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Author Topic: Pretensions in photography  (Read 2385 times)

Rob C

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Pretensions in photography
« on: February 01, 2018, 06:10:37 AM »

It sometimes seems to me that photography has been hi-jacked, that both the professional practitioner, as the amateur, have been thrust into a world where a photograph isn't any longer just a photograph, a pretty (or otherwise) picture, but a portent, a harbinger of things to come, a poisoned dart dashing at speed to the bubble of self.

Why can't images simply be the way each person manages to do what he/she is trying to do? Why is it a required factor in the summation of an oeuvre that it be cut up, diagnosed by witch doctors and consequently consigned to a particular basket or drawer, never again free to be simply what it was as that button was pressed?

Thinking about this was started again, today, by the e-mail I received from a publisher punting a new book. I enclose a link to the item that caused me to write this note.

https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/661

One of the problems with this sort of written material is that it is infectious; it normalises its approach and many of us suddenly pause and realise that we, too, have been caught up in the game.

Sometimes I wonder whether it is an industry born but to perpetuate itself, or a true service to mankind. Jeanloup Sieff had his firm views on the matter, able to mock whilst managing both to enjoy and to use the benefits that the system could bestow once one was an accredited member deemed worthy of its attention.

Rob

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2018, 08:41:04 AM »

That's exactly why I stopped subscribing to Aperture after many years.

Eric
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tom b

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2018, 09:00:39 AM »

Rob, I enjoy your high moral ground, but where does calendar photography fit in?

Something to think about,
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Tom Brown

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2018, 09:55:30 AM »

That's exactly why I stopped subscribing to Aperture after many years.

Eric

Interesting, Eric. I did the same thing. I also did it with Poetry magazine after many years of subscribing. I think both publications were hit with delusions of grandeur. At least they were hit with idiocy.

Rob C

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2018, 11:03:40 AM »

Rob, I enjoy your high moral ground, but where does calendar photography fit in?

Something to think about,


It fits in a section of the commercial field.

There is no moral high ground, only care with style. It's purely commercial and has nothing to do with art-speak which is what my beef here is about: the fact that when the curatorial world gets its paws onto something it changes it and hides what it is under loads of pretentious guff. I buy the odd monograph now and again, and some do the compulsory intros quite well, whereas others trowel it on so thickly one has to skip and move on to the pix, returning later when the mind is reinforced and read to cope with it all.

It is, of course, but a mirror of the typical artist's statement that, often, has the grace to be silly enough to allow one a little giggle.

:-)

Rob C

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2018, 11:12:13 AM »

Eric, Russ -

I think we feel much the same because we've been around the block often enough to have seen pretty much all that there is to be seen. Familiarity doesn't necessarily breed contempt, but it does sow the seeds of a tiny bit of that magical sense of proportion we need to get us safely through life.  I think this might be illustrated to a degree by the fact that where we have a favourite movie star or musician, much of the emotion derives from days of impressionable youth, whereas later "stars" can't make us odopt the rosy tinteds quite as shamelessly.

Rob

Tony Ovens

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 01:44:23 PM »

Interesting juxtaposition of the second listed merchandise (left hand list) from the supplier of the book discussed above!
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Rob C

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2018, 02:44:17 PM »

Interesting juxtaposition of the second listed merchandise (left hand list) from the supplier of the book discussed above!


Indeed, but they are referring to a publication that is supposed to be uber arty!

However, it may really amount to nothing more than a stiff, uncomfortable version of the generally understood occupant of that tile.

:-)

Rob

Telecaster

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2018, 04:22:17 PM »

Categorizing is something humans do by default. It's a fundamental part of how we make sense of the world. (It's also a way of keeping all the stuff we'd rather not deal with at arm's length.) We put stuff in boxes, literally and otherwise. We put each other in boxes, literally and otherwise. No surprise IMO that we do the same with photographs and photographers.

Categorizing is also a short-term phenomenon. The categories we create will mostly disappear along with us, to be replaced with new ones created by new people. So no need to fuss over it much, I think.

-Dave-
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Two23

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2018, 09:31:57 PM »


It fits in a section of the commercial field.

