Discuss a Melanie Manchot photograph

Discussion in 'Discussing a ****** Photograph' started by catem, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. catem

    catem Member

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    Melanie Manchot is a photographer who interests me, especially her work in the Ukraine, and also her pictures of her ageing mother.

    I've included a link with a bit of text as well as pictures - it was the images of her mother I was firstly most interested in hearing people's views about.

    To me it addresses the whole concept of 'the female nude' in a rather different way...

    http://photo.box.sk/about.php3?id=26

    Cate
     
  2. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    My first thought: Jo Spence's work from twenty years ago, but with artsy effects which I really don't like. Sorry.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  3. catem

    catem Member

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    You don't have to apologise! I'm quite impartial about it - just interested in peoples' responses.
    I think Jo Spence's work was wonderful - but maybe a bit different in that she was documenting her disease aswell, which made took it onto another level a bit (more complex maybe, and possibly more profound).

    There was one of Manchot's mother which I did like which was put on a billboard, can't find it just at the moment but will try....
    Cate
     
  4. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    My carefully considered response: Phooey.
     
  5. catem

    catem Member

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    Care to elucidate?

    Do you mean her pictures or her words?

    I think it may be a case of her pics working better without words.....and I wasn't so impressed by her 'kissing project'; but found her pics of her mother interesting...

    BTW I heard her speak in 'real life' and she comes over as a thoughtful, sincere, and quite 'ordinary' (in the best sense) kind of person....perhaps not as pretentious as this article makes her sound....
     
  6. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I found it quite disgusting.
     
  7. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Disgusting seems to be the wrong word here, and I'm not sure her use of it adds to the work. I think exploring the female form that's not "ideal" is a good place to think about aging, and mortality. But, as said above, this work is a little too "arty", and ultimately, tries to hide that form. Why? When, and not to put too fine a point on it, many of us may in fact have such figures :tongue:

    Is aging, and mortality disgusting? Hope not... we are all careening quickly in that direction. I just wish this work were executed more beautifully, and less muddily. It might be more provacative.
     
  8. catem

    catem Member

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    It's funny because I actually hadn't seen these works before I posted them, and I agree there's something about the black and white......the others I've seen are in colour, taken with quite bright lighting and couldn't be called 'muddy'; anyway, quite different. Though I wouldn't call these 'disgusting' in any way and didn't think before that she would have done ....maybe I'm not searching effectively but I can't get one of the colour ones to link....
     
  9. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Perhaps, but it is my opinion of her work.
     
  10. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Disgusting? Yes. Too arty? Yes.

    Joyce Tennyson does a much better job, and a more honest job, of the same concept.
     
  11. catem

    catem Member

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    Do you think you could post a link to one? It would be interesting to compare...
    Cate
     
  12. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Here's a link to her work. http://www.tenneson.com/ Not sure which work Alex is referring to, but she has a series of portraits called "Wise Women" and another called "Amazing Men".

    There are some great protraits, but all these people are famous in some way. So it's a bit different in the premise than portraits of "normal" folks, but the portraits really do show lives well lived, if not a little pampered!
     
  13. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Not my type of work, but I would congratulate the artist for moving out of the mainstream and trying something different. Hopefully they will find it really did not work, but learn from it and produce a new body of work that does.

    Suzanne, has some very valid points and most of all..no matter what we do, we are all heading down the road to aging. It may not be beauty in the sense that we have all learned to see it, but it is beauty in many other ways...our bodies will fail us, and for other the mind will fail as well..but it is better to 'see' those that have attained a place in life, that we all should hope to arrive at. The alternative would be never getting to that point...I for one look forward to the aging one way or the other.
     
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  15. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    As a person in the age group of her mother, I find these pictures of her mother interesting.

    Also as a person who has used public saunas all around Australia and a lot of western Europe, I find the way her mother has been shown on that link provided, normal.

    We at various stages of life, view things quite differently.

    I've never heard of this photographer before, never seen her work before, I would like to see more of her work.

    What she has done is different, I find that refreshing.

    Mick.
     
  16. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I worked in health care so long that they neither disturb or disgust me. I feel neutral toward them. It's a fact that a lot of the people in the United States look like the people in the pictures, without their closes of course. Maybe I have been looking at too much Art, the masters loved the wrinkles and rolls.
     
  17. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Thanks Suzanne. Maybe I'm crossing Tenneson and Leibovitz together. (And 'scuse my spelling-I know its probably correct)

    Somewhere, someplace, I've seen the similar theme (mature women) done much better and it was by a famous female photographer of the current era.
     
  18. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    The work is in a way the "anti nude".

    Since most people on the planet probably look more like this that the typical nudes we see, it's interesting that people find them disgusting.

    On the other hand maybe she is stating the often "female photographer mantra" that beauty is not just about physical beauty, and that women try too hard to reach the plastic beauty that the media and or men, try to jam down our throats.

    So my opinion on the work is "interesting", but I wouldn't hang it on my wall.


