self and, as much as possible, emphasizing subject alone'.
[18Apr] A new revelation in Part 5:
Again I am clearly parking my tank on the photography of lawn but I had an insight this morning: while an individual photograph of a piece of litter, a grave ornament, a building or a sculpture may be (and usually is) a snap of that particular item, a series of photographs of littering events, or buildings of a specific genre becomes a project about a subject.Part 5
We have two birds with one rock here - the of/about dilemma and a piece of the subject/object conundrum — the individual images depict objects, the project concerns a subject.
[30Apr] Barthes, writing about being photographed, comments, "I am neither subject nor object but a subject who feels he is becoming an object" (Camera Lucida s.5 p.10)
This needs a page of its own.
I photographed three folks on Eltham High Street for Exc. 2.1, including Chris the busker. We agreed that I would give him a print and I have been carrying one around in my bag for ages. Chris was in his usual spot yesterday and I had a chance to deliver at last. He was delighted and displayed it on his (modest) PA. I might give him another laminated copy if it's going to be used in that way.
From Campany's On Photographs, while describing Winogrand's Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1957
if a photograph compels, it is usually for its ambiguity David Campany On Photographs, p.42
and earlier, when discussing Stezaker's Pair I, 2001
IT IS IN THE NATURE OF IMAGES, all images, to misbehave and exceed meaning in ways that are anarchic, elusive, enigmatic and ambiguous. This is why images are so often accompanied by words that tame and stabilize them. Essentially, however, they remain wild, and therefore have always been a source of great fascination, and great suspicion. David Campany On Photographs, p.32
Little progress on Part 4 recently because I've been busy submitting Asg.2, for which there was decent feedback, and now writing essays for; photographing Asg.3 current name score 67); and I've even had some ideas for Asg.4 and Asg.5.
And, as regards the effects of the stained glass window, see also 22nd September. It begins to raise the question 'when is a window not a window?'.
A Massachusetts judge has dismissed a woman’s lawsuit claiming that she is the rightful owner of the images of an enslaved father and daughter and not Harvard, the New York Times reports. The judge cites common law that the content of an image cannot be used to claim ownership of that image, regardless of the subject.
In 2019, Tamara Lanier sued Harvard for possession of daguerreotypes claiming that she was descended from those depicted in the images and that the school had profited from the exploitation of the images. The photos, which were taken in 1850, depicted the two enslaved individuals named Renty and Delia stripped to their waist. The photos were part of a project commissioned by Louis Agassiz, a prominent Harvard professor and zoologist, who used them as scientific evidence in a discredited theory that Black people were inferior.
The images remained hidden in the Harvard museum until 1976 and are considered to be the earliest known photographs of American slaves. You can read more about this story here as well as a discussion of the topic further here.
Justice Camille F. Sarrouf of the Middlesex County Superior Court wrote that despite the “horrific circumstances” that the photos were taken in, because the two depicted did not own the images when they were taken, their descendent Lanier did not own them either. PetaPixel
Hartocollis, A. (2021) Judge Rules Images of Enslaved Are Property of Harvard, Not Descendant [online]. petapixel.com. Available from https://petapixel.com/2021/03/15/judge-rules-images-of-enslaved-are-property-of-harvard-not-descendant/ [Accessed 17 March 2021].
There's also a piece on photoethics that's worth a read. Andrew Molitor asserts that the interested parties / stakeholders / areas for consideration are the situation & subject — the uses — and the photograph itself. He concludes that the photographer has duties to the situation and subject which are attended to (or not) through making and the uses but not to the viewer; the viewer has duties too (he alludes to but does not state) in interpreting the image.
This appeared in this morning's L’Œil from a book review by Andy Romanoff of Michael Rababy's California Love – A Visual Mixtape. There's no shortage of arresting images and I have stashed them here because the L’Œil link will disappear tonight.
On his website, Brashear tells how he memorialised disappearing Joshua Trees by making paper from the felled beauties (with permission) and applying the images through 'a lift transfer process'.
That's dedication - If I was 40 years younger, I'd love to do that sort of thing but now I can only admire it.
Petapixel has reported,
A U.S. appeals court has ruled in favor of photographer Lynn Goldsmith in her copyright dispute over how Andy Warhol had used her portrait photo of Prince.
The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Prince Series of artwork created by Warhol is not transformative, and therefore it violates Goldsmith’s copyright. The appeals court returned the case to a lower court for further action.
