What Is Post Modernism In Photography?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by rebeca, May 22, 2002.

  1. THOEORY: IS IT ART?

    <p>


    I have to take 6 pics that all deal with theoritical issues. please help...

    <p>

    what is post-modernism?

    <p>

    thank you!!
    rebeca
     
  2. Look at the works of Edward Weston, Man Ray, Hockney for starters...

    <p>

    Also look at artists like Feitelsohn, Lichtenstein and
    Rauschenberg...from their work you may make a comparative analysis with
    photography..
     
  3. Hi Rebecca. The post-modernism movement is based on the unfortunate
    belief that the most important purpose of art is to deal with
    theoretical intellectual issues. So, following in the footsteps of the
    post-modernist painters, post-modernist photographers take un-creative
    badly-composed, crappy-looking photographs of mundane subjects, and
    print them with tricky edge effects and other gimmicks (such as
    enormous size and cutesy frames) to hide their pathetic lack of
    substance, and then stand around in their hip haircuts and black
    turtlenecks waxing eloquent about all the grand intellectual
    theoretical issues that their great works supposedly raise.

    <p>

    And, if you ever make the fatal mistake of admitting that you don't
    "get it", you're instantly relegated to the masses of lower beings who
    aren't smart enough to understand real "art." What a sad state of
    affairs! I've personally never seen a post-modernist photo that I'd
    hang on my wall if it were free.

    <p>

    What this movement misses is the tremendous capacity for art to carry
    an intuitive message that speaks to our spirit on a primal level which
    cannot be reduced to bland intellectual concepts. Just think of Bach's
    fugues, and think of how silly it would be to sit around and talk
    about the theoretical issues they raise. To anyone willing to show up
    with their soul, the meaning of Bach's fugues is obvious and profound,
    and no amount of intellectual discussion would ever convey their
    meaning to someone who didn't get it directly from the music. That's
    what all of great art was about for 4000 years or so, until the
    modernists showed up and turned art into a self-aggrandizing sales
    pitch based on intellectual intimidation. Happily, that movement
    finally seems to be coming to a close (for some wonderful articles on
    this, check out http://www.artrenewal.org/).

    <p>

    So my recommendation for your theoretical studies assignment would be
    to go out and take six richly beautiful photographs. This will take a
    lot of creativity, really hard work and dedication, perseverance
    through many false starts and failures along the way, and personal
    sacrifice and introspection--things the post-modernists know nothing
    about; they would prefer to frame a piece of feces and call it a
    "photograph" and discuss all the theoretical issues it raises. Then,
    print your photos with technical competence and virtuosity and write a
    short essay to the effect that the meaning in these photos is not
    contained in any accompanying words and theories, but rather it's
    right there in the photos, available to anyone willing to show up and
    sit through them.

    <p>

    regards,

    <p>

    ~chris jordan (Seattle)

    <p>

    www.chrisjordanphoto.com
     
  4. to understand what post-modernism is first you need to really
    understand what modernism is, to put it simply (very simply)
    modernism is about purity, see the writtings of clement greenberg.
    Post modernism takes in modernist theory and adds history and an
    anything goes nothing is better than anything else attitude. Check
    out a book called post-modern currents, I can't remember the author
    off hand, also some good pomo info can be seen in arthur dantos' book
    on mark tansey called vision and revision, and lynn gumpert's book on
    christian boltanski, also look for a book called the rebirth of
    painting.
    Theory can be art if done correctly look at joeseph kutsuth work from
    the early 60's piecees like one and three chairs.
    If you have pictures that deal with theoritical issues they may or may
    not be pomo.
     
  5. Chris Jordan (Seattle) has hit the targer...dead center. Nice work
    Chris. Perhaps the original question, is a reflection on why most
    loarge format landscape photography is so damned boring! Landscape
    photographers would do well to study some of the work, and meaning,
    of the images of W.Eugene Smith, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, and
    others....and attempt to transfer some of that energy and meaning to
    their work....in landscape photography. Great photographs are
    MADE...not taken. Richard Boulware - Denver.
     