    Michael
     
  19. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    I havent posted much in this forum... but do love reading it.

    I find the work to be somewhat in argument with its presentation and subject matter. The muddy/funky/experimental method of printing seems to only try and exemplify the "disgusting" characteristic of the work. Almost (despite what her words and thoughts seem to be) as though she is trying to get the viewer to see it as revolting etc. I find that to conflict when I view it.
    The method of creation (processes used, presentation method, etc) are an integral part of the overall reaction a viewer has, in my opinion. Something that comes to mind for me is work like Keriks wetplate photographs of flowers, or Robb Kendricks choice of wet plate for his texas cowboy projects, In the case of keriks work I find the somewhat dreamy method of printing to fit the delicate and almost transient beauty of the chosen subject to be expressed wonderfully with the method of wet plate. Similiarly Kendriks work with the modern day cowboys and his choice to use a process that requires "hard work" and a hands on approach to be fitting for the subject, a group of society that makes their living working with their hands and actually doing things on their own.
    In these examples the method and processes used only assist in better presentation of the work. In Manchots work she seems to be try to exagerate the notion that the subject matter is supposed to be revolting or disgusting, when in fact growing older, gaining weight, and veering away from the societally excepted "beauty" is something to embrace and cherish, as many have pointed out already.
     
  20. mark

    mark Member

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    I think the images would come across better if there were no words.

    I guess I don't see the disgusting people are talking about.

    I did not like the images because of the cheesy effects, and I am not really a fan of nudes.
     
  21. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I did not read the words. It is not the subject matter but the way that it is presented.
     
  22. catem

    catem Member

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    Manchot is actually quite famous, certainly well-known and well respected. The colour pics I tried to link here are well-known, anyway. The difficulty posting could be due to the fact that she holds 'consent' very important and is very protective of her mother, seeking her permission whenever she republishes or exhibits work (the same is true of subjects in her 'street' photograph- which are a bit different from 'normal' street photos), so prevents linking to web images, apart from certain sites. The colour image of her mother taken in the country is quite different in feel to the black and white images I've already posted. I do remember her talking about a change in attitude to photographing her mother (which she has done over some years) which became more celebratory of ageing and the sexuality of the older woman. Sorry, I didn't anticipate the problems I'd have posting...it would interesting to compare them.

    I'm surprised you don't find her photographs honest, though, even so...perhaps I have a slightly different view after hearing her speak, (at the National Portrait Gallery) it's hard to know, because she came across as such an honest and thoughtful person herself, and now I can't dissociate that.

    I find Tenneson's work very much more 'arty' .

    Cate
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2006
  23. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    This isn't addressed to Michael - but I think it launches a good point for discussion. I was really surprised by the level of discussion in response to these pieces. A bit shocked maybe. I'm surprised a photographer would respond that way - there's no differentiation between subject and object. This would suggest that technique is utterly rescindent to subject. And that a beautiful photograph can only be beautiful because of it's subject. But anyway - it raises the question "what is it that we WOULD hang on our wall?" - only works that we felt were either complimentary, attractive in some way, or that didn't challenge us? I think it would be an interesting conversation.
     
  24. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    It's a rather tacky, bizarre website for someone who is choosy about where her work is published. I wonder if she knows about it. Her page has adverts for HotChick22, Mate1 Intimate Dating and doubleyourdating.com which promises to teach you how to kiss better. Will Powers / Lynn Goldsmith* where are you?

    Richard Misrach's page is funny. As with other pages, there are hotlinks all over the text, but they have zip to do with the photographer. For example, in the sentence "'Canto XVII: The Deserts' is an homage to the myriad elements that form what so many still consider a wasteland - salt beds as bright as snow..." the word 'beds' has a hot link to mattress.com.

    Brian Kosoff (Early Riser) has a page - I wonder if he is aware of it. It has links to P&L Paints ("the first rays of morning light gently paint themselves across the sky"), lawn analysis by TruGreen ChemLawn ("landscapes") and shopping.com ("Ansel Adams" - well we already know he'd sold out).

    Best,
    Helen

    * of Kissing With Confidence fame.
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i remember seeing her work year ago in "silver gelatin" the how-to/ book and portfolio of photographers who coat canvas &C with liquid silver emulsions - were they with "the lighthouse studio" ?. i can't say i am a big fan of this sort of work, but just the same, i think it is interesting to see reactions to "non-beautiful" / "anti-beauty". i think the way she presents some of her portraits using hand coated canvas/paper<?> lots of mid-tones gives the impression of sculptural images rather than portraits of people.
     
  26. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I did a one-day workshop with Melanie Manchot in a small group a few years back - on a personal level, she was very friendly and approachable. I do not find the nude pictures of her mother at all disturbing, at the same time I did get some kind of feeling that MM was striving to be different for the sake of being different, and I could not find much substance in her work. At the time I met her, she was just embarking on the "Kissing" project, in which I, with the best will in the world, could not see much point. Nonetheless, MM is an interesting voice on the contemporary scene.

    Regards,

    David