2nd Circuit Judge Gerard E. Lynch notes that “crucially, the Prince Series retains the essential elements of the Goldsmith Photograph without significantly adding to or altering those elements.” … The court used the four statutory fair-use factors set forth in 17 U.S.C. § 107 to come to its decision:
1. The Prince Series was transformative as Goldsmith’s photo shows Prince “not a comfortable person,” the Prince Series shows the singer as an “iconic, larger-than-life figure.”
2. The court accepted that the Goldsmith photo was creative and unpublished, which is in her favor. However, this was “of limited importance because the Prince Series works are transformative works.”
3. In creating the Prince Series, Warhol “removed nearly all [of] the [Goldsmith] [P]hotograph’s protectable elements.”
4. The Prince Series works “are not market substitutes that have harmed – or have the potential to harm – Goldsmith.” …
You can read the full ruling for yourself here. Phil Mistry, Petapixel, 30 March 2021
Mistry, P. (2021) Photographer Wins Copyright Battle Over Warhol’s Use of Her Photo [online]. petapixel.com. Available from https://petapixel.com/2021/03/29/photographer-wins-copyright-battle-over-warhols-use-of-her-photo/ [Accessed 30 March 2021].
A pretty daytime moon from a few days ago.
Paul Hill has a habit (so he says) of beginning his courses by showing a picture of a beverage mug and asking his students, "what is this?"
The correct answer, rarely given, is "a photograph of a mug", most definitely not "it is a mug". This leads nicely into pretty much any discussion of photography you might care to have. It all derives, of course, from Magritte's Ceci n'est pas une pipe (1929) that is printed large on page 92 of the I&P course book (see right) and the agenda usually then moves to Duchamp's 1917 Fountain (Urinal) which challenged the hallowed concept of the fine arts and eventually (when combined with the venal acquisitiveness of galleries and dealers) led to the inclusion of photography in that pantheon.
But that is not why we are here today. The cmat quotes Magritte as saying
The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it's just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture "This is a pipe", I'd have been lying! Magritte, quoted in I&P p.92.
A photograph is flat, two-dimensional — in Stephen Shore's terms, 'an illusion of a window on to the world' (2010 p.10) You couldn't put anything in that pipe and smoke it because it is not a pipe, any more than you could drink tea from Hill's photograph of a mug.
The logic seems incontrovertible but when Paul Hill made that point on an online course I attended last month, the thought stayed with me and I knew that it was not that simple.
Today Berggren's Embalmed Time (2020) arrived and, when directed to the bibliography noticed a citation for an essay by Sarah Parsons, Sontag's Lament (freely available online). Parsons discusses Sontag's first encounter, age 12, with photographs of concentration camps and the profound effect that it had, described in On Photography (1977, p.20). This experience seemed to configure Sontag's largely adverse (or, perhaps, wary) reaction to photographs for the rest of her life. Parsons goes on to consider an earlier passage from On Photography where Sontag describes how certain photographs "can abet desire in the most direct, utilitarian way—as when someone collects photographs of anonymous examples of the desirable as an aid to masturbation" (p.16).
And that crystallised my thoughts on Magritte's Pipe and Hill's Mug. While paintings and photographs of those utilitarian objects have no practical purpose (other than potential aesthetic or intellectual stimulation), the fact that images of that which one finds sexually arousing can result in actual sexual arousal, and may therefore be collected for that specific purpose, then some of the ’reality’ of the original object must be vested in the photograph through some alchemy of the brain. You can’t smoke Magritte's Pipe and a smoker probably would not gain any direct satisfaction from looking at images of tobacco-based products, but a photograph of a naked [insert your preference here] can result in a physical reaction.
Crucially, in the case of pornography, it cannot simply be a matter of images triggering memories because a significant consumption of that product is by users who have no actual experience of sex. This leads to a wider point of the suspension of disbelief †. In the theatre of the cinema (and, to a lesser extent with television) my attention can be entirely absorbed by the spectacle on stage or screen, with the 'spell' occasionally broken by an external extraction. Something similar can happen with a photograph , particularly when one's punctum has been engaged.
There is more to a photograph than a 2D representation of a 3D original ([28Apr] Barthes wrote "the referent adheres", Camera Lucida, s.2 p.6) and that, I suspect, is because our brains are continually processing visual stimuli into aggregations and configurations of agreed concepts, heavily based on prior experience. A photograph can be accepted as a valid input datastream: if a dream or a daydream is (in some ways) 'real' then why not a photograph?