  6. Narrative and storytelling are a big part of postmodernism. This
    would fit in well with your assignment of six photographs. Read this
    short book: Jean-Fracois Lyotard, The PostModern Condition,
    University of Minnesota Press, 1979. Do a google search: Lyotard
    Post-Modernism. Take a quick look at:
    http://www.stevedenning.com/postmodern.html
     
  7. Oh no - not Pomophobia again...

    <p>

    I think the reason so much "rocks, lakes and trees" landscape
    photography is boring is because it has never moved beyond a certain
    pictorialist/classical/romantic outlook. Give me the visual challenge
    of Lynn Cohen or Gabriele Basillico or the Beckers any day.
     
  8. Tim, your comment is interesting-- it suggests that all there is out
    there is pomo and calendar landscapes. I think there's a lot
    inbetween. I wouldn't have considered the Bechers to be pomo artists,
    any more than Kenna, Misrach, or Andreas Gursky. Those are my
    favorite photographers, working in what I consider to be the
    aesthetic tradition of photography while doing work that is relevant
    and contemporary and personal. When I think of pomo I think of
    photographers like Cindy Sherman and Robert Heinecken (who never owned
    a camera), whose work is all about fiddling with the medium instead of
    producing images with depth and substance. Maybe I don't know enough
    about pomo though; I'd welcome your thoughts.

    <p>

    ~cj
     
  9. Do you start with an image or an idea? Much "graduate school
    photography" I can only describe as ideas in seach of an image. I
    still believe the best art of all kinds comes from being immersed in
    one's medium-light and shade, color, texture, shapes, division of
    space-if that is done honestly, elucidation and illumination will
    follow. If the former fits the post-modernist shoes, let them klop
    around in them. Thanks, Rebeca, for starting a great discussion. We
    all have artists we like. A good exercise might be sitting down and
    explaining why we DON'T like someone. But with the best photography,
    one needn't say a word-or explain it to others. Good job, Chris, in
    exposing the opposite.
     
  10. Just a post script. I had an exhibition years ago. One peice was of a
    chunk of snow and ice, taken on a frozen salt marsh. My aunt, who I
    dearly love, but has absolutly no artistic perception, at least none
    that I could see, said that the photograph reminded her of a HUGE
    PIECE of lemon merangue pie! Now the form of the ice is triangular,
    the configuration of a piece of pie, and I LOVE LEMON MERANGUE PIE!
    (any correlation to Weston's peppers, did he enjoy stuffed peppers?)

    <p>

    The morals of the story, when contemplating modernism, the meaning of
    art, remember to have a good meal and good drink before hand.
     
  11. "I wouldn't have considered the Bechers to be pomo artists, any more
    than Kenna, Misrach, or Andreas Gursky."

    <p>

    I'm with you there, Chris, if you substitute Thomas Struth for Gursky.
    Gursky's digital manipulation is just so heavy-handed, deleting and
    adding major portions of the subject for the sake of emphasizing the
    idea he's trying to convey, that I think of him (like Cindy Sherman)
    as more of a pomo artist who chooses to use a camera than as a
    photographer recording a real-world reality in the pre-postmodernist
    sense of the term (ala Bechers, Kenna, etc.).

    <p>

    Interesting discussion!

    <p>

    ...
     
  12. I guess it depends where you are coming from - my direction being
    more from architecture rather than the plastic arts and painting. In
    that sense I really see the Struthsky's, Basilico, Bechers etc
    (Possibly Misrach, but not Kenna - he's a Romantic) to be much more
    post "Learning from Las Vegas" than Corbusier. In architecture, pomo
    tends to have a slightly different meaning than in "art".

    <p>

    But then I also believe that photography has only a tenuous link to
    painting and drawing and is much more closely linked to poetry and
    possibly architecture (especially with it's combination of technical
    and aesthetic).

    <p>

    So it's probably more to do with perspective
     
  13. people like Chris Jordan are a deterrent to the evolving of art .
    How can you be so sure that only your view of "how and in what
    direction photography should evolve" is the right one?

    <p>

    Why don't you put some of your bitterness and anger in your
    work?
     
  14. Relevant to critique of Post-Modernism: Quote from Sir Herbert read,
    eminent Art Historian; "Art is about feelings. If one has ideas to
    express, the proper medium is language."
     
