Is Appropriation Appropriate?
Read Geoff Dyer’s article on photographers using Google Street View by searching “ How Google Street View is inspiring new photography ” on The Guardian Website. You can also read blog posts on the weareoca website by searching: “ Appropriation: photography into tapestry ” and “ Who’s Afraid of Appropriation? ”
Have a look at the artists mentioned who appropriate images taken by other people and write around 300 words describing your response to artists and photographers working in this way.
Whether or not you feel appropriation is something you might work with at some point, the mapping resources available for free on the internet are an invaluable practical tool for planning landscape shoots of any kind.
If you haven’t yet done so, read ahead to the brief for Assignment Two. Write down your preliminary thoughts and ideas for how you might approach this assignment. Use Google Maps and/or any other mapping system and print off, photocopy or save some maps of the journey you’re thinking about documenting for this assignment. Use the map(s) to help identify any details or aspects of the place or route that might (or might not) be of interest. LP&E, p.83
[13Jan22] The first part, Dyer and two OCA links, is covered on the main page.
To start with a personal anecdote, in C&N Exercise 2.3, illustrating a poem, I wanted to photograph a flower in a gun barrel (a reference to Marc Riboud, to illustrate Henry Reed's Lessons of War: Naming of Parts) and visited the Imperial War Museum with a daffodil. All their barrels - from the smallest to the massive naval ordnance, too large to fit inside - are sealed. I decided to fake the image with a flower and gun found online, but I could not bring myself to do so, much to my own surprise.
There must be limits to my self- and intuitively- imposed strictures, because I fully intend to construct an OCA Assignment entirely of screen grabs from World of Warcraft™. It will be interesting to test where these limits lie.
On the wider stage, I have no problem with Richard Prince stealing advertising images from Marlborough, what I do not understand is why anyone would pay $1,248,000 for a copy (Christie's, 2005). Incidentally, Hacking (2018) raises the question of whether the unit of exchange for the photograph (pre-digital, at least) should be the negative rather then the print. It is a very good question, which she ducks, but let's return to that at another time when we will consider where the equivalents lie in digital images and NFTs.
The artists mentioned in the second OCA piece are Andy Warhol, Damian Hirst, Jeff Koons, Sherrie Levine and Glen Brown.
Warhol pretty much invented modern print appropriation (albeit silk screened), took the world unawares and got away with it in his lifetime (until 1987), although post-mortem litigation continues.
Koons suffered a loss last year on a blatant theft of imagination which was, to my mind, a step too far.
My opinion of Hirst's work is so low that I don't regard him as worthy of consideration in this context.
Glen Brown , I was not aware of until now. He is described by his gallery as, "Mining art history and popular culture, [he] eschews categorization, fusing a wide range of time periods and pictorial conventions through reference, appropriation, and precise attention to detail" (Gagosian, 2022). His work is of no relevance to photography.
After Salkeld et al.
Salkeld (2018) discusses Levine's copies and describes her aim as "a critique of the notion of originality in modernism". Perhaps inevitably, he photographs one of Levine's (a Rodchenko) in exhibition and produces his own After Sherrie Levine, 2012. Equally inevitably, I photographed that page of the book to give the world After Salkeld ... After Levine ... After Rodchenko, 2020 (fig. A1)
One aspect of appropriation that is not considered in the course material (perhaps because it had not been thought of at the time). is cultural appropriation. My own view is that the whole notion is absurd, especially when applied to literature, and I was pleased to note during C&N Part 3 the comment by Bernardine Evaristo, the first black female winner of the Booker prize, "that whole idea of cultural appropriation is ridiculous" (Sanderson, 2019).
In conclusion, appropriation has my personal approval when used by others to produce something worthwhile, meaningful or interesting. I am less inclined to use it myself, but I'm sure there will be exceptions