† Holland, writing in Scientific American (2014) noted that,
Although we know a fair amount about the brain activity linked with reading, no one has isolated the mechanisms tied specifically to suspension of disbelief. Yet we can extrapolate how the brain behaves on a more general level.
Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined the term “suspension of disbelief” in 1817, but almost two centuries would lapse before we could infer how the brain might support this puzzling phenomenon. Coleridge asked readers of his fantastical poems, including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, to give him “that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.” That phrase, “poetic faith,” encapsulates what our brain is doing. It isn't that we stop disbelieving—it's that we believe two inconsistent things. We accept that we are sitting and reading or watching a movie. We also believe or, more accurately, feel that what we are reading or viewing is happening. Norman N. Holland, Scientific American, 2014
Berggren, U. (2020) Embalmed Time: Photography in the Post Photographic Era. Location: Books On Demand.
Boothroyd, S. and Roberts, K. (2019) Identity and place. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts. [I&P]
Hill, P. (2021) Thinking Photographically Part Two, 5 March, The Royal Photographic Society, unpublished.
Holland, NN (2014) What Brain Activity Can Explain Suspension of Disbelief? [online]. scientificamerican.com. Available from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-brain-activity-can-explain-sus/ [Accessed 5 April 2021].
Parsons, S. (2009) Sontag's Lament: Emotion, Ethics, and Photography, Photography and Culture, 2:3, 289-302, DOI: 10.2752/175145109X12532077132356
Shore, S. (2007) The nature of photographs. 2nd ed. London: Phaidon Press.
Sontag, S. (1977) On Photography. New York: Anchor Books.
author, (year) Title. Location: Publisher.
Regular readers will recall that urinals were one of the subjects I ran with for C&N Asg.2. Though I failed to find a quorum of interesting examples to populate an assignment, but this example in Wetherspoon, Bromley made it through to Forbidden Zones and it remains one of my favourite images from the course so far.
Writing a reflection piece towards the end of Part 5, Project 1, I had a thought that addresses matters of both subject/object and photographs of/about —
while an individual photograph of a piece of litter, a grave ornament, a building or a sculpture may be (and usually is) a snap of that particular item, a series of photographs of littering events, or buildings of a specific genre becomes a project about a subject. We have two birds with one rock here- the of/about dilemma and a piece of the subject/object conundrum — the individual images depict objects, the project concerns a subject. Part 5
I reached the notional target of 100 images for Asg.3 today. That's 100 in which I know the names of the dogs, nearly 150 images overall and just over 50 that I regard as worth considering for submission.
Submission is due on 16th May
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I have been thinking about this, prompted by James Elkins'What photography is, 2011.
I pronounce on the matter here. It is work in progress, but I wrote this today,
I perceive the punctum as a vestigial organ or gland in the cortex, conceptually similar to the appendix or a tonsil. It is occasionally twanged by an experience that might be visual, aural, physical or of some other sensory nature. It resonates in response to the current stimulus and memory of past experiences.
Barthes named it in the context of his reactions to a photograph of his late mother: Proust had a comparable reaction to certain biscuits; in Waugh's Sebastian it is embodied by teddy bear.
The punctum probably also operates in response to first experiences that will become personally resonant, such as the visceral realisation of the importance of Beethoven (or Bowie, or gamelan, or whatever music possesses you). It might be where love and faith reside.
It is, amongst other things where the sum of our important experiences live; it is what determines individual reactions to particular photographs; and it is why, as Sue Sontag wrote, "photographs do not seem strongly bound by the intention of the photographer". Punctum
I have avoided reading Camera Lucida until now, but I feel that I am ready. I write about it here.
I started photographing Asg.3 on 20th December
On 3rd January I decided that I would photograph 100 named subjects
At some point I said that I would make that 100 decent (or whatever the right word should be) images.
I reached the initial 100 milestone on 24th April
I intended at the time to carry on to my secondary goal. On 26th I went shopping as usual, camera at the ready to invite dogwalkers to participate. I asked the only one I encountered and she unexpectedly declined. Today (28th) I decided to stop.
The assignment is due on 16th May and so I have a couple of weeks to select, reprocess and write it up.
