NYT: Loretta Lux

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by ._._z, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/29/arts/design/29WOOD.html
    Loretta Lux, a 34-year-old German painter turned photographer, has realized that a light touch is sometimes the most effective technique for digital enhancement. With so many choices at her fingertips, she has opted for delicate, minute alterations. Walking through her show of children's portraits at the Yossi Milo Gallery in Chelsea, one continually wonders if the boys and girls in her studies are software simulations, and why and to what degree they might be at the mercy of the artist's hand.
  2. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

  3. I saw this article and what struck me was the writer's comment about the tradition of the artificial in "portrait" photography...the Victorian's fake backgrounds and the like. Edward Curtis used to dress up native Americans in costumes he thought would resonate with his viewers even though they had nothing to do with reality. In the 50's and into the 60's there was quite a bit of unreal hand coloring of images. Painters have been putting their portrait subjects into weird and often overblown surroundings and clothing for centuries.

    Given the Sturm and Drang over the veractiy of Photoshop and digital imaging, I continue to wonder what the big deal is. Isn't the end result all that matters?

    BTW, Lux's pictures which I have seen in person are as disquieting as any images I've ever viewed.
  4. Fantastic work!

    How does output that on Ilfochromes?
  5. It is visual art, but not photography. End of the discussion.

    P.S. I don't mean photography can not be art, but some arts are definitely not photography.
  6. Nice images: too bad that we can only see them in small format.
  7. Jake I was thinking the same thing looking at the web site. The images were both entrancing and disquieting at the same time. Can't really say why disquieting. May be it is it gives the subjects a an "exploited" look.
  8. Chip,

    I didn't feel the subjects were exploited. To me, what's odd about many of the images are the eyes of the children which have been intensified in some way. It also appears as if the direction of their gaze has been altered, but without seeing the original photos it's hard to know.

    And, I completely disagree with S. Lui's pronouncement that this is not photography. As stated in the article, the work is not markedly different from generations of portrait photography where the coloring and backgrounds are exagerated.
  9. Jake it is in the eyes for me. Couldn't tell why; but you may have a point at to why. I hope they bring the show to the Natinal Gallery of Art in DC sometime.
  10. Interesting.They look,maybe unearthly is the best adjective I can come up with. (There was an early sci fi film where the kids eyes were strange and the hair was a strange color.) Not poor,not at all,just creepy in some way. Arresting for sure and an interesting experimental approach. (9 for originality finally!.) I can't see one on a wall to get used to,but I dont know. Like hand colored prints and yet not quite. I can also think of early chromes of the 30's that has faded strangely. Light touch may be actually more than that.
  11. I was just at Yossi Milo this past weekend; boy were those images creepy! She uses her own paintings and photogaphs as backgrounds pasted together in PS. Re: outputting to ilfochrome: digital output to transparency, then printed conventionally to R-print is my guess. There wasn't any info at the gallery, and I didn't think to ask.
  12. The look of these works gets "old" fast. Apart from the tonal delicacy and compositional savvy of Lux's images(e.g.,"The Rose Garden"), the children all start looking hydrocephalic or misshapen.I couldn't help thinking of the cranially-deformed, goggle-eyed pixie stereotype found in many anime characters. Highly disposable.
  13. I think the care with which she chooses the backgrounds (which she paints) she inserts
    digitally and the discrete, discreet alterations of her subjects make them unsettling and less
    disposable than, say, William Wegman's dog photographs.
  14. Disagree. Lux's work has a repellent quality I don't find in Wegman's dog scenes, however much I dislike them. But then perhaps Lux is just a high-brow "shock" version of Anne Geddes. Both contain a fairly high kitsch quotient, albeit one that appeals to very different audiences.
  15. Geddes is honestly working a kitschy, middlebrow vein. Wegman is a conceptual artist who
    accidentally fell into a kitschy, rich photographic vein, recognizes it as such, and is minting
    money while also more quietly doing other, non-photographic work.

    I think that Lux is different; she seems to be aiming for the disquieting, alien nature of
    childhood that many people forget or ignore, and is successful at it.
  16. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    she seems to be aiming for the disquieting, alien nature of childhood that many people forget or ignore, and is successful at it.
    Maybe I'm a bit old school, but I think Meatyard's work hits this spot much more strongly. His photographs of children feel like it did when I was a disquieted and alien child, whereas I find Lux's photographs look like an adult view of the disquieting, alien nature of childhood.
  17. That's probaby valid, but I like to see a thoughtful adult take, even though I like Meatyard's
    work very much. Both he and Lux have a lot of missteps in their work too.
  18. So much for gut reactions. (All very modernist interpretations, by the way.) How about considering these as examples of Postmodern portraiture?
  19. I think her photos of children are the best I have seen in my recollection. I
    have seen too many photos of children that are merely poor snapshots of
    what is usually all too popular and easily appealing subject. The Lux
    photos show these children with a degree of contemplation that i rarely see. In
    my view she is in a class by herself when it comes to child portraits. I hope
    she turns her talents to photographing adults as well.

    I don't care that she photoshops it, because she does it so well. The color
    palette is gorgeous, the lighting and choice of backgrounds are superb.

  20. How do you "test" Lux's work for "postmodern" content, John? Try as I might, I can't decode the portraits; their slightly monstrous quality seems to be their most salient feature for me and others I've spoken with. Someone who saw them remarked how the kids' portraits--with their swollen heads and bulging eyes--reminded him of eugenic tracts from the 1920s.
  21. They remind me of paintings I've seen in old issues of Juxtapoz.
  22. sh


    RE: <<I find Lux's photographs look like an adult view of the disquieting, alien
    nature of childhood.>>

    Jeff, I feel the same way... The pictures show children, but clearly focus on
    adult perceptions. The work is about adults and their views - not about how
    children experience the world.

    RE: <<May be it is it gives the subjects a an "exploited" look.>>

    Chip, it is almost like the children are puppets on invisible strings and whose
    eyes can be moved at will, they are being presented as art like a painting, but
    the question is: are they being exploited?

    RE: <<I didn't feel the subjects were exploited.>>

    Jake, I wish I could see these images in person as you have. Thanks for
  23. Greetings all, I'm new to the board. I first found out about Loretta Lux on a blog for web
    designers; I just saw a portfolio of her March 2004 show in NYC. I find that she uses a
    similar color palette to the American artist, Matthew Barney. She seems to outfit and
    make-up her subjects as well, showing her color preferences in pale, rather "dead" tones.
    After studying the photos for awhile, I realized that Lux has "Keanized" her work; meaning
    she has slightly enlarged the eyes, in a way reminiscent of the popular 60's artist whose
    pop paintings adorned the rooms of little girls everywhere. I like her stuff, but it's very
    effected all the way. - Voxx
  24. Loretta Lux had a number of images in Aperture 174 (spring 2004)
  25. sh


    She also had several images publish in Atomica magazine the "Sensual"
    edition - Vol.2 No. 1. Atomica is a new and often interesting magazine worth
    checking out from time to time.

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