  15. I'd have more truck with post-modernism if the title itself weren't an
    oxymoron that shows utter contempt for, or total ignorance of,
    language and semantics.<br>I think this is at the very heart of the
    controversy. Are these guys deliberately challenging the very fabric
    of convention, or just talentless twats who are so egotistical that
    they think they're the only ones on earth to have discovered that life
    is trivial/short/brutal/ironic/whatever? Who knows? The work itself
    usually does nothing to enlighten anyone.<br>Until the proponents of
    this movement become literate and articulate enough to express their
    ideas clearly, in purely visual terms, and without some art-theory
    self-appointed guru printing a thesis beside every work, then the
    whole movement deserves all the contempt that it gets.
     
  16. The site Chris cited crashed my computer, but before it did, I saw
    enough to be sure that while I agree with some of his points, I'm sure
    not in agreement with him about what constitutes "good art." In fact,
    if it's narrative and storytelling that characterizes postmodern art,
    then the stuff at that site should fit perfectly, along with 19th
    century art photography that tried to replicate pre-Raphaelite
    painting. The main difference I see between any of the above and
    postmodern art is that the earlier work is marked by sentimentality
    and the more recent by irony, detachment and cynicism, which are the
    opposite side of the same coin and equally inimical to the creation of
    meaningful and lasting art, in my opinion. I wish I could remember
    where I read it and who said it, but in the last few days I've read a
    quote something to this effect: "Remember, postmodern art is the first
    postaudience art."

    <p>

    Also there was an interesting piece in the New Yorker a few weeks ago
    about the studio art department at Harvard, which suggested that art
    departments are starting to rethink their theory-laden programs and
    lean more toward studio programs.
     
  17. Post-Modernist theory, although it originated as an architectural movement, was meant to be a criticism of the dominant 'paradigm' of Modernism. The way we think about photography and art is a product of Modernism, we look to the painting, photograph, what-ever as a piece of ‘truth’ which is expressed by an individual. PoMo theory would suggest that there is much more expressed than an individual’s take on the world.
    I wonder how much PoMo theories have changed the way we think about art and photography; do we still believe (or did photographers ever believe) that a photograph is 'the truth'? I am hardly a Post-Modernist, but I think that to simply reject PoMo theory or art is a mistake, there are some insights offered by PoMo theory--perhaps even by photographers and artists-- which, IMHO, are useful and quite reasonable. Roland Barthes’ book (ok, he is actually a Post-Structuralist) Mythologies (1972) is a great place to begin.
     
  18. It took a little searching on my part to find out that "pomo" is
    short for "postmodernism." I was wondering what this had to do with
    a tribe of native Americans.

    <p>

    Coming from a poor white trash perspective (yes, my truck IS bigger
    than your Volvo), a lot of it looks like "the emperor is butt-nekked
    and there's a dog humping his leg." Most of the argument for it looks
    to me like a bunch of ad copy for crappy products.

    <p>

    From the Merriam-Webster dictionary, modernism: "3 : modern artistic
    or literary philosophy and practice; especially : a self-conscious
    break with the past and a search for new forms of expression"

    <p>

    Now if we prefix "post-" to it, that would mean that the search for
    new forms of expression is over. Looks like they haven't found
    anything of value, and have wound up face down in the ditch.

    <p>

    The "rocks, lakes, trees" bunch are also post-modern, having skipped
    modernism altogether. While their product is derided because it
    graces calendars, it IS there BECAUSE it's worth looking at for a
    whole month at a time by a large mass of people.

    <p>

    Now then, Rebeca, as to what you might photograph: How about taking
    concepts such as truth, beauty, honesty, love, virtue, and integrity,
    and showing how they AREN'T found in postmodernism?
     
  19. When 42nd Street was waiting to be turned into Giuliani's Disneyland,
    there was a cinema marquee displaying 'Art is either revolution or
    plagiarism'. Think about it. By the way, the Seattle photographer who
    posted this really funny message, might also be a little open to the
    suggestion that beautiful, decorative images have their own role,
    which need not be 'art'. Most photographers are not artists, in
    particular many LF ones, who pick other people's brains about 'good
    locations' to make the so-manieth shot of that rock or what have
    you...
     
