Controversial day

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by severian, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. severian

    severian Member

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    Every semester I have a class period that I call controversial day. I do not make it mandatory. I this class I show photographs and photographers that are and have been considered controversial. I tell the class that these are photographs that you will find on the walls of the great museums of the world and not at the local adult book store. I line up the usual suspects. Lewis Carroll, Jock Sturges, Mappelthorpe , Joel Peter Witkin and Serrano. I always get the feeling that there should be more. Who am I missing? Who are or were the controversial female photographers? Suggestions please.
    Jack B
     
  2. Pastiche

    Pastiche Member

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    Robert Heinecken
     
  3. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Lucas Samaras
    Cindy Sherman
    Francesca Woodman
     
  4. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Find some early Sally Mann. Diane Arbus would be another photographer.
     
  5. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Agreed, Mann, and Arbus are good examples. In paticular, Arbus' photos of the mentally ill. The work was incomplete at the time of her death, and the estate published a book posthumously to some controversy.

    You might also include Nan Goldin.
     
  6. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Would also include Avedon in with the others, some of his work in the 60's & 70's is more likely to be found in adult stores than museum walls. Would include many of the war photographers - because their work showed the world what war was like (that could almost be several weeks by itself).
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think Timothy Greenfield-Sanders tried to be controversial with _XXX_, but maybe porn stars aren't that controversial anymore, and maybe he humanized them too much, which made for something much more interesting than controversy.

    Is it only the body that is controversial? What about Robert Adams or Mark Klett?
     
  8. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Jack,

    Andrea Modica: From her book “Human Being” the pictures in platinum of skulls dug up at a mental hospital near Denver, each skull filling an image. Many of the skulls cracked and one or more has a bullet hole.

    Pictures from Andrea’s book “Barbara”, the abstract, emotional, near death portraits in platinum of the girl studied in “Treadwell”, as she dies, in extreme agony, age 21,
    bloated from diabetes.

    John Powers
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Leni Riefenstahl's photographs of the Nuba.
     
  10. steve

    steve Member

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    David Hockney because he thoroughly deconstructs the idea of 1 exposure = 1 photograph.
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    How many years after Rejlander?
     
  12. ineffablething

    ineffablething Member

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    Hans Bellmer
     
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  14. laz

    laz Member

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    Bruce Weber (although you will have trouble getting one of those giant homoerotic Abercrombie shots through the classroom door! :smile:)
     
  15. severian

    severian Member

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    Geddes

    run fast
     
  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  17. severian

    severian Member

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    Suzanne,
    Why were the Arbus mentally ill pictures considered controversial?
    Jack
     
  18. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Jack,
    At the time they were published,which I believe was sometime in the late 80's, the mentally ill were treated far differently than they were at the time she made the photographs. It would have been unlikely that she would have had the kind of access that she enjoyed. Partly, I think, the issue, was proper permission. The administrators of the hospitals gave permission, not necessarily the patients. Also, the estate apparently was pretty tight lipped about who her subjects were, and which hospitals she photographed in. Some people felt that since the work was incomplete, and she never published it, then it shouldn't be considered part of her ouvre, and that the estate was out to get a quick buck. It's hard to know what her intentions were with the work, or the intetntions of her estate, but I think the work is historically significant.

    This was all brought up far more lucidly in a series of "Letters to the Editor" by two different authors to some magazine. I have not been able to find my copy of the essays, or the authors. If I find them, I'd be happy to mail copies to you. If I don't find them, I could probably track them down.
     
  19. reggie

    reggie Member

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    Connie Imboden.

    I'm not sure if she is controversial, but her images are strong and sometimes disturbing.

    -R
     
  20. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    Ralph Gibson has some dicey stuff.
     
  21. Will S

    Will S Member

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    Frederick Sommer's amputated foot photo for certain. The nun who wrote into Aperture certainly helped generate some sales for them... I find the dead coyote pictures and the chicken pictures unsettling as well.

    David what's his name - English (or French?) guy who does portraits of (very) young women nude. But there is nothing unsettling about the pictures other than the age of his models from what I have seen of them.

    Those creepy shots of children in costumes by Anne Geddes are stomach turning. And the guy who shoots the Weimaraners.. Absolutely frightening...


    Best,

    Will
     
  22. severian

    severian Member

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    one we forgot

    Great, great suggestions but we all forgot, including me, Larry Clarke

    Jack
     
  23. severian

    severian Member

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    Will,
    I always thought the weimereimers were funny
    Jack
     
  24. Struan Gray

    Struan Gray Member

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    A bit hung up on bodies so far...

    Anne Geddes as a nice exemplar of the difference between art and illustration. When you think about how often photographers are advised to invent their own distinctive visual language, and to market themselves well, it's amazing how much scorn gets heaped on her head.

    James Nachtwey for making beauty from others' pain.

    The (mostly) anonymous photographers in the Without Sanctuary project for, well, all kinds of reasons.

    Martin Parr: laughing at versus laughing with.

    Wegman: birch or cat 'o' nine tails.
     
  25. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Larry Clarke. Yeah, man. I found a copy of Tulsa in a used book store for $12. It is the absolute best "anti-drug" education one could possibly find.