How can photography be thought as a Postmodern medium?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by natalia_gubareva, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. Hello everyone. I'm doing my paper on the following question: "How can
    photography be thought of as a postmodern medium? Your discussion should define
    and discuss various strategies used by 3 photographic artists working post
    1960."

    I did a lot of reading concerning this subject bit still a bit lost how I
    should organize my essay to fully answer this question.

    This is the concise plan of my essay: (Do you think I'm going into right
    direction?)

    1. History of that time. (End of war, end of colonianism, the rise of mass
    media and technology. etc).

    2. At the same time demise of Modernism and rise of Postmodernism.

    3. Photography appered to be a watershed between Modernism and Postmodernism.

    4. In modernism ph was treated as a tool for representation, as a medium to
    document while in postmodernism it became central. (here I plan to write that
    ph. couldn't be central because it contradicted with modernist's idea of art
    practice that should be autonomous, because ph. participated in so many other
    different practices. However, postmodernist artists sterted using ph as a
    medium for making art like Rauschenberg, Warhol did etc.)

    5. It also became postmodern because ph. embraced all the postmodern ideas:
    appropriation, banalty, humour - parody, irony, playfullness, self-reference
    etc.

    I chose to discuss the following three artists like: Cindy Sherman, Diana Arbus
    and Sherry Levine and their strategies.

    What do you think, guys?

    Any more ideas why ph is a postmodern medium?
     
  2. Imo, it can't. Vermeer painted pictures that look an awful lot like photographs to me when I look at them. And even Nicephore developed his famous picture a good long while before postmodernism...whatever your partcular definition of the term. <p> I challenge the accuracy of speaking in absolutes about any label without at least acknowledging it's a label. That goes triply so for postmodernism.
     
  3. This is all about how many angels can dance on the head of pin, which, incidentally, was never a topic of medieval theological discussion but was probably invented out of the whole cloth by Benjamin Disraeli in the 18th century. Much more healthy to get a camera, go out and take picures.
    00IVlj-33068284.JPG
     
  4. As James has alluded, the problem with addressing post-modernism lies in understanding its definition as nearly everyone approaches it from a different angle. Some consider post-modernism in temporal terms as anything contemporary i.e. after modern. Others discuss post-modernism in strictly stylistic terms i.e post-modern aesthetics. Yet others refuse to consider anything post-modern that doesn't reflect a complete departure from traditional values--whatever that is. Sane people of course would rather gnaw their own arm off than fall into the self-referential black hole that is post-modern discourse :)
    I guess what I'm saying is that it could be prudent to define the terms of reference for your examination of post-modern photography. Certainly acknowledge the different definitions in your assignment whether they be philosophical or aesthetic but make it clear that for the purposes of your assignment you will be interpreting post-modernism as... <your definition goes here>. This will help to establish a baseline for qualifying your analysis, interpretations and conclusions.
    Additionally, I think any qualified examination of post-modern photography should not be in isolation and should canvas developments in other fields including philosophy, society and politics. Don't forget that the term post-modernism had been around for some thirty years before the altered realities of Sherman, Witkin, Skoglund and Groover were thrust into the limelight during the 80's.
    I would argue that some of the philosophical tenets of post-modern thought were established some 60 years before that by the cubist poet Pierre Reverdy and echoed in Andre Breton's Surrealist Manifesto:
    "The image is a pure creation of the mind. It cannot be born from a comparison but from a juxtaposition of two more or less distant realities. The more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is distant and true, the stronger the image will be -- the greater its emotional power and poetic reality..." --Pierre Reverdy (Nord-Sud, March 1918)​
    Hope some of this helps.
    Cheers...John.
     
  5. It seems like a lot of ground to cover, but without seeing some writing it is hard to know.
    How about writing a few pages and posting them here?

    1, 2, and 3 on the outline are not necessary and do not sound fun to either write, nor,
    eventually, to read. I would start right in on the three photographers you have chosen and
    show why
    they should be regarded as postmodern. I would stick to one simple question for each of
    the three, such as,
    "How does Diane Arbus use irony to attack prevailing meta-narratives?" or, "How does
    Diane Arbus deconstuct certain symbols through her photographs in order to reveal
    something about our assumptions?" or, "How does Diane Arbus use captions to create a
    sense of skepticism about what might otherwise be taken for granted in her photographs?"
    or, "How does Cindy Sherman's break with stylistic unity help convey her ideas?"

    Is your teacher a postmodernist who does not allow you to state postmodernism might be
    a hoax? Can you argue that there is no such thing as postmodernism? Could you argue
    there is no break with the past, only continuity? (This last paragraph contains real
    questions for you, but is also a stage-whisper to other eventual contributors to this
    thread).
     
  6. >>> probably invented out of the whole cloth by Benjamin Disraeli in the 18th century<<<

    Pretty good trick by Disraeli, considering he was born in 1804.

    --Mitch/Bangkok
     
  7. Thank you a lot for some ideas. I will write a couple of pages and post them in here. As a non-native speaker I found it really difficult to write about this topic.

    Anyway, I kinda of follow the idea expressed by Douglas Crimp in his book "On the Museum's Ruins" and the idea that when artist started using photography as a medium for creating art like Ruschenberg and Warhol did, this is when new artistic approaches (Pop, Minimalism, Conceptualism) appear and this is when that considet to be the end of modernism.
     
  8. "Pretty good trick by Disraeli, considering he was born in 1804." Hehehe, Mitch. I wondered whether any of these 'academics' would spot that.
    00IVne-33068884.jpg
     
  9. I look forward to reading those pages, Ms. Gubareva.
     
  10. Several very thoughtful comments were made. Nicely done:) Here's my more pedestrian take on your questions. Consider my comments in the light of the protest vote:)

    In regard to number three.

    Photography developed parallel to the rest of the arts so it has it's own separate history and to me, isn't a "watershed" product. Postmodern photography is, as was pointed out by Kevin, (my view) a continuum of development as opposed to a change brought about because of outside external forces, even though the outside external forces created the change in the continuum. Life does have dynamics. I drive from point A to point B with no real track in mind as I let traffic decide the route I take. The rush hour traffic is a force in my travels but not the gensis of the need for the trip. Same thing here. Artistic forces are just that a molder but not the genesis of the product. A political coup could be the molding force but not the gensis as the protest might have already been there.

    In the rest of the arts, the change (Modern to Postmodern) was an intellectual protest if you will whereas in the case of photography, it's just an infusing of intellectualism (going back to Stichen's "Milk Bottles," 1915 and Minor White's metaphorical equivalents) into the content of the photographic effort; a photographic intellectual awakening.

    We're now on a cusp in regard to the photographic continuum; I see a blending if you will of the two thinks; Photographic Modernism and Photographic Postmodernism. For me, in order to understand, the term Postmodern and how it applies to photography, "photographic" or "photography" needs to be placed in context to any descriptors such as Modern or Postmodern so as to intentionally separate the genre of photography away from the rest of the arts. If this isn't done, then the what's what of photographic think become lost in the artistic descriptors; Modern Vs Postmodern.

    FWIW, I don't see Cindy Sherman as Postmodern. I see her as one might see a movie director casting themselves as an egocentric subject in a blatantly pedestrian fashion, the making of stills; I don't see avant garde other then a touting the party line which came later. Later still, she did became Photographic Postmodern in her protest series and then it became about her (egocentric) again. But by your above "...self-reference...", she becomes photographically Postmodern. When used as widely as you do in your above, it sweeps up pretty much everybody in contemporary times.