  20. The problem I've always had was that po mo seemed (to me) as just a
    game to see who is more clever or more strange. I've seen
    some "stuff" that to me was just junk, and had several paragraphs of
    more "junk" that tried to explain how good or important the picture
    is... usually with lots of five dollar words and obscure references
    to other five dollar words. I got the feeling that the "artist" was
    just trying to convince us that he is smarter than we are. <YAWN>
    If a photo can't sell itself on its own merits without pages
    of "newspeak", then it's crap.
     
  21. Respectfully, Steve, 'on its own merit' does not exist. It is always
    the viewer's choice.
     
  22. the fallacious concept that "art is either revolution or plagarism" is
    the tragic core of the modern and post-modern movements. art students
    are taught today that to create "real" art, you have to completely
    redefine your medium with each piece.

    <p>

    In fact, art history teaches that every great work of art, music and
    literature has been influenced by what came before it. for example,
    many people consider Bach to be the greatest artist who has yet lived,
    but by current postmodern standards his pieces would have been scorned
    as highly derivative of those of Vivaldi and the whole Baroque
    movement that had been going on for quite some time before Bach. Bach
    didn't re-invent anything--he worked within the structure of his time
    and applied his genius in a way that raised the bar slightly on
    everything that had come before him. So with Shapespeare, who worked
    within the poetic structure of his time (iambic pentameter). Until
    postmodernism, that's all any artist aspired to.

    <p>

    That's not to say that great works of art are COPIES of preview works;
    the concept of copying (plagarism) is vastly different from working
    within a tradition and accepting--welcoming--influences by other
    artists. Otherwise, by rejecting all influences and craft as being
    "plagarism,", one is stuck trying to create a revolution, with no
    tools that are considered legitimate (because to use them would be
    copying others), no craft that is accepted as legitmate (for the same
    reason), and no aesthetic standards (for the same reason). The result
    of this is that the post-modern artist is forced into a state of
    primitivism. And hence, by no surprise, the product sucks.

    <p>

    David, your comments were wonderful-- I'll carry a couple of your
    nuggest around with me to pull out at just the right moment.

    <p>

    and, hey domenico, i'm most definitely NOT sure that my view is the
    right one; it's just my own opinion, which is always open to change
    based on well-considered discussion. how about you-- do you have any
    opinions or well-considered comments, or are you satisifed with random
    sniping at the opinions of others? your approach to date appears most
    un-european; i know you can do better.

    <p>

    now i think i'll go have a piece of lemon meringue pie while i don my
    asbestos jacket...

    <p>

    ~cj
     
  23. It is no wonder that the rise and influence of pomo in photography
    parallels that of television and now the internet. The public has
    less attention span and less time to interpret images. the way you
    get the attention is to produce shocking, in your face sensationalist
    images. Nothing is about substance and content anymore. Once you get
    past the facade of many of these images there is nothing there. They
    are souless attempts at attracting eyeballs and appealling to the
    lowest common denominator.

    <p>

    The popularity of these images as evidenced by their predominance in
    many galleries and due to the fact that most of the buying public s
    wants that same shock value on their walls to show others and pretend
    they have some knowledge about photography.

    <p>

    I have seen pomo work at galleries in Chicago and New York, and I
    don't remember any that I would want to return to ever see again, let
    alone hang on my wall to see everyday.

    <p>

    Most of the work is so pretentious it screams, "it's all about me!"
    And just in case you can't figure that out, there is always a essay
    or piece by the photographer that explains how bad his life sucks or
    how much of a victim he is etc.

    <p>

    Of course there may be a few good ones out there. But IMHO most of
    it is simply the work of people who are to lazy to learn another
    medium, to lazy to understand and appreciate the history and
    foundations of art, and especially to lazy to learn how to use a
    camera.
     
  24. Did someone wonder why I was amused at the propect of a POMOphobia
    discussion on here? well:

    <p>

    > If a photo can't sell itself on its own merits without pages
    > of "newspeak", then it's crap.

    <p>

    It was because of this kind of totally unconstructive knee-jerk
    response which comes up every time (funilly enough it nearly always
    includes the use of the word "crap" - as has been amply demonstrated
    in this thread).

    <p>

    Probably down to a phobia or fear of something unknown or
    incomprehensible to the individual. But, to dismiss work as "crap"
    just because you don't or can't get it - it's just laziness really.

