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Q17
08-03-2006, 08:04 PM
I think what really makes me love this photograph is the tension. Tension between the patterns and colors, tension in the leaning of the trellis, tension in the sofa springs that aren't depressed from this woman's weight... And there is the tension between the nonchalant expression on the woman's face and these wild elements surrounding her.

The photograph excites me, and I could return to it over and over again.

=michelle=

Alex Hawley
08-03-2006, 08:34 PM
We have to GET PAST the camera-club-criticism that gives images demerits for breaking some 'rule'. Academic art was dead by 1830. Photography HAS to catch up.

Instead, accept what the photographer did.
Assume that he knew what he was doing,
and let the picture work on you.

I was going to quote Lee until I read this by DF which says it quite plainly. Trying to mash everything into a set of "rules" defined by who knows who just doesn't get it.

I see Eggleston depicting something very familiar in his life, in his environment. Something that can't be fit into analytical buckets, but fits into the life and ways he is fond of.

I don't see this as a seminal "great" photograph. But its great in conveying the mood of the life it is depicting. That makes it stand on its own.

Donald Miller
08-03-2006, 10:51 PM
A few points:

I grew up in the Rockies so any picture I've probably ever seen of mountains with snow on them is ho hum. Maybe the same for people who see pictures of what they consider "every day" stuff.

To me the picture represents a campy, sort of tacky existance but still with a dignity.

The crappy old mattress that looks like it came out of a holiday trailer stuck on an old couch/glider. The horrible dress but still the dignity.

As someone who photographs people, there is always something "growing out of people's heads". It's called the background. It's just that you choose to ignore it in real life, but somehow in a photograph it's "growing out of their head".

Do I like the picture. Yes probably. It doesn't have a snapshot quality to me because a snap shooter would not have been able to compose the perfect "cross" in the picture.

So to me, in 2006 it's kind of campy and interesting.


Michael

I like it a lot more after the evening's liquid refreshments. Kind of takes the "campy" edge off it...or am I not permitted to say that? Is that considered a camera club critique?

She must have been a real darling in her day. Notice the cigarette in her hand. All loose women smoked back then. Oh I long for those days...

Jim Chinn
08-03-2006, 11:18 PM
I agree sometimes you need to just let an image work on you.

One of my favorite stories about art (if anyone can point out this specific example let us know) is about a banker who spent a ton of money on a modern painting in the 50s. I don't remember if it was a Pollock or Rothko or Kline or any of the other AB Exers or action painters. But what he said was to the effect, I have to spend my whole day working with people and numbers and making decisions and when I come home I have this painting on the wall. I can just sit and look at it and the best part of it is it doesn't mean a damn thing!

df cardwell
08-04-2006, 06:53 AM
I like it a lot more after the evening's liquid refreshments. Kind of takes the "campy" edge off it...or am I not permitted to say that? Is that considered a camera club critique?

..... ...

Works for me !

.

Jim Chinn
08-04-2006, 10:41 AM
I like it a lot more after the evening's liquid refreshments. Kind of takes the "campy" edge off it...or am I not permitted to say that? Is that considered a camera club critique?

She must have been a real darling in her day. Notice the cigarette in her hand. All loose women smoked back then. Oh I long for those days...

From my little experience with camera clubs, they would be much more educational and entertaining if the members were stoned on something before the meeting begins.

blansky
08-04-2006, 10:52 AM
Why do you think they serve wine at gallery openings.



Michael

tim atherton
08-04-2006, 10:53 AM
"A picture must be painted in such a way that the viewer can understand its meaning. If the people who see a picture cannot grasp its meaning, no matter what a talented artist may have painted it, they cannot say it is a good picture."

shouldn't the same apply to photographs?

catem
08-04-2006, 11:55 AM
"A picture must be painted in such a way that the viewer can understand its meaning. If the people who see a picture cannot grasp its meaning, no matter what a talented artist may have painted it, they cannot say it is a good picture."

shouldn't the same apply to photographs?
I disagree with the quote anyway. Sometimes you can see that something is "good" (whatever that means - do you mean "worthwhile?" - or possibly that the paint's been applied in a competent fashion?) even though you feel you dont quite undertstand it yet. Some paintings, and photographs, reveal more the more you look at them.
Cate

pentaxuser
08-04-2006, 12:00 PM
I think Marko got it 100% for me. There's a similar shot in every family's archive which the outsider, if he had to look at it out of politeness, would simply glance at and move on.