I zoomed a local RPS meeting last night because the main speaker was Graham Land ARPS MA describing his MAPhot, distance learning at Falmouth. It was interesting. £10k, 2 years. I might, if I am still around, and I can get a student loan (denied to me for BAPhot).
I am opening the book on Asg.4 today. My initial plan is to go with uniform typology and old I-Spy books with a backup of Eltham Palace and the Stephen Lawrence memorial.
I passed two good asg3 dog prospects today but managed to stop myself. I might have kicked the habit.
And I found my first ash tray for Exc 5.1.
Two from the great A.D. Coleman's Critical Focus (1995). First, from an essay, Letter from New York, No. 24, a review of a Sophie Calle show,
Postmodemism's hostility to and fear of the faculty of sight is a matter of public record. "The gaze," a purportedly ancient, secret technique of dominaton hitherto practiced only by men, has been widely identified and demonized as a modern version of the "evil eye". The literature abounds with snide referenced to "scopophilia," a pejorative neologism that translates as "the love of looking; in this construct, the very act of seeing stands frequently accused of inherent, pathological voyeurism, with photography as its most pernicious instrument.
So far as I'm aware, no one professing these convictions has had the to courage follow the pertinent Biblical injunction, "If thine eye offend thee, cast it out." But small wonder that the art around which this theory circles offers so little that rewards visual attention; in a climate of such hysterical revulsion at optical experience, who would want to be caught giving or receiving pleasure via the retina? A.D. Coleman Critical Focus, 1995 p.97
Then, from Letter from New York, No. 10, which includes a review of a show at the Whitney, Image World: Art and Media Culture,
As Marcel Proust once said, "A work of art that parades its connection to some theory is like a garment whose price tag is still attached." A.D. Coleman Critical Focus, 1995 p.54
I have finished Asg.3. Submission is due on 16th. I'll send it on 15th.
I have noted the March 2021 assessment results here.
Asg.3 is in. But we are here for an image made last night at around 11.30 of the view from my desk. It demonstrates how dark it doesn't get in London.
Exposure was f5.6, 1/7th sec at ISO 12,800, in modified monochrome (Ritchie Roesch's Ilford Delta Push-Process).
From on Landscape and Meaning (2021)
When I was first shooting with the view camera, about two pictures out of every hundred were good After twenty five years of using the 8-by-10, my percentage hasn't improved much. It turns out, making a great photograph is elusive.
With digital, the odds are even lower because one shoots a lot more; there are many more rejects or duplicates. It's still the same principle though. Since photog-raphers are forever reliant on the world to provide the right content, the right light, the right circumstances for a good picture to happen, they need to be on their game to realize a great picture. Ultimately, it is perhaps that challenge-the difficulty in making a great picture-that makes the medium so compelling.
At one point I looked through nearly three thousand of Garry Winogrand's black-and-white contact sheets at the Center for Creative Photography in Arizona for a show I was curating. I'd see key images of his come up on the contacts, but I was surprised at how many near misses and not-so-near misses, or even ju5f bad pictures, there were. So even for one of the greats in the history of photog· raphy, there is a huge percentage of misses for every hit.
Obviously, you've got to be inspired by something to click the shutter, but that doesn't make the picture. I'm aware that ultimately my percentages won't be that good, but I'm also aware that making a number of pictures to get a good one is part of the process. You've got to work the scene with hopes of getting that just-right balance when everything comes together. You have to go in with the confidence that every picture is potentially your next great shot. After all these years, I know that if I just keep working-and/ love the process-something will happen. There is a huge amount of luck involved, but you can take advantage Richard Misrach in on Landscape and Meaning, 2021, p.50
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I am working through Part 5, Project, 5.2 Places and spaces, including Stephen Shore's usually people-free images and the parallels with Eggleston's similarly people-free images and how that simplifies the subject and the range of viewers' interpretations. I conclude, on Shore,
In my view, by not depicting people, Shore has given a more impressionistic view of the society he was describing — if a person is in the picture, viewers will tend to concentrate on and interpret the person, in all likelihood superficially. Without that, the viewer's interpretation will be deeper and broader. Although the images may first appear to be mundane, their effect is subtly profound. Part 5-2
I am also reading Barthes, coming to terms with Lucida, and reading around the subject. James Elkins has written his response to Barthes, What Photography Is (2011), in which he gradually discards various types and genres of the craft — photographs that include people are an early casualty because they are a distraction.