    I see Diane Arbus as the first Postmodern photographer for I see her inserting herself into her subjects and she's looking back at you via her freaks; very avant garde. This, even though I see photographic Postmodern changes in the continuum as far back as Steichen and 291.

    As to Sherry Levine, I see her efforts in the light of the WPA projects; a thoughtful mime recording of what's there; very "modern." How ever you wish to see her efforts, copying of others, that's not mine, as I don't see avant garde in intentionally redoing that which has already been done (Andy Warhol, the first contemporary artistic mime?) and for what ever reasoning, given notoriety.

    "What do you think, guys?"

    In the end, sadly, it all becomes about self-promotion; crass, bill paying commercialism of no import other than the pseudo hype which promotes it all; Hollywood or Disneyland style theme park. But I digress; nuff said:)
     
  11. the idea that when artist started using photography as a medium for creating art like Ruschenberg and Warhol did
    Basing paintings on photos, you mean? I think I read that John Singer Sargent (for example) was doing that at the start of the 20th century.
    PoMo used to be a wonderful marketing slogan. (Maybe it still is, in some quarters.) What, if anything, does it mean? Until you decide that, the question can't be answerable in any intelligible way.
    Natori was a Modern, perhaps; and he had a big and much publicized little row in the pages of Asahi Camera with the then-young Tōmatsu in 1962 or thereabouts, so maybe Tōmatsu is post-Modern; you might want to look into that. Start with this book; it has well-informed and interesting essays.
     
  12. "In the end, sadly, it all becomes about self-promotion" Very well said, Thomas. The reason I'm so dismissive of the whole academic analysis thing lies in those words. All these theses aren't about advancing knowledge, they're about advancing the writer's career. It sometimes seems like the dafter the proposal the more kudos the author collects, which is rather sad really.
    00IVuW-33071884.jpg
     
  13. I don't really see Diane Arbus as being "post modern" . Her critics , yes, but her work, no.
    I'd choose Stephen Shore, Richard Misrach, Mark Klett, and others in the so-called "New
    Topographics " movement over Arbus in your survey.

    So the initial deconstructing question for you to answer is: Why have you included no men
    in your survey?

    Have you should read "On Photography" by Sontag , "Beauty in Photography" by Robert
    Adams, and "Looking at Photographs" by John Szarkowski?

    The premise of #4 is bunk.

    Photography is just an artistic medium like any other. it is no more an exclusively post
    modern medium than painting or sculpture are modern, surrealistic or Romantic
    mediums.

    Some last word of caution: be wary of applying literary theories of criticism and language
    to non literary endeavors. The fit is usually lousy.
     
  14. One other suggestion for a strongly "post modernist" photographer:

    Annie Leibowitz.

    Her work is very strongly post modernist in structural and conceptual ways.
     
  15. correction: the correct spelling is

    Annie Leibovitz
     
  16. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Much more healthy to get a camera, go out and take picures.
    Do you really think that is going to help Natalia write her paper? I don't. If you're not interested in philosophy and only in taking pictures, that's fine. But post on a forum for picture posting, not one on philosophy, no matter how loose the definition may be.
     
  17. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Annie Leibovitz
    Post-modern? I find her unbearably commercial, commercial in a way that her work never gets beyond it, unlike other commercial photographers like Albert Watson, Ellen von Unwerth, even Newton. Her work strikes me primarily as self-promotional in the sense of building the cult of celebrity, which is crass, not post-modern.
     
  18. I'm not sure you've seen a lot of her non-commercial work. And even in reference to the
    commercial and editorial assignments, I think she still is very much a "post modernist"
    photographer in approach -- for many of the reasons you cite.

    There are several
    other editorial/commercial photographers whose work is deeper and richer than
    Leibovitz's ; Gregory Heisler, Mary Ellen Mark, Jodi Cobb, and Dan Winters (he's also a post
    modernist) to name four quickly, and other portrait photographers whose work is more
    challenging and deeper; Thomas Struth and Nicholas Nixon for example, but Leibovitz is a
    very strong interpretive portraitist.

    I think of a lot of the truer nature of her work has been lost in the flood of Annie
    wannabe's and imitators , and a lot o fo the fault for that lies with srt directors who
    encourage photographers to imitate the lighting style of A.L.'s work and aren't interested
    in anything else a photographer might bring in the way of a new vision, or really anything
    else that might challenge anyone to think.
     
  19. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I've seen her non-celebrity work and I can't say that it moves me in any way. I haven't even encountered anyone not into her celebrity work who likes it. I'm not sure why you would put her in with other post-modernists, her non-celebrity work is fairly "arty-farty" in an old-fashioned way and her celebrity work seems mostly about making her a celebrity. While the latter does have some resonance with other post-modernists, it hardly makes her work any more than celebrity portraits.

    If you compare AL's work with that of Richard Prince, the Starn twins, or even Cindy Sherman, you can see a huge difference. AL is a traditionalist, and a not very imaginative one at that. She has mastered celebrity, however, and I give her a lot of credit for that.
     
  20. building the cult of celebrity, which is crass, not post-modern
    I'm very weak on the meaning of "PoMo", but I was laboring under the impression that (a) celebrity (fame for being famous), (b) crassness, and (c) what's trumpeted as "PoMo" were intimately linked.
     
  21. Today the most common used strategy in post modern practices around the world would have to be appropriation /Quoting. Appropriation/ Quoting involves borrowing symbols, styles and forms from any other artist, which they choose. Artists tend to reconfigure or redefine the meanings of the symbols used in order to suit their own needs or raise questions in society.

    Can be considered from this that Robert Mapplethorpe was a post-modernist artist by borrowing Edward Weston?s style?
    I also a bit confused about what postmodern strategy used Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman in their work?
    I?m still deciding which 3 photographers post 60s I should discuss. I can?t choose between Diane Arbus, John Baldessari, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine or Ed Ruscha (it?s kinda confusing because I though he is more painter than a photographer, however our lecturer made a strong emphasis on him making him a postmodern photographer).
     
  22. "however our lecturer made a strong emphasis on him making him a postmodern photographer)" It sounds to me like your lecturer knows little more than you do about the subject. Here it is in a nutshell... In the beginning were cave painters. They also painted outside caves but only if they lived in Australia and so were out of touch with modern techniques. Then came the classical painters. They were the ones in north west Europe, as everyone knows that was the only part of the world which had art. The Modernists were, basically, those painters who lacked the drafting skills of the classical painters (or pretended they did) and who were, in any case, determined to prove that they weren't photographers. The post modernists are those who, realising that all the other tags were taken, invented a new one in order to get more money for their products. See? It's really simple. You can cut and paste the above into your paper and it should get a grade 'A' or whatever other rating stands for "you've out bullsh*ted the bullsh*ter".
    00IWR0-33090584.jpg
     
  23. Natalia,
    Cindy Sherman used her untitled film stills series to have us consider the female role clichés prevalent in female Hollywood movie roles through the vehicle of staged self-presentations. In that sense she reinvents herself as the prototypical starlet. As Andy Grundberg writes about her in his book Crisis of the Real:
    "Appearance is all, she seems to say, yet she also demonstrates how conventionalised and delimited appearances ultimately are" (Grundberg p. 118)
    In that sense her work points to the difficulty perhaps in creating and maintaining meaning in today's image saturated society. For Andy Grundberg then, he see this strategy of undermining the conventions of mass culture as that which "places Sherman's photographs squarely among the postmoderns. (Grundberg p. 121)
     
  24. Here is first couple of pages I wrote. Probably the most dificult writing I've ever done in my whole life :) Thank you a lot.

