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Kino
08-13-2006, 11:34 PM
Kino,

that is very funny when you said. "Art without pleasure? You post modernist wag! :)"

lee\c

Lee,

Just trying to avoid one of those horrid, art world knuckle-bruising brawls that erupt here from time to time by defusing the situation with humor...

;)

Frank

lee
08-13-2006, 11:39 PM
Still.... :)

lee\c

Sparky
08-13-2006, 11:40 PM
I don't think I really understand your position at all.

OK, so tell me if I am wrong, but your thesis seems to imply a universally acknowledged "ultimate interpretation" of these photos IF you think you can divorce personal aesthetics from dissection of the image itself.

Of course, if you have in excruciating detail a treatise on what the photographer intended, you could do some dry, academic dissection of a photograph that mechanically reinforces the STATED goals of the photographer, but that is nonsensical in light of how the viewer interprets the photograph. How can you tell the viewer, "your interpretation of the image is wrong; here's the real scoop"; if that is the case, the artist should be a pamplet writer, not a photographer.

I thought art and photography was about, among other things, conveying ideas, concepts and feelings via abstractions inherent in the mechanism of the medium. If the means of conveying these constructs fail (by the hand of the artists themselves), shouldn't that be a valid area of study?

I do not know of any situation whereby you purchase a photograph with a legally binding set of rules of interpretation OR why I should be bound by those rules! ;)


Hmmm... lots to respond to here maybe...? I'm not sure if it's one point or several separate and subtly differentiated ones.

Anyway - just to recap - are you thinking that I'm suggesting that there's only a single, proper interpretation? If so - I grievously apologize. I'm not saying that at all. I'm trying to gently suggest that there are as many interpretations as there are people multiplied by 'moods of those people'.

I'm just saying that - well, if you're going to say "that sucks" or "I don't like that" - well, then let's hear about WHY you don't like it. I'd really like to get some constructive image talk going here... I think it'd be just amazing to do that. I see people here starting, just starting to talk about these things - and then suddenly, it's all "amidol this" and "stand develop that"... people seem VERY uncomfortable with talking about these things.

As for the intentions of the person who made the photo - I wasn't suggesting it was at ALL mandatory. I fully agree with Blansky and others that an image SHOULD stand on it's own. BUT - if we're going to look at several images by the same photog - then I thought it would be really helpful/useful to hear what THEY said about their own work. But not necessary.

The only think I care about at ALL - is that we TALK and in a constructive way... push things to where we start seeing similarities and differences - and start understanding what it is that photographers think when they're setting up a shot. It seems like a good thing to me.

Jim Chinn
08-13-2006, 11:42 PM
I suspect that most here are responding to these images as photographers and not as artists. Friedlander and certainly Siskind approched this work trying to solve not photographic problems but ART problems. One of Siskinds best friends was an abstract expressionist in the 50's and 60's and Siskind was often invited to exhibit with this group of artists. In fact, the only one working in photography. I believe that Franz Kline was the abstract expressionist that was Aaron Siskind's friend.

lee\c

Yes it was Franz Kline. Siskind later did a number of images of grafiti and abstract paint patterns on walls as an homage to Kline who died pretty young (mid 40s?) from I believe a heart condition.

From what I have read in different sources, Siskind hung with Kline, DeKooning, Motherwell, Barnett Newman among others.

lee
08-13-2006, 11:42 PM
"The only think I care about at ALL - is that we TALK and in a constructive way... push things to where we start seeing similarities and differences - and start understanding what it is that photographers think when they're setting up a shot. It seems like a good thing to me."

I thought that we were doing a good job here with that. Several of us anyway.

lee\c

Sparky
08-13-2006, 11:46 PM
Yes, I think there is a difference. What lable? I think Siskind was a painter in photographic clothes. He used photography in a way that had not been done before of at least not by very many before him. His visual language was influenced by painters not photographers. He just used photography to express that visual language. I think!

lee\c

Lee - to me a photograph is a photograph is a photograph. It's a guy behind a camera trying to make an image which pleases him. Some have artistic pretention, some are pastoralists, some are into 'street photography' - but I'd like to include in my definition of photography 'making images with a camera'. I just think that when one starts compartmentalizing - one also starts making excuses. That also creates (a little bit of) alienation - which I'd prefer to avoid. Sure, someone like Siskind might be thinking something different from someone like Eggleston, or Robert Adams, or JH Lartigue... but in the end - I think they're just human beings looking at their contact sheets - saying "oh, I like that one - it's better than this one". And they don't often know the reasons why. And to me, that's where the barriers collapse.

Sparky
08-13-2006, 11:52 PM
I thought that we were doing a good job here with that. Several of us anyway.
lee\c
I fully agree. I'm proud of this 'getting into it' thing. I'm just saying that's what I care about. I was just trying to react to an earlier comment or two in the thread - and suggesting (perhaps wrongly) that if people are just going to say they don't like something - that maybe they try to suggest why they don't. Everything should be (in an ideal world mind you!) constructive, and not simply 'negative'. Even a 'negative' comment could be a really good thing if it's based on keen observation and an open mind. Know what I mean? I'm not nay-saying or pot shooting... and I'm certainly no moderator - it's just a hope, and I was hoping I could encourage others.

that's all.
I hope that makes SOME sense.

