What type of photography does William Eggleston do?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by tom_kondrat, Sep 2, 2021.

  1. Would i dare mention again that the genre in general is called Kitchen Sink?
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2021
  2. From Szarkowski’s Intro to William Eggleston’s Guide …
  3. I haven't a clue of what you're talking about. I'll experience W.E.'s art democratically:)
  4. It seems that Szarkowski is basically saying "don't listen to him, it's b.s., listen to me. And I wouldn't be surprised if W.E. would purposely go contrary to some of Szarkowski's presentments simply because, at least in his writing, he seemed to take himself so damned seriously.
  5. If you read the statements of yours I quoted, you may see them as I do, as competitive, focused on whose words are more interesting in your mind, Eggleston’s or Szarkowski’s, and whose explanations are better, Eggleston’s or the folks in this thread. I’m telling you that rather than concern myself with who’s more interesting and who has better explanations, I’m prone to taking it all in and getting what I can out of all of it. So, while you’re experiencing Eggleston’s art democratically, I am as well. The difference is I’m also experiencing opinions and explanations democratically, which may interestingly be nicely compatible with Eggleston’s work. You seem to be treating the artist as more of an authoritarian in terms of his statements about his own work, something I think Eggleston might well reject.
  6. Okay Sam if you say so. You might note that I said I would at least start with the horse's mouth. Seems to imply that other takes would be useful too. It would be ironic for me to say he is an authoritarian the same time I'm echoing his statement of photographing "democratically". You seem to want to put words in my mouth. All I said is I'm more interested in Eggleston's discussion of his work, then others. Is that a problem?
  7. Your treating him authoritatively (authoritarian seemed to work in opposition to democratic but was too hyperbolic on my part) is different from your calling him authoritative. That’s the irony. You know he’s not an authoritative kind of guy yet you give his words authority over others, like Szarkowski, who’ve had great insights as well as the benefit of objectivity and historical expertise. I take them side by side. You take one before the other. I will let you decide which seems more democratic.
    It’s not a problem for you to do so. It would be a problem for me to do so. A problem for me … because I’m equally interested in both.
  8. To expand, the weight I give to an explanation is often determined more on the substance of what’s said than who said it. Of course, there are times when being the artist will give some priority to what the artist says, more often about his process than about his own art. But there are times when I’ll give more weight to what a critic has to say if I think he’s bringing in art historical knowledge and significant aesthetic concepts that are relevant to the things he’s saying. A critic can be supercilious, overly pedantic, or off track. An artist can be self indulgent, intentionally evasive or downright full of b.s. So, I start out by giving anyone commenting an equal chance, most often determining the weight I give them by what they say. Sometimes, their history as a commentator will play a role in the weight I give them. But, no, I don’t think artists, or Eggleston in particular, are necessarily deserving of more of my interest in their words because they’re the ones who made the art. I think there are some great thinkers who better tap into verbal descriptions and insights.
    Allen Herbert likes this.
  9. I surrender Sam :) Thanks for sharing your opinion and beliefs.
    q.g._de_bakker likes this.
  10. How to speak volumes with subtext. Well done.
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  11. Well said too.
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  12. "there are times when being the artist will give some priority to what the artist says, more often about his process than about his own art. But there are times when I’ll give more weight to what a critic has to say if I think he’s bringing in art historical knowledge and significant aesthetic concepts that are relevant to the things he’s saying"


    An Artist knows their work, because it is their work.. Or, to put it in a simple way, they created it. Yes, a critic, can put a floral display around the Art, but they are a outsider, not the creator, of that Art.

    Their Art is creating the flower display, which in a sense is an Art. However, the Art is not theirs, only the Artist understand their Art and what they are communicating with it.
  13. Plainly and simply ... false.
  14. "Plainly and simply ... false." Sam

    Then they would need their Art to be explained to them, as obviously they do not understand their own Art.

  15. Uh, no. What’s false is what you said: “only the artist understands their art”

    What you’re, falsely, saying is that no one else does. Lots of people understand an artist’s art. Some understand it similarly to the way the artist does. Some differently. The artist doesn’t get to dictate how everyone understands the art. Most artists know to let their art live outside the confines of their own understanding, unless they’re really, really myopic and self-centered.

    Many an open-minded artist has had things explained to them about their art they hadn’t thought of. Only an egocentric fop thinks they’re the only one who understands what they created.
  16. "We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell
    In reference to the Talmud

    In saying that he was photographing democratically perhaps Eggleston was de‧cat‧e‧go‧ris‧ing his work from the labels of others... street, document, snapshot. In doing so he was reacting and photographing with his unique voice. Not making statements just responding to composition, color, shapes, light...

    Nakahira and other provoke photographers were not as focused on the object as subject but photography itself the subject and motivation. So classification becomes irrelevant to the creator. They or others created their own names - post war, bure.boke, provoke...
    “This is it! That is it! These photographs I make public here are from my conclusion about photography for the moment!” TN
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2021
  17. I appreciate the references and this way of thinking about Eggleston and classification or categorization.

    It leads me to consider that what an artist does or thinks needn't be copied by curators, theorists, critics, or academics, so the latter might be predisposed to use categorization as a mechanism of understanding, insight, and entrance into a world previously unknown. The irony of reading about art is often how disparate the idea of explanations and descriptions can be with the more gut level experiences of art itself, but once that disparity is recognized and put into its place, the explanations and descriptions can sometimes still form nice, if sometimes uneasy, relationships with the art.

    I'm also thinking about Neo-categorizations, such as Neo-classicism. And even other less identified but still intentional hearkenings back to the past. It's possible that some early classifications, which identified themes, styles, and tropes of a given time or school of art have been helpful to later artists who wanted to build on or have a dialogue with their artist ancestors. Even if the classification itself wasn't the key, those themes which the classifiers recognized as significant to the period can and have had a great impact on many artists who seek to recreate, not in the sense of mimicry or necessarily even homage, but in the sense of building on and taking up an old set of operations with a new set of eyes and decades or centuries of intellectual and artistic progress to put into the endeavor.
  18. "... to use categorization as a mechanism of understanding, insight, and entrance into a world previously unknown"
    For sure.
    Like Tom, maybe, i don't know how to answer people when they ask what kind of photography i do. I stumble through a series of easily known categories. B&W primarily not always, eclectic, sometimes street, nudes, abstracts, documents, gut, yada yada. I name a few well known photographers or artists as examples but it's clumsy. Descriptive And distracting imo. i often feel ill equipped to answer with the coherence desired.
    I like letting photos speak for themselves and hearing the creator's intent and also the context and perspective of smart informed viewers, curators, reviews.
  19. reminded of a Moriyama video i saw and enjoyed... Tom's remarks and use of video (which I found an interesting way to layer & involve the viewer)... It occurred to me that often the info about process and motivation or intent provided by the photographer carries significant weight for me. The info from viewers and informed reviewers regarding style and historical context moves it beyond the frame where once released art dwells... often with more or less depth than intended.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2021
  20. That’s why there are curators, friends, and smart alecs out there. They can do that for you while you go out and make new uncategorized pics.
    I think the next generation of iPhones will allow your pictures to talk.

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