    The early 1960s was an important time of structural and cultural change in the world. The most significant of these changes were the rise of mass media communication and fast development of technologies. The end of World War 2, the destruction of Europe and its empires, the struggles for independence by its colonies had culminated in a new set of political, cultural and ethic ideas. The success of various social movements had increased the sense of identity by women, gay and lesbians, African Americans, and other previously discriminated groups. The world of art experienced a major alteration, the demise of modernism allowed for the bloom of new complex and ever-shifting ideas that led to an artistic climate of ?unprecedented intellectual ambition? known as postmodernism.

    Keith Davis states that the leading artistic trend of postmodernism was ?a dematerialization of the traditional art object?. Artists started exploring the value of the idea of art and its place in society more than creating art of monitory value. However, the new ideas required new modes of expression and representation and photography has become one of the most important ones. As critic Andy Grunberg writes: ?Conceptual artist sough to rescue art from dominion of precious object, and photographs were considered ideal because they were so little valued ? until Conceptual Art helped them make them valuable?. Artists no longer viewed photography as a secondary instrument used for art?s reproduction and the medium to document. Instead, it has become central amongst contemporary postmodern artistic practices.

    According to Douglas Crimp, photography can be seen as ?a watershed between modernism and postmodernism?. In the modernist sense photography couldn?t be considered an art because it acquires its autonomy and should be an independent form of expression from other disciplines to become a traditional medium. By understanding photography in this way, it can no longer be a tool for documentation, reportage, illustration etc. John Szarkowki attempts to make photography a modernist medium in terms of ?an art form that can distinguish itself in its essential qualities from all other forms? by saying: ?the pictures reproduced in this book [The Photographer?s Eye] have in fact little in common?these pictures are unmistakably photographs. The vision they share belongs to no school or aesthetic theory, but to photography itself?. However, photography is too multiple, too useful to other practices to be an art form within the traditional definition of art. Thus when photography was revaluated as a modernism medium, photography seemed to be one of the causes of the end of modernism due to its subversive nature.

    Photography?s allowance to the museum on par with other traditional mediums, the growth of photography courses in university art departments, and rapid dissemination of a series of new approaches like Pop Art, Conceptual Art, Book Art, Body Art, Performance Art, Earth Art, Photorealism and many others let artists embrace photographic form of expression enthusiastically. The most famous painters in Pop Art era, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Ed Ruscha, were amongst the first who started using photographic images and techniques in their works in the early 1960s. For example, Robert Rauschenberg began incorporating photographic reproductions of the originals to the canvas by means of silkscreen process. In Retroactive I (1964) he uses incompatible pictures of an astronaut, oranges, a portrait of John F. Kennedy and a stroboscopic photograph of Gjon Mili and overlaid them with bright strokes of paint. Like Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol started using photo-silkscreen process to make paintings composed by means of photographs taken from the popular press. His most striking works include the repetitive images of Campbell?s soup cans, the bottles of Coca-Cola, S & H Green Stamps and others. Since that time more and more artists from various disciplines working in the postmodernist era started using photography as their medium.

    Postmodernist artists made a strong emphasis on the nature and the power of representation which made photography the key postmodern medium. According to Walter Benjamin, the mediums of film and photography played a central role in the new cultural experience of media-dominated society characterized by mass production and expansion of images. He pointed out that in the world where everything is duplicated, there is no reality, there is only representation. Posmodernist artists sought to undermine this idea of representation. Since all the images referred to other images, copies of the copies, their favourite artistic strategies were appropriation, simulation, and pastiche. These strategies involve copying of already existing styles, images and symbols from other artists whom they admire to create a unique piece of work. This copying ?highlighted the status of representation as a perpetual re-presentation?.


    Further I plan to write about Sherrie Levine and her appropriation. Then about Cindy Sherman and Diane Arbus.

    thank you a lot for your ideas and help.
     
  25. I take it that English isn't your first language and that you aren't handing in the paper in English. If I'm wrong on either of those counts, I fear you have problems...
    00IWTz-33091884.JPG
     
  26. To H.P What problems? Yes, my first language isn't English but I'm heading my paper in English. For some reasons when I published this text here it made these symbols " and ' look like ?
     
  27. Well, if you added paragraph breaks and some punctuation, that would be a start. Then you have sentences like "In the modernist sense photography couldn?t be considered an art because it acquires its autonomy and should be an independent form of expression from other disciplines to become a traditional medium." Apart from being nonsensical, you've mixed tenses and you're presenting a theory as a statement of fact. I'm quite sure you're keen on what you're doing but the whole thing is quite painful to my eyes.
    00IWV3-33092084.jpg
     
  28. Well, if you added paragraph breaks and some punctuation, that would be a start.

    It was ok in my word file and then when i copied it in here, it appered to be the way you see it. Sorry.

    I'm really trying to write this paper but the whole art language for a non-native speaker is really hard to understand and especially to write. I really tried my best to tell the ideas expressed in this paper.
     
  29. Before you start rewriting try reading "Politics and the English Language" by George Orwell. The language you are using to say what I think you are trying to say seems to be tieing your thinking up in knots. Knotty thinking isfun if you are into bondage but is bad for most other subjects.
     
  30. [Disclaimer] I am a newbie at this kind of discussion. So take my post with a grain of salt.

    I just read "Criticising Photographs: An Introduction to Understanding Images" by Terry Barrett, and found it to be a great intro book. Barrett covers a lot of ground in an objective, logical and unthreatening manner. The theory chapter touches upon modernism and post-modernism, etc. and has numerous references.

    Somewhere in the book, Barrett pointed out that a photographer's intent (and hence his/her own perception which category he/she belongs to) may differ from how critics may view his/her work.

    This is supported by another book I recently read, "Art Photography Now" by Susan Bright. In it, here's what Cindy Sherman said about her own work and her critics:

    "I also realized that I myself don't know exactly what I want from a picture, so it's hard to articulate that to somebody else - anybody else."

    [snip]

    "I would read theoretical stuff about my work and think, "What? Where did they get that?" The work was so intuitive for me, I dindn't know where it was coming from. So I thought I had better not say anything or I'd blow it."
     
  31. If you're going with this, at least try making some sense...

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    The early 1960s was a period of structural and cultural change thoroughout most of the world. The most significant of these changes was the rise of mass media communication. This was coupled with the rapid development of new technologies for the dissemination of information.

    The end of World War 2 coupled with the destruction of the old European empires and the struggles for independence by erstwhile colonies, had culminated in a new set of political, cultural and ethic ideas. In America and much of western Europe, the 'sixties saw the success of various social movements which increased the sense of identity by women, African Americans, and other previously discriminated groups.

    The world of art, also, experienced a period of rapid change, the demise of modernism permitting the blossoming of new, complex and ever-shifting ideas that led to an artistic climate of unprecedented intellectual ambition, which came to be known as postmodernism. Keith Davis states that the leading artistic trend of postmodernism was "a dematerialization of the traditional art object".

    As part of this trend, artists began to explore the idea of art and its place in society, as opposed to creating art of monetary value.

    However, the new ideas required new modes of expression and representation and photography has become one of the most important of these. As critic Andy Grunberg writes: "Conceptual artists sought to rescue art from dominion of the precious object, and photographs were considered ideal because they were so little valued, until Conceptual Art helped them make them valuable".