pentaxuser

catem
08-04-2006, 12:20 PM
I think Marko got it 100% for me. There's a similar shot in every family's archive which the outsider, if he had to look at it out of politeness, would simply glance at and move on.

pentaxuser
I would have thought there's quite a number in every family archive like that. I think family photographs definitely hold more interest the more you know, or feel a connection with the people in them.

roteague
08-04-2006, 12:27 PM
I think Marko got it 100% for me. There's a similar shot in every family's archive which the outsider, if he had to look at it out of politeness, would simply glance at and move on.

pentaxuser

Yes, it does look like something from the Instamatic school of photography.

Michel Hardy-Vallée
08-04-2006, 02:24 PM
Thinking back on the photo, I was reminded of a portrait of Catherine the Great I saw at a recent museum exhibit: in terms of subject matter, the portrait is the most standard, official-picture type of thing. Subject in center, light coming from 45deg and above, dark background, and some objects here and there. However, the objects were carefully selected to make a symbolic statement about her reign. Most official portraits use the same technique: make it plain, but write your meaning with picture details.

What does it have to do with photo? Well, because we consume photos much more often, and much more faster than we do painting, we tend not to "read" them. Also, the symbolic-object technique is not always a part of photomaking, given that photographers often picture what is available, rather than always carefully choosing the details.

We tend to linger less on "reading" the photos. With a disarmingly simple picture like Eggleston's, the slower viewing method may be more appropriate. For instance, some people have mentioned the composition of Eggleston's photos resolving into the american South flag.

A caveat of this traditional fine arts appreciation is reading too much into a photo. We all know the enormities that a piece of concrete can generate in a gallery. Trapping the viewer by offering meaninglessness where meaning is expected wasn't as common before the 20th century as it is.

tim atherton
08-04-2006, 03:30 PM
"A picture must be painted in such a way that the viewer can understand its meaning. If the people who see a picture cannot grasp its meaning, no matter what a talented artist may have painted it, they cannot say it is a good picture."


I disagree with the quote anyway.
Cate

I'd hope so... It's Kim Jong-Il proscribing what art should be in North Korea - though when he posts on APUG I think he posts under a couple of different names... :-)

http://www.opendemocracy.net/arts-commons/art_northkorea_3690.jsp

Tom Stanworth
08-05-2006, 12:15 AM
I am not a fan of this. Some time ago I actually walked into an exhibition of his as part of a wider exhibition and left within 5 minutes. It does nothing for me. I am not 'proud' of that, but just dont get anything from his images - good or bad...no emotional repsonse at all.

This one has many of the 'qualities' (characteristics) some have mentioned, granted but I feel that many of these comments are made with certainty and confidence in the knowledge that his work is critically acclaimed for reasons not dissimilar. I do however wonder what the response would be to this image were it posted in the critique gallery. I suspect few views and a low probability of anything other than "next time you might want to think about...." type comments. I think a lot of the people commenting here just would not make the same comments were it from an unknown despite the fact that its more humble origins would in no way diminish its value as art....surely. I think work such as this is boosted enormously by the idea of what it is supposed to be. This added to what the photographer is supposed to be about results in an image dripping in significance far beyond its reality. I think it is more often about the artist and what he/she stands for than the work itself. Take away the Eggleston from this and what are you left with? A cr@ppy photo I suspect. Is the 'variety of tectures' or 'juxtaposition of this or that' really enough - who are we trying to kid? You could come up with the same comments for most badly conceived and executed images.

Just my opininated opinion ;)

jnanian
08-05-2006, 01:18 AM
she is very comfortable in her environment. she likes to be in her patio with a drink and a cigarette. this is where she goes and relaxes, this is her.

broken fence, loud upholstery, print dress, tinted glasses, pale white skin, relaxed ( maybe not?) ... this is a slice of life ...

Kobin
08-06-2006, 04:38 PM
She's sitting on a metal glider, not a sofa or couch. Patio furniture from the 50's or before. I get the idea that her per patio was once neat and fashionable, but has fallen into neglect because no one has the time or energy to keep it up.

K.

mikebarger
08-06-2006, 06:05 PM
Maybe "in the day" she owned Donald's softtail.

Mike