View Full Version : Discuss a Melanie Manchot photograph

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09-03-2006, 08:20 PM
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.
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' .


09-03-2006, 08:24 PM
So my opinion on the work is "interesting", but I wouldn't hang it on my wall.

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.

Helen B
09-03-2006, 09:07 PM
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).


* of Kissing With Confidence fame.

09-03-2006, 09:17 PM
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.

David H. Bebbington
09-04-2006, 01:10 AM
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.



09-04-2006, 03:22 AM
I think David's post probably sums up my own feelings pretty well.

She may be 'striving' a little to be different - and there may be elements that others could do better (I don't think that many, when you try and count them, have tried..). At the same time it does surprise me a little how dismissive some of the posts on this thread have been.

There again I do wonder about the over self-consious 'intent' that seems necessary to photographers often - how to do what you want and retain a simplicity and directness, without an overbearing sense of the photographer's 'presence'. (Does she manage it in some way or not at all, I'm not sure). I sometimes think that's something harder and harder to find in contemporary portraiture.