And then at 5 a.m on Monday morning, as I sometimes do, I caught an episode of Radio 4 Extra's Poetry Extra in which the saintly Daljit Nagra played a programme about the work of William Carlos Williams (1883–1963), about which I had known precisely nothing. The simplicity of WCW's poems was contrasted with the impenetrability of contemporaries like Pound and I immediately thought of the contrast between the approaches of Shore and Eggleston, compared to any number of practitioners who's imagery lacks simplicity and approachability.
The clear parallel between Williams’ Red Wheelbarrow (1923) and Eggleston’s Memphis trike (c. 1969), both in a background miasma of obscurantist pretension (see Coplans) prompts a quest for other reads across, both to poetry and other media.
There will be more to say on such matters in due course.
I have finished the course material. What's left is exercises and assignments and reassembly for assessment. I'll make a list soon.
I'm having a thought. There are some August 2020 jottings too.
1. The purpose of a photograph (any photograph) is to show something by representation.
2. It follows that the purpose of photography is to provide a medium for that to take place [i].
3. The showing is done by means of a usually flat, normally rectilinear [ii] representation, previously on paper, now more often on a screen.
4. What is shown might be animate or inanimate, tangible or intangible [iii]. It might include an intentional demonstration of the skills of the image maker.
5. There are usually at least two parties involved, commonly the maker of the image and the viewer [iv].
6. The viewers' reactions to a photograph are another matter. As laGrange (2005) paraphrased Sue Sontag (1973) †,
photographs do not seem strongly bound by the intention of the photographer Sontag, On Photography, quoted in La Grange (2005) p.37
7. Viewers' interpretations will be influenced by their own experiences, attitudes and moods and in each case will be on a spectrum from the indifferent (Barthes, 1980, p.16) to the visceral. Barthes coined the terms punctum for the visceral and studium for some mid-point on the spectrum defined by Batchen (2011, p.12) as "polite interest" [v].
i. Photography, in its wider sense, then, will comprise then image-making technology, post-processing, publication (Barthes' channel of transmission) and the various marketplaces.
ii. Since the late C19th, negatives and nowadays sensors have been rectilinear. Non-rectilinear positives (or their digital equivalent) are a rarity.
iii. That is from the August 2020 jottings.
iv. Some people make images for their own use — there are squalid examples of this and many innocent ones too. There might be a third or fourth party involved, for example a professional portrait given to other family members, an employer requiring photo-id for employees.
v. Batchen quotes Barthes, "To recognise the studium is inevitably to encounter the photographer's intentions".
Barthes, R. (1980) Camera Lucida. London: Random House.
Batchen, G. (2011) Photography Degree Zero. MIT Press: Cambridge MA.
Elkins, J. (2011) What photography is. NY: Rotledge.
La Grange, A. (2005) Basic critical theory for photographers. Burlington, MA: Focal Press.
Sontag, S. (1973) On photography. NY: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.
exc 2.2 - 5 portraits without their knowledge
Asg 4 - 7-10 images exploring identity and incorporating text
exc 5.1 - still lifes, no people but signifiers of their presence - I like ash trays
exc 5.2 - (after Perec) describe a place in detail, interpret it photographically
exc 5.3 - choose a regular journey. Photograph it.
Asg 5 - 15 snaps - explore one of the course themes. E5.2 sounds interesting: can we turn this around and explore different views of the same place (different angles, diffenrt times, different weather). That statue near the National Theatre? Somewhere closer?
Then recycle for Assessment.
Update the Wordpress version.
Publish the zine.
Prepare for Landscape, Place & Environment.
I notice I already have a page for this - I'll pick it up there.
There are 2 notable proposals in this document,
"Replace current assessment with 3 new criteria of Knowledge, Understanding and Application. Ensure existing Learning Outcomes are clearly mapped to the new assessment criteria." and
"All reference material will be relocated to OCAlearn resources and will be wholly digital".
I responded to the survey, "I am entirely in favour of trying again with these definitions because both the previous assessment criteria and the current learning outcomes are ill-defined, manifest overlaps and confuse many of the students I have contact with, and confuse me particularly … I strongly oppose [the second] suggestion. It should be online, of course, but the printed course material is a vital learning aid."
I think I'll be an early adopter of the new criteria in my reflections.
Some progress on exc 5.1 ash trays. They are not the most exciting objects but they fit the bill and this one can run and run.