Sparky
08-13-2006, 11:54 PM
Yes it was Franz Kline. Siskind later did a number of images of grafiti and abstract paint patterns on walls as an homage to Kline who died pretty young (mid 40s?) from I believe a heart condition.

From what I have read in different sources, Siskind hung with Kline, DeKoning, Motherwell, Barnett Newman among others.

I'm actually a HUGE siskind fan. He was one of the first photographers who REALLY inspired me. At least when I was a teen. But googling for that image sort of brought it all back. It's actually a great thing - doing a google image search for a certain name - it gives you a huge rich catalog of works by them... right before your eyes. Great stuff.

Friedlander's always left ME a little bit cold, too. But I do have respect for the guy - I think he really deserves it... very few people were doing anything as brave as he did when he was doing his thing.

lee
08-13-2006, 11:55 PM
Sparky,

You are possibly correct. Quite possibly they (Siskind and his ilk) don't know the reasons why but I think they recognize there is a question and the work may or may not supply the answer. We all look at images the way you described but there may be more there than we originally think there is. I have run across negs and contacts from several years ago and thought, "Man, that is a much better image that I originally thought". I certainly don't have any answers.

lee\c

Kino
08-13-2006, 11:56 PM
I'm just saying that - well, if you're going to say "that sucks" or "I don't like that" - well, then let's hear about WHY you don't like it.

Fair enough! I'd like to tackle this thread again when I have more brain power, but for now, to bed and sleep.

I need my sleep the deal with the mind-numbing, buracracy (see I can't even spell bureaucracy) of work.

And people wonder why Wallace Stevens was a poet...

Sparky
08-13-2006, 11:58 PM
And I have to stop being such a thread whore! Can you tell I'm actually avoiding doing construction work at home???

lee
08-14-2006, 12:01 AM
I am a big fan also of Siskind and he was a very early inspiration when I was a young man. I saw the 100 year retrospective at the Center for Contemporary Photography in Tucson several years ago. Aaron would have been 100 years old. There was a lot of work and it covered all the different aspects of his life. Great show.

lee\c

Kino
08-14-2006, 12:01 AM
And I have to stop being such a thread whore! Can you tell I'm actually avoiding doing construction work at home???

LOL. Good night.

Sparky
08-14-2006, 12:02 AM
Sparky,

You are possibly correct. Quite possibly they (Siskind and his ilk) don't know the reasons why but I think they recognize there is a question and the work may or may not supply the answer. We all look at images the way you described but there may be more there than we originally think there is. I have run across negs and contacts from several years ago and thought, "Man, that is a much better image that I originally thought". I certainly don't have any answers.

lee\c

I know this is going to be kind of a lame comment - but I believe it to be true... but "isn't that just the incredible beauty of it though??".

This is one of the things I LOVE about photography. I guess you could say it about a lot of things. And this is exactly WHY I was trying to suggest that there are many many different ways of looking at the same photograph. I think that in looking at, and talking about images - as long as you keep the ego out of it - and keep it free of 'judgement' - you can never go wrong!

Sparky
08-14-2006, 12:03 AM
LOL. Good night.

night, all.

lee
08-14-2006, 12:03 AM
agreed and good night.

lee\c

david b
08-14-2006, 01:18 AM
Hey Sparky....is there someplace we can see some images you made?

Sparky
08-14-2006, 02:26 AM
Hey Sparky....is there someplace we can see some images you made?


uh oh...! Am I going to get TRASHED???

I hope to have some web stuff up in the next few weeks. But I'm really sorely behind. I don't have anything up anywhere that I'd be proud of - or that really demonstrates my personal work (mostly commercial stuff for the moment - but I'm shy about it!). I started a thread a week ago or so about finding my old negatives - you can see some stuff I did when I was 18 there if you're interested (just click on my name and follow the threads....).

Otherwise - when my sites are done - I'll make them public. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see - give me a holler by PM.

david b
08-14-2006, 02:53 AM
No one will be getting trashed. You seem well versed in photography and are very capable in talking about it, so I was just wondering what kind of work you do.

No big deal.

SuzanneR
08-14-2006, 06:19 AM
Looks like a great discussion last night! I'm with Jim Chinn on Friedlander, I think. I have looked at his work from time to time, and when I first encountered it, I just did not like it. And, yet, I was drawn to keep looking.

The pictures appear to be about nothing. But, I have to say, that as I've looked at his work again, and again, I've started to like it more. These empty streetscapes, telephone poles, mailboxes, fences all organized within the frame to create a kind of tension and build such distinct view of America. As mentioned before, quite banal, too. But then again, so is much of the American landscape. You "think" you've seen these in everyone's snapshots albums because his subject matter is so commonplace. And he's really making you look at just how commonplace it is. I think his work is very intriguing, and I come back to it a lot. It's worth the effort. I wish I could have seen the retorspective in New York last year!

Sisskind, on the other hand... just can't get myself interested in his work.