There is no moral high ground, only care with style. It's purely commercial and has nothing to do with art-speak which is what my beef here is about: the fact that when the curatorial world gets its paws onto something it changes it and hides what it is under loads of pretentious guff.


I am reminded of a prank I once read about.  A group of "expert" wine tasters were brought together and asked to give their knowledgeable impressions of some medium quality table wines.  The joke was the hosts had slipped in a few bottles of some infamous "bum wines" into the mix.   ;D  The "experts" dutifully recorded their impressions of these as "Fruity, with a hint of ancient oak"  etc.   I was left with the impression that the whole California wine tasting culture was a bit of a willing hoax.


Kent in SD
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2018, 12:06:47 AM »

... Why can't images simply be the way each person manages to do what he/she is trying to do? Why is it a required factor in the summation of an oeuvre that it be cut up, diagnosed by witch doctors and consequently consigned to a particular basket or drawer, never again free to be simply what it was as that button was pressed?..l

If a picture is worth a thousand words, someone has to put those words on paper, no?  ;)

Arturo

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2018, 01:50:50 AM »


If a picture is worth a thousand words, someone has to put those words on paper, no?  ;)

Only if you need to justify an MFA degree, Slobodan.  ;)
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Rob C

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2018, 09:03:30 AM »

If a picture is worth a thousand words, someone has to put those words on paper, no?  ;)


Those damned apples and oranges get everywhere!

:-)

Tony Ovens

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2018, 06:31:43 AM »

Another baffling (baffling for me that is) work from the world of photo art:

http://www.lafabrica.com/en/noticias_en/aruna-canevascini-wins-the-2017-bookk-dummy-awardwith-her-work-villa-argentina/

Tony :-\
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Rob C

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2018, 06:46:38 AM »

Another baffling (baffling for me that is) work from the world of photo art:

http://www.lafabrica.com/en/noticias_en/aruna-canevascini-wins-the-2017-bookk-dummy-awardwith-her-work-villa-argentina/

Tony :-\


Tony, it's another manifestation of the crap that surrounds the world of "art" photography. How much more simple and probably honest the world of commerce, where if your work sucked you were out in the street on your ass.

In my mind, it really doesn't matter what these curators are presented with because their employment is writing and pushing whatever it is that they are handed. It could be a heap of dung or a work by Richard Avedon or Sarah Moon, and it would make no difference: the verbiage would be in the same key. They do what they are paid to do. For decades I subscribed to the BJP, guilty party in all of this, and towards the end of the time I bought the magazine they had a feature every week with photographs, mainly from students, that for all the world were made during the process of winding on your film to No1.

These zones are best avoided in order to prevent indigestion.

Rob

RSL

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2018, 07:11:55 AM »

Not long ago a heap of dung was an important part of a museum "installation" put forward as art. Then there was "Piss Christ." When you're successfully putting excrement forward as art you're definitely a "curator."
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 08:59:17 AM by RSL »
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Rob C

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2018, 09:29:08 AM »

Not long ago a heap of dung was an important part of a museum "installation" put forward as art. Then there was "Piss Christ." When you're successfully putting excrement forward as art you're definitely a "curator."

Yes, I think it was elephant dung, which at least lends it a touch of the exotic; in extremis, it can be dried and used as fuel.

Then there was the infamous pile of bricks a few years prior to that. But hey, at least the bricks could be used as part of the foundations of a new museum somewhere, so in a sense, enabling a kind of perpetuation of the status quo. Creative thinking.

Rob

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2018, 09:42:48 AM »

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2018, 09:45:40 AM »

There's more than one way to read the word "Dummy" in the phrase "Book Dummy Award."   ;)
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Rob C

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Re: Pretensions in photography
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2018, 11:35:40 AM »

Before you continue making fun of elephant dung ;)

https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Ellie-Pooh-Elephant-313-855301003546/dp/B0055QYK00

So, an elephant is about 140k, plus ou moins, full of retentive shit very day? Seems perfect mining material for galleristas, then. Amazing how there are now "facts" and figures for pretty much everything. I wonder who sits looking out of the window, dreaming up these "must do" calibration situations for themself.

Rob
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