    <p>

    I'm enjoying the constructive discussion, but if we just want to
    throw the term crap around - hey, lets look at some Adams stuff or
    maybe Kenna or whoever...! Wow, that's sure easy to do - end of
    discussion. you can't argue with that statement now, can you.

    <p>

    Okay - just kidding about the latter two.
     
  25. hey Rebeca, what are your thoughts/reactions so far?
     
  26. "3 : modern artistic or literary philosophy and practice;
    especially : a self-conscious break with the
    past and a search for new forms of expression" .....That includes
    any and everybody who decides to take up photography or the Arts or
    whatever. Everybody beleives they can be a little different and
    somehow bring a new wrinkle to the party.

    <p>

    Picasso or whoever the hell it was said that 'everybody steals,
    it's just that some people disquise it better than others', there is
    no art that is brand new or totally different, it's all connected.

    <p>

    I admire Shakespeare as a playwright, but nobody talks that much
    during lovemaking.

    <p>

    All this macaroni about classifications, the only classification
    that means anything is whether it's good or lousy, regardless of
    whether it's Classical, Jazz, Pop, Pictorialism, or the abrasion
    process.

    <p>

    A 'Blank Canvas' and flicking splatters of paint onto a large
    canvas spread out onto the floor is not Art. One has nothing in it,
    and the other has absolutely no frame of reference, a lot of people
    produce stuff, they don't have any more of an idea of what it is than
    whoever's looking at it, unlike the best abstract Art which always had
    something you could latch onto.
     
  27. postmodernism - comes from architecture! an interpretation of old
    styled buildings in a new way - somtimes with no function. it´s over
    for round 10 years.
    marcus schwier
     
  28. Dear chris,
    Please tell me how an "european approach " is supposed to be
    like, my snobbish friend.
    You tell me that all i do is to snipe to the opinion of others, what i
    tell you is that i cannot stand gratuitous destructive critique of
    other artists work if the source shows ignorance and a certain
    lack of open mindedness.
    Further on i have only been sniping at you only , Chris, at nobody
    else..

    <p>

    I get outraged when i see people criticising other people effort
    to express themselves. Just say that you don't like their work,
    don't be so pretencious as if you were the torch bearer of the
    right approach to photography.
    Remember that photography itself in the times of Daguerre
    had been seen as an heresy....
    You say that what you state is only an opinion and that you are
    ready to an open debate of some sort ...
    If it is only your opinion how can you tell Rebecca all that , as if it
    was carved in stone?
    I am not interested to change your mind with a debate , because
    yours is an attitude , not a position where you place yourself in
    the artworld.
    You show not only ignorance but an underlying frustration as an
    artist .....
    \Grow my friend, grow
     
  29. "Quot capita, tot sensus" (There are as many opinions as there are
    heads.) --Terentius

    <p>

    Domenico: If a person states an opinion then states their
    perspective, they're free to do it. Personally, I only get riled
    when the person stating another opinion doesn't also state an
    alternative. I like to hear about alternatives, and especially a
    short, concise statement of philosophy. If you want to really take a
    look at Chris' own photography, take a look at his website, and then
    see how what he says here matches with what he prints. As far as I'm
    concerned, that's the real test.

    <p>

    One thing I have found out about photography: I almost always think
    to myself, "why oh why did you point your camera that way?" When I
    view a number of modern photographers, I think to myself, "Wow! What
    a shrewd marketing genius this person must be!" or else "What a load
    of crap!"

    <p>

    I think that artwork should invigorate a person. If it invigorates
    me as much as my home-roasted coffee, so much the better. I don't
    see that with "postmodern" photography. I don't like the idea that a
    photograph should leave you feeling violated or drained. I call it
    as I see it: garbage. I really think that the people who produce
    that drek know it for what it is, and then they spend their time
    writing their ad copy to sell it.
     
  30. Brian:

    <p>

    Or, to quote that great Moral Philosopher, Larry Flint: "Opinions are
    like assholes- everybody has one". Or- Louis Armstrong on Jazz: "If
    you have to have it explained, you'll never understand it".