    The result was that artists no longer viewed photography as a secondary instrument used for reproduction and documentation. Instead, it became central to contemporary postmodern artistic practices. According to Douglas Crimp, photography can be seen as "a watershed between modernism and postmodernism".

    In the modernist sense, photography could not be considered an art until it acquired its autonomy and thus became an independent form of expression. John Szarkowki attempted to make photography a modernist medium, an art form that could distinguish itself in its essential qualities from all other forms, by saying: "the pictures reproduced in this book [The Photographer's Eye] have in fact little in common; these pictures are unmistakably photographs. The vision they share belongs to no school or aesthetic theory, but to photography itself".

    However, photography is too multiple, too useful to other practices to be an art form within the traditional definition of art. Thus when photography was revaluated as a modernism medium, photography seemed to be one of the causes of the end of modernism due to its subversive nature. The entrance of photography to the museum on a par with other traditional media; the growth of photography courses in university art departments; the rapid dissemination of a series of new approaches like Pop Art, Conceptual Art, Book Art, Body Art, Performance Art, Earth Art, Photorealism and many others all permitted artists to embrace photographic form of expression enthusiastically.

    The most famous painters in the Pop Art era, such as Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Ed Ruscha, were amongst the first who started using photographic images and techniques in their works, during the early 1960s. For example, Robert Rauschenberg began incorporating photographic reproductions onto canvas by means of the silkscreen process. In Retroactive I (1964) he uses apparently incompatible pictures of an astronaut, oranges, John F. Kennedy and Gjon Mili overlaid with bright strokes of paint.

    Like Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol used the photo-silkscreen process to make paintings based on photographs taken from the popular press. His most striking works include the repetitive images of Campbell's soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, S & H Green Stamps and other commonplace objects.

    Since that time more and more artists from various disciplines, who regarded themselves as working in the postmodernist era, have started to use photography as their medium. Postmodernist artists made a strong emphasis on the nature and the power of representation, which made photography the key postmodern medium.

    According to Walter Benjamin, the media of film and photography played a central role in the new cultural experience of media-dominated society, characterized by mass production and the expansion of the use of images. He pointed out that in the world where everything is duplicated, there is no reality, there is only representation.

    Posmodernist artists sought to undermine this idea of representation. Since all the images referred to other images, and were thus copies of the copies, their favourite artistic strategies were appropriation, simulation, and pastiche. These strategies involved the copying of already existing styles, images and symbols from other artists whom they admire to create a unique piece of work. This copying "highlighted the status of representation as a perpetual re-presentation".

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    It ain't perfect but at least now it makes some kind of sense...
     
  32. It's good to start off on the right foot. That being so:
    The early 1960s was a period of structural and cultural change thoroughout most of the world. The most significant of these changes was the rise of mass media communication.
    All of what follows seems to be about "advanced" nations. (Indeed, all of what follows seems to be about a single nation, the US.) In the US the newspapers had been vigorous since the late 19th century, and the radio and the telly had been ubiquitous since the 30s and 50s respectively. How did mass media communication rise in the 60s?
     
  33. Don't ask me, Peter. I just edited it into something that's readable. I surely don't agree with it.
     
  34. "Today the most common used strategy in post modern practices around the world would have to be appropriation /Quoting."

    You just pretty much described everybody since the beginning of time. What you described above is called learning. We all borrow from those around us and from those who came before us, otherwise we're reinventing the wheel, every time we wake up.

    "Any more ideas why ph is a postmodern medium?"

    The above question if flawed in that photography isn't a postmodern medium (the material or technique with which an artist works: watercolors) as photography is an action: writing with light. There is no such thing as a Postmodern medium as everything can be used to reflect Postmodern ideals. PoMo photography is, in real terms, nothing more then the imbuing of the image with content as opposed to being a recording of what's in front of the camera; reportage. Postmodern photography is irony and deconstruction rolled into one. It's not about borrowing as we all borrow.

    In order to understand Postmodern photography, you have to realize what it isn't (I repeat myself), Postmodern art. These are two different animals and if you try to look at Postmodern photography through a Postmodern lense, you won't be able to make any sense out of what your seeing.
     
  35. "I fear you have problems..."

    That's an understatement as everything to me, is confused and overlapping. I stated cutting and commenting but it got to be a bit out of hand, my opinion, so I decided to stop.

    ------------------------------------

    "...the demise of modernism..."

    Modernism is alive and well. It never died. Postmodernism is a branch like that of a tree. A new branch does not end the life of a tree.

    "However, the new ideas required new modes of expression and representation and photography has become one of the most important ones."

    Photography freed up the other arts from the real and allowed the other arts to explore and left the real to photography where the other arts couldn't compete.

    "According to Douglas Crimp, photography can be seen as ?a watershed between modernism and postmodernism?."

    I'm going hammer this point. Postmodern photography has "absolutely" nothing to do with Postmodern art. It's not complex. There is no watershed. They're two completely different animals which developed along two completely different parallel timelines.

    I'd say, if there is a watershed, the watershed is in the philosophies of "other arts" and "photography"

    Photography moved forward in a traditional Modern form with Stieglitz at the turn of the century as the "other arts" made a left with the Dadaists and accelerated with WWI, Breton, Surrealism and the Mexico City, Paris, Berlin, NYC, Communist connection of the time; realizing I'm oversimplifying in my above.

    Yes photography was usurped by Postmodern activists (artists), but photography itself continued on a simple, innocent and unassuming reportage track for decades after the tumultuous 20's, unincumbered by Postmodern artistic think, up to and through Lisette Model, mentor to Diane Arbus.

    No disrespect intended in my above as I bailed at the above point and I write my comments with all due respect and thoughtfulness towards the OP.
     
  36. Well, Ms. Gubareva, I do understand what you have written. I think the writing would
    improve, however, if you were to take just one of the things you write about, say,
    representation, and write your whole paper on that. The idea of pictures that are only
    representations of other pictures, what Baudrillard called 'simulacre,' is an interesting one
    that stimulates my curiosity. The reader of your paper is going to want depth and
    exploration, expansion. You have listed many possible theses, any of which could be
    developed into a paper. You seem to want to write down everything you have read and
    learned. I understand this desire, we all have it. The problem is that to produce coherent
    writing you must choose one small, limited subject and develop it. This will allow you to
    write out YOUR responses to the material, which is crucial and would probably be
    interesting to read. Instead of trying to learn all the elements of postmodernism, how
    about trying to learn just one really well?
     
  37. Kevin Farrell thank you so much for support and ideas. I think I gonna do what you have suggested. The only thing I'm confused a bit what photographers should I choose. I already started writing about Cindy Sherman. However, I'm confused if Sherie Levine would be considered to be a photographer post 60s? Most of her works were done after 1980s.

    I was also thinking about taking Diane Arbus but I'm getting really confused what postmodern ideas and strategies she was expressing?
     
  38. "I'm getting really confused what postmodern ideas and strategies she was expressing?"

    She inserted herself into her images, via her subjects. When you look at her images, realize, she's looking back at you. I base this on my studies of her and her life before she committed suicide.
     
  39. Well, Ms. Grubareva, I just saw a Diane Arbus retrospective and I was struck by her
    ironiccaptions. For instance, she has one entitled something like, Woman and dwarf.
    Another is
    called something like, Mexican dwarf at home. A lot of her
    captions refer inappropriately (or, appropriately) to the race or ethnicity of her subjects, or
    to unusual physical conditions, such as dwarfism or giantism.
    Phrases like "black man" or "Jewish couple" are to be found among her captions as are
    adjectives such as "patriotic." I would
    say Arbus is using
    irony to bring up racial politics and racial tensions at a time when the civil rights
    movement was getting underway in the United States, as well as ethnic tensions, the
    Vietnam War and physical conditions referred to in the past as "handicaps."

