Seydou Keita, "Authentic" Prints

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by doughowk, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,765
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    An interesting article in NY Times concerning controversy surrounding prints from Seydou Keita negatives. A couple of interesting statements:
    and
    and
     
  2. Rebekah_Pope

    Rebekah_Pope Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2004
    Shooter:
    Holga
    Interesting article. Thanks for sharing. Rebekah
     
  3. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I dislike soundbites. Here is the context for what Ms Scully said:

    There are many reasons why posterity might regard Cartier-Bresson and Mr. Keïta differently: Cartier-Bresson was white, French and received important European commissions early in his career, whereas Mr. Keïta was a self-taught black African of modest ambitions for whom photography was, most of all, a job. Still, Brian Wallis, the director of exhibitions and chief curator of the International Center of Photography, describes the issue of what to do with new prints from the negatives of any deceased photographer as "one of the most vexing in photography." Sandra Phillips, senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, pointed out that earlier photographers barely noticed how their work was printed. "It was the image, not the print, that was all important," she said. "Photographers would literally drop their negatives off at magazines or museums and let the editors and curators decide how the photographs were to be developed."

    Julia Scully, the former editor of Modern Photography, said that "the idea that the vintage or limited-edition print is of special value has been promoted by collectors and gallery owners, who, having witnessed the recent increase in the market value of photography, seek to protect their investments. When it comes to photography, authenticity is artificial."

    As a photograph (or any other work of art) is separated in time from the cultural context in which it originated, the work becomes open to new meanings. This idea, perhaps first articulated in Walter Benjamin's landmark 1931 essay, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," has been embraced by many curators in recent years, leading them away from what Mr. Wallis refers to as the "fetish for the vintage." Instead curators are more open to the new meanings that may emerge from manipulating the originals, even if those meanings are different from - or in direct contrast to - anything the artist had in mind.

    The result is ripe with possibilities, but also with contradictions. It is now not uncommon for galleries to put on shows that reflect this postmodern approach but at the same time to charge higher prices for original works.