I prefer blurred people in urban landscapes and Titarenko is a fine exponent of the craft. From today's L’Œil de la Photographie.
The supporting text states,
State Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSPHOTO present the City of Shadows. Alexey Titarenko exhibition project. The exhibition is the first retrospective of the photographer’s works in St. Petersburg, marking a symbolic return of the artist’s works to the city.
Alexey Titarenko is one of the most renowned representatives of Russian and St. Petersburg photography of the end of 20th and beginning of 21st centuries. The exhibition includes 61 photographs, executed in the unique technique of silver gelatine hand printing, inviting the audience to trace the creative journey of the artist, starting with his most popular series, made in St. Petersburg: City of Shadows (1992–1994), Black and White Magic of St. Petersburg (1995–1997), Frozen Time (1998–2000), and also series dedicated to other cities: Venice (2001–2014), Havana (2003, 2006), New York (2004–2018).
Alexey Titarenko was born in 1962 and began practicing photography in 1970. After graduating from the Department of Photojournalism of the People’s Public Service Professions University, he participated in exhibitions of the Zerkalo photo club between 1978 and 1989. In 1983, he completed a degree with distinction in Film and Photography at the Saint Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts. Since the late 80’s, he began working on personal projects, reflecting the artist’s attitude to the fast pace of life, drawing on memories of the “emotional and spiritual atmosphere” of the dramatic time of 1980–1990s. The first such project, portraying the photographer’s impressions of the totalitarian era, became the series Nomenklatura of Signs, first exhibited in 1993 at the State Russian Museum. L’Œil de la Photographie
An article comment in the Times today quoted Aneurin Bevan, who "accused Harold MacMillan of having 'a absolute genius for tying flamboyant labels to empty luggage " when describing proposed legislation'".
That reads across to the Coplans quote mentioned on these pages during C&N,
No other art form rivals photography’s capability to be meaningless, to topple into a void. As a hedge against vacuity, ambitious photographers cloak themselves in a knowledge of art. Coplans essay, Weegee the Famous, in Provocations (1966) pp.205-212
In reviewing Padley's book, I wrote of the List image, "Nothing need be said about the metaphorical implications of constraint and freedom and tides implicit in List’s juxtaposition of a fish in a bowl of water and the open body of water in the background."
and of Mili, "Mili’s image works as an expression of the artist’s talent and a subversion of the instantineity that is at once a virtue and failing of the medium."
I have little to say of the Cave book. It is, perhaps, the most trivial body of work I have encountered for some time and not worth the effort of organising it into a book. The blurb on L’Œil stated,
In January 2018, near my home in Brighton, I found a red woollen child’s glove hanging over a sign that said ‘Church Place’. I took a photograph of it with a Polaroid app on my iPhone. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but later that night as I was reviewing my day’s photographs, I felt its melancholy pulse and was pleased with it. The next day I passed a tan leather glove that had been placed on a railing in my street, and once again photographed it. These images began an impulse to photograph every lost glove I came upon.
It is remarkable how many lost gloves there are once they make themselves known. They are everywhere and all around… lost gloves longing for their partners. These single gloves are mostly seasonal and are the melancholy reminders of those who are displaced or missing or disconnected, little jolts of grief on my winter walks.
I am happy when the sun starts shining and the lost gloves start to disappear, yet they always return; the first of the season declares itself on a footpath, in a puddle or on a railing, and then the rest follow, in their multitudes. I have rescued them all but here are one hundred of the best, the most lost, the most mislaid and the most forgotten, a small melancholy meditation. Nick Cave on L’Œil de la Photographie
author (year) title [online]. website. Available from url [Accessed nn January 2021].
author, init (year) Title. Location: Publisher.
[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
Dawoud Bey - shooting
Erwin Blumenfeld - photography is easy (or is it?).
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
Peter Galassi - Photography is a bastard
Paul Graham - orthodoxy
Robert Graham subject → object
Bill Jay - photography's destination
Matisse - objects and surroundings
Richard Misrach - large format cameras
me - why photograph?
Steven Pippin - inverse sophistication
Sontag - intention, loosely bound
Sontag - mortality, vulnerability, mutability
Alec Soth - still photography is incompatible with the narrative sequence.
Tom Stoppard - recognising quality
Evelyn Waugh - first or a fourth
Edward Weston - the thing itself
Oscar Wilde - on masks
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