    Maybe she is speaking in the
    voice many of us use in private, when we refer to someone's race even though publicly this
    is not
    allowed and should supposedly not be important. Or maybe she is blurting out someone's
    race or ethnicity when normally it would be whispered. You know, people will say
    something like, "I don't mean to be a racist but..." and then, in a whisperd voice, "he's
    black." She is commenting in a whimsical, playful, ironic way on things upon which we are
    not supposed to comment.

    The captions of Arbus' photographs are parodies of sincere captions one has read on
    other photograhs. Maybe you could say the captions of Diane Arbus refer to other
    captions, making them representations or simulacre. The racial and ethnic references hold
    further
    irony in that they are just as apt today as when she used them forty-odd years ago. That
    is, racial tensions exist now as they ever did in the United States and, indeed, the world.


    Another ironic caption reads something like, "Miss Debutante 1930 at
    home." The
    picture is of an older beauty queen posing as if for a beauty photo, but at home in her
    bed and at the age of perhaps fifty-five or sixty. There is irony to the photograph's having
    been taken in 1959, or so, while the
    caption
    reads "Miss Debutante 1930..." Normally the word "former" might be used and perhaps
    more explanation given. As it is, the style is deadpan humor delivered in the form of a
    one-liner. To simply
    say, "Miss Debutante 1930 at home" rings oddly to our ears considering the amount of
    time passed between the event referred to in the caption and the moment the photograph
    was taken, in other words, between the age we expect "Miss Debutante" to be based on
    the words we read, and her actual age shown in the picture thirty years after having been
    Miss Debutante. This is sly and destructive humor. The idea, I thought, was about
    the way we discard
    winners like things once they have served their purpose. But instead of making this
    photograph a sad
    image, Arbus chooses to present it as a humorous one, if a little darkly so, driving home
    the
    point all the more forcefully that "winning" is largely an illusion and that "winners" are to a
    large extent actors playing a role in an imaginary drama that symbolically represents the
    myth of winning, as opposed to winning itself. In a world of simulacre, everything is
    artificial, even winning. We manufacture disposable "winners" and then throw them aside
    when they have
    out-lived their shelf-life. The irony in Arbus' pictures is destabilizing, in that it calls
    assumptions into question. In this case, it might be assumed the winner lives happily ever
    after. Diane Arbus shows us, whether we like to see it or not, that the ever after is not so
    happy and that winning amounts to much the same thing as losing. Is she calling the
    American dream itself, which is largely one of becoming a winner, into question?
    Postmodernism
    is about skepticism with established values. Postmodernism is about dissaffection and
    dissatisfaction with popular myths. By calling what we assume into question, i.e., the myth
    that
    winners live happily ever after,
    Arbus attacks and destabilizes a whole cultural viewpoint, i.e. the myth that winning is the
    goal of
    life. This is a classic use of irony, to
    attack values we regard as false. Arbus' irony further serves to rally together those who
    agree with
    her in opposition to the false values she attacks. Her weapon is humor and her strategy is
    to ironically undercut seemingly straight photographs of strange looking people with
    captions that reveal underlying discord between myth and reality.

    I know everyone tells you to read yet another book, and I do not know how much time you
    have, but a glance through Wayne C. Boothe's "A Rhetoric of Irony" would help. It is a very
    straightforward book that explains the uses of irony and discusses some of the problems
    attached to it, such as the question, How do we know when someone is being ironic? Even
    reading the opening
    chapter might help a lot. Irony allows a lot to be said in few words, since it is suggestive as
    opposed to literal. Irony rallies the faithful to laugh at the false values of the opposition.
    Certain things can only be said through irony.
     
  40. Sorry, that first sentence should contain the phrase, "...ironic captions," which was
    unfortunately run together as one word.
     
  41. , I just saw a Diane Arbus retrospective and I was struck by her ironic captions. For instance, she has one entitled something like, Woman and dwarf.
    Was it a photograph of a man and a giant, or an image of any thing other than a woman and a dwarf? otherwise that could hardly be considered ironic --just pure description. Or was there a black fly in your Chardonnay?
     
  42. Thank you so much for this brilliant idea. I already wrote about Diane Arbus but I suppose I gonna re-write lots about her based on what you've just wrote about her.

    There is only one thing I got confused I can't fing anywhere this image you're talking about "Miss Debutante 1930 at home". It's not in her book and Internet knows nothing about this owrk of her.
     
  43. Give me a minute to try to find it.
     
  44. Yeah, I've seen this image so many times, however never paid attention to the capture. Thank you a lot.
     
  45. The subject's name is Brenda Frazier, and this picture was shot in 1966 by Arbus for Esquire
    magazine. The title is from memory I am afraid, but she came out or debuted in 1938. Arbus
    was interested in winners as a subject. She writes about it in her famous grant application.
    You will have to research this. By the way, there is a database of art images that may help
    called artstore. School libraries get it so maybe you could find it that way. Artstore, on the
    internet at a school library.
     
  46. Irony is one of those things you cannot prove is present, Ellis. People dispute whether
    certain statements were meant to be taken ironically. I would say a less disputable
    example of Arbus' irony in a caption would be her calling a boy wearing a "Bomb Hanoi"
    button a "very patriotic young man." I think once we have it that some of her captions are
    ironic, we might start to look for irony in others. Not all captions will be equally clear cases
    of irony and some may indeed be devoid of irony. You may be right about "Woman and
    dwarf," but it rings oddly to my ears. Why not "Woman and Man?" Do we refer to dwarves,
    even in 1960 and even in a photograph, as dwarves? To me it sounds as if you had a
    picture of a black man, an asian man and a white man and woman and you called it,
    "Picture of a black, an asian and a man and a woman."
     
  47. you could call it anything you like.
    Irony, as defined here is
    The term irony is derived from the Greek eiron (dissembler), and denotes that the appearance of things differs from their reality, whether in terms of meaning, situation, or action. That is, it is ironical when there is a difference between what is spoken and what is meant (see verbal irony ). what is thought about a situation and what is actually the case; or what is intended by actions and what is their actual outcome (see dramatic irony.)
    The second of the definitions here is:
    2 a : the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning b : a usually humorous or sardonic literary style or form characterized by irony c : an ironic expression or utterance
    One of the definitions here is
    A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect.
    The VirtuaLit site says :
    As a figure of speech, irony refers to a difference between the way something appears and what is actually true. Part of what makes poetry interesting is its indirectness, its refusal to state something simply as "the way it is." Irony allows us to say something but to mean something else, whether we are being sarcastic, exaggerating, or understating.
    This blogger says
    The Oxford English Dictionary defines irony as 'a state of affairs that appears perversely contrary to what one expects'
    Kevin, maybe you are thinking of something other than irony? The titles of Diane Arbus' photographs are very direct and unironic -- they describe exactly who the photograph is of. her photographs have much in common with those of August Sander, a german photographer of the early twentieth century. Irony is often used to emotionally distance oneself from the subject one is writing about or photographing. Since one of the things Arbus worked hard at demolishing those kind of emotional distancing effects prevalent in standard portrait photography it follows that she or her heirs would hardly be likely to ladle them back on with "ironic" captions.
    What I do believe is that she could sometimes use her camera to cruel effect on both the subjects of her photographs and equally cruelly on the viewer's prejudices.
     