    <p>

    If you want to get enmeshed in sopme real post-modern(even the use
    of "pomo" is an example of Post Modernist morbidity) fecal matter,
    try listening to the justification of the Post WW 1 Vienese trauma of
    12 tone serial music. Finally after 80 years of Webern, Berg and too
    many others, music is again an emotional expression to which we can
    sing dance.

    <p>

    Cheers
     
  31. Art is the ability to view life differently through the
    inspiration of another, those who can provide that inspiration on a
    consistent basis are Artists and Artisans, although Art, and Artistry
    can come albeit accidentally from anybody.

    The Art of true friendship, the Art of love, the Art of living,
    all involve the inspiration gotten from another and/or their
    paintings, sculptures, writings, performance Art, or whatever conduit
    this inspiration travels through.
     
  32. This is a lot of fun.

    <p>

    Brian,everybody is entitled to an opinion, i agree with you, but
    when somebody asks informations about something that's all
    He or she Should get( in this case Rebecca) ,.
    She was asking for informations not opinions.

    <p>

    Brian,Why are you so interested in my opinion?
    why is so important to you?
    If you are an artist in the true sense of the word you should
    understand that there are no clean cut denominations, evrything
    blends together .

    <p>

    You say that Art is supposed to invigorate the viewer:
    invigorate,...it could be...
    Art has many different aims , it can caress people estetics, it can
    challenge people estetics, it can riaffirm people's view of life, but
    it can also challenge it.
    It can shake people beliefs, it can be a social commentarie, it
    can have a spiritual connotations, it can offend some people and
    and riaffirm other people views.
    Art can also leave you feeling crappy.
    Art , in its true essence is a huge deal, has a higher goal than
    that of hanging off your walls.
    If people want to break loose from stagnant rules that keep art
    as a mere rapresentation of form , without any substance to it ,
    they deserve all my respect. Will i like it? It doesn't matter.
    If a work doesn't have depth, i will not tear the artist to pieces. I
    will hope that something will happen in his or her life to get in
    those depths where an artist can strive,

    <p>

    You cannot just generalize talking about PoMo how you call it, it
    is a simplistic way of hiding your ignorance.
    There are among what some of you call Post-Modern
    photographers, plenty of extremely talented ones.
    What you and Chris Jordan don't like , is the fact they challenge
    the idea of how a camera , or film or paper or any other
    photographic tool should be used.
    An artist should be free to get to his or her goal by any means
    necessary.
    You see , in art especially there should be no" shoulds".
    I . personally , don't like the work of Ansel Adams , but i own all
    his books because the man has done to photography such a
    service with his technical knowledge.
    Chris Jordan defines the work of PoMo photographers
    recognisable for the burnt edges in the prints etc, but maybe he
    is not aware that Durhkroop in the late 1800 was applyng "tricky
    edge effects" in his gorgeous bromoils.
    Also how can we deny the artistic value of works from people
    like Drtikol, Tomatsu, Rainer, Maar, Whitkin?
    There are so many more.....
    Why are we so adamant against the work of other people?
    Why don't we realise that it is really our problem if we are so
    outraged by it?
    How can we espect that the creative process should be dealt by
    other artists in the way we conceive it?
    I have given my view that you wanted, i could have been more
    specific , but as i said before i have no intention to change
    anybody's opinions.
    I will stand alone (sigh!), by my ideas in this ocean of "purists".
     
  33. > The "rocks, lakes, trees" bunch are also post-modern, having >
    skipped
    > modernism altogether. While their product is derided because it
    > graces calendars, it IS there BECAUSE it's worth looking at for a
    > whole month at a time by a large mass of people.

    <p>


    And then, of course, happily dispossed of after 30 day. It's decor.

    <p>



    <p>

    > and
    > print them with tricky edge effects and other gimmicks (such as
    > enormous size and cutesy frames) to hide their pathetic lack of
    > substance,

    <p>

    Why the issue with printing things big? I've always felt it rather
    strange that we always insist on printing things in minature?

    <p>


    tim
     
  34. > The "rocks, lakes, trees" bunch are also post-modern, having
    >skipped
    > modernism altogether. While their product is derided because it
    > graces calendars, it IS there BECAUSE it's worth looking at for a
    > whole month at a time by a large mass of people.

