Iconic images "re-imagined"

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Michael R 1974, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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  2. dasBlute

    dasBlute Subscriber

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    We should not forget. His treatments are not the same -IMO- as Stalin's erasing people from official state portraits.
    I haven't walked in Mr Smejkal's shoes to see his thinking but I cannot agree with the usefulness of the result.
    The profoundly edited images only exist as faint echoes of the originals. Why would one aid in the 'erasing' of history?
    The resulting images have nothing to recommend them visually either, having been stripped of their essentials.
     
  3. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Maybe he could do Roger Fenton's " Into the Shadow of the Valley of Death,1855"
    Lot of balls to cover over.
     
  4. zsas

    zsas Member

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    From a legal perspective, I'd like to know if Smejkal has been contacted by estate/copyright holders re these adaptions?

    Is this going to meet 'fair use'?

    Re if this is art or not, sure some can make arguments for both sides, I prefer to stay out.
     
  5. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    It's a tougher call for me visually. As stand-alone images (without their history), some of these appeal to my aesthetic. But who knows, is the manipulation of pre-existing images an artform? I have no idea.
     
  6. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Wow, I almost literally could not disagree more. To me they make a huge, incredibly effective point---something about the nature of "significant" events, and how much "significant" is a human concept that we project onto completely indifferent settings. The only one that doesn't work for me is "Berlin, 1945"---it's much changed from the original, but there's so much affective content left in the setting that it doesn't come off as mundane as the others.

    I don't understand how it's possible to see this as "the 'erasing' of history", actually, because the images don't stand by themselves---the point they make is exactly about the importance of what's been erased. Can you elaborate on what you're thinking, a little bit?

    -NT
     
  7. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    By the way, here's a nonphotographic and lighthearted take on the same concept of "erasure of the subject":
    http://garfieldminusgarfield.net/
    (It won't make sense if you live in a place where the American "Garfield" comic strip isn't well known, I suppose.)

    -NT
     
  8. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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  9. dasBlute

    dasBlute Subscriber

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    People forget a lot, I remember overhearing two teenagers in a bookstore [you cannot make this stuff up]:
    - "wow, a book on Desert Storm"
    - "what's that?"

    this was only a few years afterwards.

    Yes, we may have difficulty NOT seeing the 'tank-man' and all that he implies,
    but only if you are familiar with that image, which is not a given.

    Focusing on the banality of the 'backdrop' of a photo of this type - again, to my opinion -
    undermines the blunt impact and veracity of the image, akin to pointing out the make of car
    Kennedy was riding in.

    -Tim
     
  10. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    I hear stuff like this all the time at work. It's damn frightening.
     
  11. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I agree, they really can't stand alone. There were one or two cases where I didn't recognize what the original photo was, and of course the result was no impact at all. I think that for general consumption, images like this really need to be shown paired with the originals.

    Fair enough, and thanks for the clarification. To me it has the opposite effect---but then, so might pointing out the make of car Kennedy was riding in. (Morbid trivia question: What's the only gun make to have been used in two US political assassinations? [see edit below!])

    It reminds me of seeing, a few years ago, a reconstruction of Hitler's office as part of an exhibition. It was an overwhelmingly ordinary office, which to me is much more profoundly scary than if it had been a cartoon supervillain lair. The hard thing to grasp about gigantic events, IMHO, is that they actually tend to happen in the same kind of ordinary contexts in which the rest of our lives happen.

    -NT

    [Edit: I have long had a misapprehension about this; the first version said "two US *Presidential* assassinations, but it turns out I had one of the examples wrong. One President, one major but nonpresidential political figure.]
     
  12. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    As I clicked through the pictures, almost every one invoked an involuntary jolt, similar to a flinch response to a sudden attack. This is not Stallinist erasing. While it will be lost on the ignorant and the young, it did set me wondering what our lives would have been like without all these horrible events.
     
  13. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Mannlicher-Carcano rifle 6.5mm caliber Italian surplus military rifle
    President John F. Kennedy
    General Edwin Walker
     
  14. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    At least it wasn't

    - "wow, a book"
    - "what's that?"

    I find the subject of the thread interesting, and as long as the author is transparent about what they are examining, and how they have gone about what they have done, I have no objections.
     
  15. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I agree with all your comments.

    It's not "art" but it's very thought provoking. My father went back to Europe and a few of his battle grounds many years after fighting in WW2. I think to try to get some sense of perspective on a place that had such a profound emotional effect on him when he was there as a 24 years old soldier.

    These photographs can illustrate the horror that humans can project upon each other and when looked at later, are nothing but mundane streets, fields or buildings.

    I think the concept is very powerful and extremely interesting.
     
  16. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Didn't know about that one. Walker survived, though. I was thinking of the Iver Johnson handguns used to assassinate both William McKinley and RFK.

    -NT
     
  17. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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  18. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Ah. Except for the fact that Sirhan Sirhan did not shoot RFK at all. A Harrington and Richardson 922 may have been used.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/feb/22/kennedy.assassination
     
  19. batwister

    batwister Member

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    I'm so glad Ansel Adams removed the people from his photographs.
     
  20. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Not so sure he removed them.

    I think they just died of old age waiting for him to set up the shot.