  48. Quoting the dictionary to me is pretty patronizing, Ellis, as is explaining who August Sandler
    was. I will overlook that. I am going to disagree with you about Arbus' use of irony. She could
    not possibly have thought or meant to say a young man with a "Bomb Hanoi" button was
    literally "patriotic." The very use of that word should raise suspicion.

    What would be interesting is if you were to expound on the emotional distancing effects
    prevalent in portrait photography and what Arbus did to eliminate them from her own work.
     
  49. "She could not possibly have thought or meant to say a young man with a "Bomb Hanoi" button was literally "patriotic." The very use of that word should raise suspicion."

    Would it help to put the image into context?

    http://artsbus.gmu.edu/Readings/archives/arbusNYT2005.doc

    http://www.dianearbus.net/pictures/flag_boy.htm

    Not to be confused with this pic, which many do:

    http://www.dianearbus.net/pictures/flag_hat.htm

    You (generic you) decide if there's irony in the image.
     
  50. In that NYT link that Thmas posted, Michael Kimmelman says it much better than I
    apparently am able to.

    Irony is often used to emotionally distance oneself from a subject. In portrait photoraphy
    so is blandness. Arbus' photographs does a lot of work to define the "otherness" of her
    subjects,
    making you the viewer sensitive to your otherness and strangeness as well.

    Most portraiture works the other way, to
    make the viewer feel an unearned familiarity and empathy with the subject of the
    photograph,allowing the viewer to project "a
    likeness" of self on the person in the photograph. That is something that for me (and I use
    this technique most of the time in my
    commercial work) draws a veil over how unique we actually are from one another. this is
    what meant by "emotional distancing" - -seeing yourelf reflected there and not the other
    person. In this I agree with the late Richard Avedon that photographs, especially of other
    people, are "fictions".

    Kevin ,

    Thank you for giving me an opportunity to explain myself better and also fro not taking
    offense - but also remeber that this is not a private dialog between Kevin and Ellis and
    that I often frame my responses to that larger audience, manuyy of whom may not know
    who August Sander was or what is actually meant by the word "irony" .
     
  51. OK, Ellis, well I notice for my part that I wrote Sandler instead of Sander, the truth being I
    have really only glanced through Sander's work after reading about him in Susan Sontag's
    book.

    So, care to go into specifics about what kinds of things are done by a commercial
    portraitist to achieve that unearned empathy? Then, what does Arbus do to establish
    otherness? I am talking in both instances about choices made by the photographer in the
    way he chooses to shoot the scene and the subject.
     
  52. Arbus photographed "mercelessly" without glamour or artifice she photographed truth, often with on camera flash and on medium or large format, so every flaw would be revealed.

    The viewer sees this flawed image and he cannot relate to the subject - he DON`t WANT to relate to her subjects (...poor boy, I`m no freak,...).

    And that constitutes otherness. Her subjects are all the same, it is she that is the freak, we all are freaks.
     
  53. Good, David.

    Ellis and Thomas, Well, I did match the wrong title with the wrong picture. Still, use of the
    word "patriotic" jumps out at me as being suspect in the caption of what I now realize is
    the correct
    photograph, as does the mention of other subjects' race and handicaps. Then the caption
    for the Brenda Frazer portrait in 1967 seems odd. The
    caption is
    something like, Brenda Frazer, Miss Debutante 1938, at home. There is an incongruity
    between the caption, which refers to an event some twenty-five years earlier, and what is
    depicted in front of us. The title seems to want to draw our attention to loss, while
    presenting itself as mere record of fact. This is why I think it is ironic.
     
  54. I think the irony is the connection of the word "patriotic" with the "image" of the person. :)
     
  55. I see it that way, Thomas. The word "patriotic" is too subjective for use in a literal description.
    It is too politically charged. And the word "patriotic" is often used ironically. None of which
    proves she is being ironic, but I think they are plausible clues. I think there is at least the
    possibility of irony in the captions.
     
  56. "None of which proves she is being ironic,..."

    You would have to admit by using that particular term, attached to that particular image, even if unintentional is ironic in-of-itself.

    Would you want that image leading any of your "patriotic" charges? :)
     
  57. Maybe we can throw "sarcasm" into the hopper in the place of "irony.

    Would that work? Can Postmodern, well known for "thumb-in-the-eye-itist, realistically be characterized accurately as being found somewhere deep in the realm of the wonderful world of "sarcasm?" :)

    Dictionary.com: Sarcasm:

    1. harsh or bitter derision or irony.

    2. a sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark...
     
  58. Only posting definition for illustrative purposes.
     
  59. I am starting to realize what Ellis meant when he said Arbus was doing something similar to
    the census/survey photography of August Sander. Is it possible she was doing something
    satyrical in the
    vein of Sander in order to comment on contemporary American problems?
     
  60. "Is it possible she was doing something satyrical in the vein of Sander in order to comment on contemporary American problems?"

    One needs to look back to both WeeGee (her all time fav) and Lisette Model, her mentor in order to understand her background. One needs to understand her state-of-mind (mentally depressed/suicidal) to understand her last images. One needs to look back at her tumultuous life with her husband as a well respected stylist.

    http://photography.about.com/library/weekly/aa110600a.htm
     
  61. "How can photography be thought as a Postmodern medium?"

    And on the other hand, we have the converse question:

    Why can't photography be thought as a Postmodern medium?

    And then there's other questions.

    Why are all these people worrying about that what isn't important?

    Who's asking all these questions and how are these questions relevant to those who actually go out and make the exposures?

    Is the finger on the shutter release supposed to care one iota about what a professor thinks in a study somewhere far removed from the artistic photographic intellectual process?

    Is it the photographic artist's worry to care what other's think, before they trip the shutter?

    Isn't it really all about biasing a view, before the mind goes forth to conquor light?

    Do educators really want people thinking for themselves?

    Do educators really want independent thought?

    Isn't it really a question of the photographer being taught by educators (must get a grade) how to think so photographs will toe the party line for their degree?

    Is the final step in the education department of life, revolting against all that you've been taught?

    Make the professor happy, revolt and you'll get noticed?

    Where's the decent? Where's the distrust of authority? Where's the finger in the "Eye-of-the-Man? What happened to the 60's; ("Hell no, we won't go.") Have the hippies of the past become the status quo (power) of the present and don't even know the heats been turned up?

    (Asked with all due respect)
     
  62. Mod, where's the edit button:)

    -----------------------

    "...how to think so photographers will toe the party line for their degree?"

    ------------------

    Where's the desent?

    ------------------

    Spelling Vs Usage.

    Doh!
     
  63. Me, trying to grok "postmodernism" by reading about it in "Wikipedia", a postmodern encyclopedia"

    [​IMG]
     
  64. Dear Natalia, talk to your professor. I am a professor who teaches social theory for a living, including postmodernism. A great deal has been written in this forum, much of it useful and much of it useless. I will not say which is which, which is both, or which is neither. However, please hear this -- you (and many others apparently) are trying to write about postmodernism from a modernist perspective, which is possible but difficult.

    For example, from some postmodernist perspectives the artist's intentions may not matter -- what matters more is the audience's interpretations. Likewise, it doesn't matter if Arbus was trying to be ironic. What matters is how her photographs and their titles are seen as ironic, satirical, sarcastic, etc...