    <p>


    And then, of course, happily dispossed of after 30 day. It's decor.

    <p>



    <p>

    > and
    > print them with tricky edge effects and other gimmicks (such as
    > enormous size and cutesy frames) to hide their pathetic lack of
    > substance,

    <p>

    Why the issue with printing things big? I've always felt it rather
    strange that we always insist on printing things in minature?

    <p>


    tim
     
  35. I waited a while before replying to those who replied to me. It
    seems that anyone who has no use for postmodernism (me) is obviously
    ignorant or stupid. I still think most if not all of it is worthless
    self-posturing. There are many many photographs that need no words
    to accompany them and so they indeed *stand on their own*. Given a
    choice, I prefer the "rocks and trees" work. I prefer well made
    portraits also. It's not that I don't get it, maybe the problem is
    that I do get it. Let's say I decide to photograph road kills, and
    then write a lot of words about how it parallels the futility of life
    (a little nihilism for flavoring). Or, I pee in the snow and
    photograph it and then say it represents the fleeting nature of
    existence. Is it art? No, it is still junk. Now suppose I
    deliberately break all the "rules" of good composition and good
    lighting, and then for fun, screw up the development too. Is it
    art? No, it's garbage. Now if I buy a bunch of worms at the bait
    shop, dip them in paint and then drop them on a canvas to crawl
    around, someone will call it art and buy it (that really happened a
    few years ago). Another "expert" waxed poetic about a painting that
    was nothing more than the scrawlings of a chimpanzee. So what is
    art, and why do we have to like whatever the hucksters present to
    us???
     
  36. Steve, nobody said stupid.
    And i realized just now that when i said ignorant i was wrong ,
    even though wasn't intended with malice.
    I take it back and i apologize for what i said , sometimes as a
    Mediterranean , i am too passionate, and let my emotions seep
    through.
    What i should have said was " afraid".

    <p>

    I think is a mistake restrict photography to thet raditional role that
    has had so far for the most part,, in a way i define myself a
    trditional photographer ,sometime i enjoy to break loose in my
    work, but for me composition, tonal values, and other important
    quality i are still vital in my images.
    I believe that when we reject new ideas, because they go against
    our s, we are just giving voice to our fears.

    <p>

    This behaviour restricts the potential of photography, which is
    truly vast.
    We have in our hands a series of tools that can give many
    different characteristics to our finished images...
    How many times has anybody had a voice inside that wanted to
    do something against the grain i n an image and refrained from
    doing it just because of self-censorship?
     
  37. Not only has there been monkey business,.....there was a well
    documented case of about 20yrs ago of an Elephant making big money for
    his paintings. Everybody know from the start it was an Elephant and
    he still made money.
     
  38. So while everyone is going quiet around the dying fire I'll just
    shove another wet log in the coals(a few disapproving grimaces from
    across the settling cloud of sparks and ash). Ah-hem... Forgive my
    interrupting the cricket in the background, but I always thought that
    many forms of art(skills really) are almost like dots surrounding a
    ball, all connected to it in tentacles growing in size as it
    approaches the surface(pro-pomo people present will probably have no
    problem visualising this, alas in some randomly twisted way). If you
    are in the state of mind that places you at one(or many) of these
    points then you are a purist(a master maybe or trying to master a
    craft). A voyage towards the edge takes you further away from
    mathematical precision and closer to chaos, aka the ball, where
    things are rarely repeatable and often includes illegal substances
    (probably related). In there anything goes. Elephants painting,
    edge effects, digital effects(sorry), worms drowning in paint, hippy
    young people subjecting mediums(the points) and sometimes themselves
    to a variety of strange new experiences and generally pomo aplenty -
    much of which should bypass censorship all together and be plucked
    out of existence. Naturally those at the points will disapprove of
    those further down(somewhat akin to road rage when the 'assholes'
    drive faster than you and the 'idiots' drive slower). Fwiw, I
    personally don't mind those skimming at the edge, it makes for new
    art 'points' to be pulled out into outer perfection, the ball is
    after all where a lot of creation takes place(those pro-pomo around
    the fire are probably staring perplexed at the embers by now, the
    others are in various states of siesta and by the sound of it the
    cricket's still hoping he'll get a humpin before morning)