    Also beware of confusing the analytical perspective (postmodernism) with the thing being analyzed (photography). Yes, photographers can consciously set out to make post-modern photographs that embody the philosophy of post-modernism or they can simply make evocative pics, into which people read post-modernism.

    Thus, what should matter most to your professor is how well you can use post-modernism to help you understand the world. For instance a post-modern analysis of power (as described by Foucault) helped me deal with my boss. Otherwise, all this talk about post-modernism is just mental masturbation. Of course, your professor may just want you to tell him what he thinks. Some professors are assholes. You may also want to ask a friend to proofread your paper (I give that advice to native English speakers too). What you do is up to you. Good Luck.
     
  65. "A great deal has been written in this forum, much of it useful and much of it useless."

    Based upon who's biased view? :) LOL
     
  66. Professor, do you even realize how gilded (subjective) the biased lily has become? :) LOL

    One has to only read Andre Breton to understand. Poor poor Dali as he wasn't down enough, the commercial rat:) Like a "gang-sta, he had to be taken out. And poor ol Diego Rivera, the party didn't like his leanings and it caused him angst. Haaaaaa! :) But he joined the church in the end. :) Looks like they lost that one. :)

    Does anybody even read this stuff with the intent of understanding it? Oh my, the politics of it allllll. As the Dadaists dragged left, Stieglitz plodded straight ahead but had room for 291 and nobody noticed the schism and the Bauhaus continued on..... :)

    "Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain!" "The Beat Goes On" Sonny and Cher

    Thank you Frank Lloyd Wright.:)

    LOL Oh myiiiiii! :)
     
  67. Thomas, this is my informed opinion. You obviously have your own. Yes, I realize that many people are gilding lilies, which is why I also teach classical and modernist perspectives (that should be good for another laugh). By the way, do you get paid for each reference to a cultural icon? This was a pretty popular game at the University of Chicago, but I was never very good at it. You seem to be a winner.

    When was Natalia's paper due?
     
  68. "You seem to be a winner."

    No icons, just historical facts (read what these notables have to write on their matters) and the what's what with the who's who in artistic history and the well developed confusion (idol worship?) which has developed between Postmodern photographic arts and the rest of Postmodern arts as they're two completely different animals which sprang, at different times in artistic history, from the same water source, art, yet of different wells of artistic evolution. Art has a Darwinistic tree just as everything else does. As a suggestion, have your class make an artistic evolutionary tree. Have your students pick a four or five hundred year time frame and let them research and create an evolutionary tree for that time period.

    By-the-by, what is it we're all taught?; how those who've run out of argument and how they're prophetically expected to comport themselves? :)

    You guys (professors) should be experts by now on bias and making sure it's dealt with in a transparent fashion. I'm wary of those who claim objectivity when clearly they dance with a subjective partner.

    Breton wrote, (subjective at best because it was his think which he wrote of,) and the rest of the art world picked up on his dance, became his dance partner and now projects his words as if they're fact. Wow! :) Reporting on what Breton wrote, fact, reporting on what Breton had to write, subjective as to write Breton's thoughts as fact is to gild the lily of bias.... "Andre Breton wrote....." :) So what! Just because the neighbor's dog speaks to you, doesn't mean you have to do what he says.

    The Dadaists become disenchanted and therein ends reality? Someone becomes disenchanted with Modernism and yet they still drive a car? At least the Amish are honest about their disenchantment and they stated such long "before" the Dadaists:) To paraphrase a country song: The Amish were Postmodern before it was cool to be Postmodern. :)

    Step back in photographic historical time, check out Stieglitz and what he was doing at the end of the century and what the rest of the art world was doing. Make note of the direction Stieglitz & Co. (photographic art) was moving, straight ahead, (Modernism?) and make note of what the rest of the art world was doing Pre W.W.I; making a Progressive Humanist turn to the Left as Post W.W.I it became vogue to cruise Mexico City and do the Commie (Stalin) dance. No Iconic rhetoric, just the facts. "Smack that kid for noticing the King ain't got no clothes." :)

    It's so nice to be out of the clutches of intellectual cultural centers. :) I couldn't imagine making a return run. (note lack of smiley face)
     
  69. Jason Jimerson, How did reading Foucault help you deal with your boss?
     
  70. Sorry if my previous reply was snide, but I found the LOL's insulting. Don't really like being laughed at.

    Many post-modernists explicitly disavow objectivity and emphasize subjectivity. If you think ojectivity is great, fine.

    By the way, I was taught to make trees that trace the evolution of ideas by Donald N. Levine, see his book Visions of the Sociological Tradition if you want to see the trees. my students learn smaller versions of these trees (shrubs?).

    Hi Kevin, good question. Different paradigms emphasize different aspects of power. To oversimplify: Classical paradigms focus on how authority conveys power; Modernist paradigms focus on how objectivity and reason convey power. Post-modernists focus on the absurdity and arbitrariness of power.

    Let me give you a concrete example. From a modernist perspective the facts should speak for themselves. To many post-modernists, what matters is how people speak about facts. James Holstein in a Social Forces paper compares two women resisting involuntary committment. In one case, a woman is committed because as a mentally ill woman she will be at risk from predatory men. In the other case, a woman remains free because as a woman she is not considered as dangerous to others. Same fact, being a woman, is cited to make opposing arguments, albeit in relation to other facts.

    Anyway, what Focault helped me realize is that I was trying to reason with folks who could and would reinterpret whatever facts that I gave them in ways that would support their arguments against me. Instead of fighting facts with facts, I had to understand where they were coming from. I had to understand their subjective logic in order to meet them halfway or at least submit an honorable surrender.

    Sorry for such a long answer. Hope you find this relevant.
     
  71. "Don't really like being laughed at."

    That usually happens when one takes themselves too seriously.
     
  72. "Modernist paradigms focus on how objectivity and reason convey power."

    Isn't that a bit overarching in definition? It seems you're painting all Modernists with a broad brush. I'm a Modernist. I see everybody as a Modernist as you can't have a well developed society without Modernistic ideals. I also see Modernists understanding the need for a softer more gentle ideal, one of harmony as opposed to brute forced control; a balance if you will. The day of the Robber Barrons is long past, fortunately; thank-you Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt.

    "Post-modernists focus on the absurdity and arbitrariness of power."

    Isn't it more a revolt from within the protective comfort one derives from the benefits of Modernism. Since the lions, tigers and bears have been controlled, one can safely speak out about how brave they are? "I'll conquer the mountain!", with O2, support team, radio, rescue copters at the ready and sherpa safely by my side. :) Or maybe, it's a free wheeling life style but be sure to keep the phone, with 911 on speed dial, close at hand. :)

    "Let me give you a concrete example. From a modernist perspective the facts should speak for themselves. To many post-modernists, what matters is how people speak about facts.""

    "I hate war, so let's talk about it, but if you break into my house, I'll call the cops and let them forcibly remove you as opposed to getting my hands dirty."

    Hmmmmmm!

    My laughter is because of the transparency of it all and the mental games played as if this is all enigmatic and worthy of intellectual debate/conversation. You guys (intellectual elitists) don't realize it, but the dumbest on the streets actually understand this stuff and see it as just a bunch of brainiacs asking a bunch of rhetorical questions where the answers are already known.

    In keeping with the spirit of the OP's question, I'd like her to answer the converse question: Any ideas why ph isn't a postmodern medium.

    By-the-by, Modernists never died, never went away, never climbed into a cave or otherwise and Modernism has continued in all it's self-serving glory. Modernism? It became vogue to talk of Modernism as if it had died and been usurped by Postmodernism when the reality of the issue, Postmodern just became a parallel art form exerting it's Modernistic power over the subjugated, (fallen from favor) art form.

    Another thought, traditional art (non-photographic) was postmodern before it was cool to be postmodern. I think maybe some folks are amazed for the sake of amazement cause it sounds good.

    History is a terrible thing to waste. :)

    Do dah, do dah. We're all just idiots at the bottom of the pile, singing the do dah day. :)
     
  73. With all these overweighted academic jargons, you might want to relax and read a comfortable book like John Dewey's "Art as Experience". All too often critical theory and its targeted discipline are lum together like blind dates. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not.

    Given that there are people who do work theoretically, these are more often critics than artists. For you to write a paper using other people's career-building coined terms is to put yourself into their tracks, and deny yourself of your own observation. Everyone claims that they understand the times and invented a few words to seal it. We ought to know that these are all intellectual rhetorics, useless and taken out of context.

    What is important is to write a paper that you will understand a year later. I would look at the 3 artists' works and write about the experience of looking at them. You don't need to have a particular aim when looking at them, just your honesty. Look at them a few times. All this, of course, might not work for your high-minded professor, which is sad.

    Don't be too concern about correct english, I understand them.
     
  74. Jason, Very interesting answer. In my answer to Natalia I had emphasized the postmodern
    skepticism about myth, kind of a Roland Barthes approach.
     
  75. "the dumbest on the streets actually understand this stuff and see it as just a bunch of brainiacs asking a bunch of rhetorical questions where the answers are already known."

    Very true, whether spoken in jest or not, Thomas.
     
  76. "Very true,..."

    Thanks!
     
  77. Moderator (Jeff) the above dude is spamming Photo.net with weight loss URL's
     
  78. Kevin. Thanks for reminding me about Barthes' "The Photographic Message." An essay worth rereading.
     
  79. Jason, I do not know if I have read that. I was thinking of "Mythologie."
     
  80. Spam is postmodern.

    Loosing weight possibly also.

    It wasn't there when Rubens painted.

    Neither spam.

    If you don't know about CoC, coma, focal length vs. angle of view,

    jump in on photography.

    If you don't know about the meta language of philosophy,

    jump in on it,

    and LOL.

    Is this written simple enough or should I simplify more?

    Professors are funny!

    Derrida is a goog photographer,

    Give him a camera and see what happens.
     
  81. goog?

    should be good.

    LOL ;-)
     
  82. Im doing the exact same essay at the moment. I was reading through all the jargen above and it began to swim above my head. Youv got to look at photography so dont get to bogged down with the theory.
    Im looking at Sherrive Levine because she reproduced im ages by photographers such as walker evens. The postmodern buzz word if you like is REPRODUCTION - id also look in to 'is it plagurism' to reproduced anothers work and how is it postmodern.
    Everyone on here has written such log winded and pompous answers that theyv really just lost the point and going to the the realm of the stupid. talking things over and over and getting further away from the answer.
    Keep it simple, keep it what you know!
    hope iv been of some help.
     
  83. Here's a postmodern word - thinking! Try doing some of your own instead of taking the easy way out via the Internet. WHy do you caare what others think or say? WHY DON"T YOU STATE YOUR OWN POSITION? CHICKEN? AFRAID YOU MIGHT HAVE TO DEFEND YOUR IDEAS?
     
  84. >>Here's a postmodern word - thinking!<<

    Wouldnt "thinkingness" be more postmodern?

    >>WHy do you caare what others think or say?<<

    uGH . . . because we share a world together?

    >>WHY DON"T YOU STATE YOUR OWN POSITION?<<

    The person has shared a bit of his thinkingess so far, but the final version would be his Paper -- the thing he's trying to inform by flushing out the ideas here in this forum.

    >>CHICKEN?<<

    This is the rhetoric of fear.

    >>AFRAID YOU MIGHT HAVE TO DEFEND YOUR IDEAS?<<

    Do you see your own orientation to Discovery here? Is it fear of being found in error?

    I think this kind of attitude toward intellectual exchange is shameful. This is a philosophy forum and here you are yelling at a person for having the good sense to put his question to others.

    When you see the beauty of another view, when its truth speaks to you, when its order re-orders your own framework, you are then in a position to take responsibility for that beauty, that truth, that re-ordering . . . in your own person.

    It is not an issue of Your idea or Their idea, it's a question of orientation.
     
  85. Hi im writng writing a dissertation on Diane Arbus and postmodernism. Could you possibly post the part of your essay that talks about Diane Arbus? Thank you
     
  86. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    I used to catch students who used on-line sources to avoid doing their own work. Google is lots of fun. Some schools have software to catch people who use other people work from other schools or from earlier student papers (the fun one at my school was a teacher getting as another person's work the paper the teacher had given highest marks to a few years earlier).
    The question also sounds plagiarized. Lazy teacher, lazy students. Your teacher is basically not thinking for herself, so why should you think for yourselves, right?
    Google shows around a quarter million pages for photography and postmodernism. You might want to turn in your teacher if she doesn't catch you first (this discussion is about the second link in the overall Photo.net discussions of photography and post-modernism, with Photo.net over all being the third site showing up).
    I am interested in the question, but not as an exercise for helping college students avoid doing the work in a class they're probably only taking because it's a requirement or because they thought it would be easy.
    People, it's the time of year for take home exams. If the question is interesting in itself, then run with it, but know that you're not really helping the student find a more suitable college which is the real problem the student has to deal with. A good take home exam question requires thinking on the teacher's part as well as the students, not whomping up some boiler plate from grad school class notes and then being upset that the kids whomped up something they neither believed in or nor cared about in return.
    Good guess the teacher is either a graduate TA (which means it's also exam time for teacher) or an adjunct who wants to use all that PoMo theory from graduate school and who isn't happy not being paid well and not getting benefits for teaching students who don't care.
    Students who get canned questions will be tempted to give canned answers. To get good answers from students, the teacher has to think, not reuse grad school notes. (First instance in the first page of Google results was something like 1998, so this question and concept have been around for a while).
    It's far too broad a question to elicit good answers unless the student has the time to write a quite longer paper than our overworked TA or adjunct would be willing to read. Diane Arbus and postmodernism, maybe. Is suicide a postmodernist gesture? Did postmodernism arise from women's decoupage work and scrapbooks? Is postmodernism a product of industrialization of women's work and the subsequent investment in bricoleur art strategies cooped by male artists?
    And I'm not getting paid to come up with more interesting questions than the original one?
     
  87. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    Other thing, mass communications arose with the telegraph. We do things faster now, but the jump in speed between the 18th and 19th Centuries was exponential. See accounts of American Civil War generals communicating with DC headquarters on the day of battle in close to real time.
    The 19th Century in the American Northeast was a time of profound changes -- the industrialization of women's work, mass travel, mass communications, the possibility of actually visiting Europe more than once in a lifetime, of keeping in touch with the old country (my 18th Century ancestors had no contact with their families in England).
    Trying to pretend we invented the Paleo-electric in the 1960s is profoundly silly. Yes, we're going through one of the most significant revisions of how humans live since the change between Paleolithic and Neolithic and it's happening fast, but the change began with treadle and harness looms and flyer spinning wheels. The fly shuttle loom was the last significant improvement in handweaving and lead to the mechanical weaving in the same way that the flyer wheel lead to mechanical spinning.
    This created a market for cigarettes, photographs, and coffee, as well as fashion magazines and an interest in news that doesn't affect us directly.
     

Share This Page