    <p>

    I know a potter who explicitly makes bowls, vases, plates and such
    mundane crockery to perfection. Asking her to make anything that
    vaguely falls below her standards is nothing short of an insult, and
    rightly so. She is a master at what she makes, anyone who ever saw
    her work would agree, whether or not it would grace the walls of
    some 'fashion museum', awaiting judgement. And that is just my
    point, if you make something and wish many other people to see it
    then you should be 100% prepared for criticism. But on top of that,
    if someone thinks it is post modern(again, it depends only on where
    on the tentacle they are stuck) then you'd better exchange yours for
    a QuickLight2000[TM] Torch instead(Or the XP version if you are one
    of those who are fooled by midnight commercials). Not exactly 2
    cents, I suppose. If you're pro-pomo YMMV a lot. :)
     
  39. Well put Riaan. I kind of nodded off at one point, but the rythm of
    your words was very pleasant.<p>William Blake condensed the essence of
    artistic and spiritual aspiration in the phrase "To see the world in a
    grain of sand".<br>I would hope that anyone with any artisitic leaning
    has their moments of sublime understanding, where that phrase
    expresses their state of mind and spirit perfectly. However, it takes
    an exceptional artist to convey that feeling in their work, and even
    more rarely does that work convey those same feelings to every
    beholder. The fact that there isn't always a direct connection between
    the artist and their every viewer doesn't mean that the whole process
    is wrong.<br>Yes, we all percieve a work in a different and individual
    way. But no, no, NO, that doesn't give the 'artist' the right to show
    us any old *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*; on the understanding that we'll put our own
    interpretation on it anyway.<br>The difference is: between Blake
    penning a poem which expressed his feeling of spiritual oneness with
    the godhead and the universe, and him simply showing us a grain of
    sand and letting us draw our own conclusions.<br>One approach takes
    the courage to bare one's soul; the other doesn't even have the
    courage of its own convictions.<p>If art reflects life, then I suppose
    a post-modern movement is only to be expected. After all, we have
    a society which hero-worships and highly rewards some of its least
    useful members, and in which many individuals seek to aportion blame
    for every unpalatable aspect of their lives. We also have 'content
    free' theatre, television and politics. Why not a content-free art
    movement, where the artist denies any responsibility to their
    audience?
     
  40. A toilet seat has nothing in it until you supply the contents.
     
  41. Pete, I'm right there with you on those comments-- very well put. I
    agree that the postmodern movement was inevitable because art reflects
    the culture of its time, and this is what's going on in our time.
    But, to me that's a sad, pessimistic result. My own opinion and hope,
    is that artists view their role as ELEVATING, rather than merely
    accepting and reflecting, the state of the world they live in. So, if
    an artist believes we live in a disjointed out-of-focus soul-less
    society, than that's all the more reason to work harder than ever to
    change that by producing works of depth and character and substance,
    rather than simply taking disjointed out-of-focus soul-less
    photographs.

    <p>

    To me, the latter approach is a cop-out. It allows the artist (sadly)
    to sit back and passively accept and wallow in the negativity he
    perceives, without making the effort to discover and capture substance
    or beauty or meaning in the world (and in his life). If all artists
    followed such a path, then the result would be a slow downward
    spiral-- crappy culture leads to crappy art, which influences culture
    to be more crappy, and so on. That's the message I want to whisper in
    the ears of PoMo artists: art influences people, including your own
    self, so put out the effort to make yours good!

    <p>

    ~cj
     
  42. This is one of the good things of Art, it gives different impression
    and meaning to each viewer.
    What the previous poster sees as acceptance of the state of the
    world we live in i interpret it as a rebellion and critique and
    description of the alienation human being are experiencing.

    <p>

    What i see in many landscape photographer instead is a total
    denial of what's going on in and around themselves and use
    their craft as a form of self-masturbation.
    Having said this , i will also say that. probably both sides have a
    legitimate space. You cannot always be in owe of nature and you
    cannot always look at reality with a critical eye. The exhistence of
    both is necessary .
    The shame is that some individuals are not aware that at the
    end we are all working for the same purpose, and allow
    themselves to be so negative toward other people work.
    That's a shame.
     

Share This Page