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Jose A Martinez
05-22-2008, 11:36 AM
In February I had the oportunity of chat with Mary Ellen Mark and a group of fellow photographers over dinner and I told them that two photo galleries in Chicago didn't bother to see my work when I say that I do documentary photography, and Mary Ellen said that it's worst when you present yourself as photojournalist. We conclude that in the today's art world, journalism and documentary are bad words.

What you think?, any experience?, any thoghts?

SuzanneR
05-22-2008, 12:04 PM
There has always been tension between fine art photographers and photojournalists. They seem to resent, and each other's work... dismiss it... on both sides. I think this weakens photography, creates "ghettos" of photographers bad mouthing each other.

Do novelists, poets and journalists have such hostilities toward each other? Why should photographers?

FWIW, Jose, I think your work would be powerful on a gallery or museum wall, and I hope someday to see it in that context. (As well as the printed page... )

arigram
05-22-2008, 12:16 PM
Its because they usually have different goals:
fine art photographers usually care about aesthetically pleasing but "useless" photographs where photojournalists care about capturing the news rarely really caring about aesthetics. Unfortunately its not the fault of the photographers themselves, but of the market.
Fine Art collectors usually don't want something tied to an event, unless it has some historic value. New agencies care only about how well a photo would illustrate an event. Very few photographers care about combining both, for example the Magnum Photo agency and photographers such as Sebastiao Salgado. There is a reason the agency is by invite-only and Salgado is often critised for "beautifying" misery and ugly events.
My belief is that a good photographer will make good photographs even in a war zone or where speed matters, sometimes even standing by themselves as great pieces of art. Most of classic photography is actually documentary, but where aesthetics and art takes a mere historical event even further.
As a journalist, I am often in a hurry to find photos to accompany the stories I write and its not unusual to prefer a "boring" snapshot that illustrates the text better than a good artistic one.

But its a large and good subject and would like to read more opinions.

Jose A Martinez
05-22-2008, 12:18 PM
Thanks Suzanne, I'm working on it. I've been shown in museums and cultural centers, and a Mexico city's gallery represents me, they gave an exhibition last September. About publication, I was rejected by one of the most important foundations in the country two days ago. Even though, I'm confident that I'll publish in the near future. I'm certain that my work is more for a book than other means.

Pinholemaster
05-22-2008, 01:09 PM
Galleries are businesses, first. If your style doesn't match what makes money for them, they will not take a risk.

This doesn't mean your images do not have a market. The business of sell photography is taking the time to find the correct match between your images and the gallery's clientele.

Just because you've heard 'no' does not mean that's the final answer. Hang in there.

bjorke
05-22-2008, 01:49 PM
Try to get a job at Time Magazine describing yourself as a "surrealist"

I'm not sure wat the problem here is

Moopheus
05-22-2008, 02:01 PM
Do novelists, poets and journalists have such hostilities toward each other?

No, but "commercial" and "literary" writers sometimes do. And, yeah, it's all about preserving ghetto boundaries, not about quality (or even money, sometimes).

SuzanneR
05-22-2008, 02:02 PM
Well, like galleries, big media are businesses, too.. and, well, I've seen some pretty surreal pictures in Time magazine...

http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19951225,00.html

df cardwell
05-22-2008, 04:26 PM
I think the proper term for Time is "Corporate Propaganda Illustrator",
Photojournalism having gone out of favor. And for galleries,
well, they've never been comfortable with living PJs because they
are usually unkempt and aren't easy to manage.

But then you aren't doing Documentary for the Galleries, are you ?

Jose A Martinez
05-22-2008, 07:20 PM
I think the proper term for Time is "Corporate Propaganda Illustrator",
Photojournalism having gone out of favor. And for galleries,
well, they've never been comfortable with living PJs because they
are usually unkempt and aren't easy to manage.

But then you aren't doing Documentary for the Galleries, are you ?

of course not, I'm doing it because I love to. But I love to sell too. I love to be shown. And I think that what I'm doing could be "hang" in a gallery. The first living photographer that have a show in MOMA was Diane Arbus ;)

lns
05-22-2008, 08:35 PM
of course not, I'm doing it because I love to. But I love to sell too. I love to be shown. And I think that what I'm doing could be "hang" in a gallery. The first living photographer that have a show in MOMA was Diane Arbus ;)

Actually Walker Evans had a show at MOMA in 1933. And I know Henri Cartier-Bresson showed there after the war. There were a lot of photography shows at MOMA before Arbus.

Some consider Evans and HCB to be documentary photographers.

So it looks like you have a good shot at MOMA. :)


-Laura

df cardwell
05-22-2008, 10:40 PM
Keep at it Jose,
they'll come around.

Ray Heath
05-22-2008, 10:49 PM
g'day Jose

well, from my limited experience i'd say the galleries need to sell to survive, would your work sell?

anyway, these are extremely strong images, to view your site is to be confronted with aspects of life most of us would rather ignore, your images are way powerful and possibly upsetting

i was moved, amazed, humbled and awestruck, in short, i experienced examples of great art

Ray

Jose A Martinez
05-23-2008, 05:03 PM
Thank you all for your kind comments.

Tim Boehm
05-23-2008, 11:44 PM
Sebastião Salgado is considered one of the most important photographers today.

Some of his images are shown here:
http://www.pdngallery.com/legends/legends10/

Follow the "BIO" link from where I quote:

"What I want in my pictures is not that they'll look like art objects...They are journalist pictures. All my pictures. No exceptions."

You need to be tenacious.

Jose A Martinez
05-27-2008, 01:28 PM
Sebastião Salgado is considered one of the most important photographers today.

Some of his images are shown here:
http://www.pdngallery.com/legends/legends10/

Follow the "BIO" link from where I quote:

"What I want in my pictures is not that they'll look like art objects...They are journalist pictures. All my pictures. No exceptions."

You need to be tenacious.

of course I'll be... the Salgado's remark amuse me, you know, his work has been criticized because it looks like fashion shots and not photojournalistic... as far as I know Weege was the first real photojournalist that considered his own work as art objects, and I like the Weege's view rather than Salgado's...

bjorke
05-28-2008, 10:34 PM
same old, same old

look up "Illuminations: Women Writing on Photography from the 1850s to the Present" and poke "Abbott" in the search term. Start reading from 203

Jose A Martinez
05-29-2008, 02:26 PM
same old, same old

look up "Illuminations: Women Writing on Photography from the 1850s to the Present" and poke "Abbott" in the search term. Start reading from 203

I found the book and I bought it... as soon as I have it I'll go to page 203. Ahh! Berenice Abbott, great advocate of photojournalism...

Jose A Martinez
05-29-2008, 06:29 PM
same old, same old

look up "Illuminations: Women Writing on Photography from the 1850s to the Present" and poke "Abbott" in the search term. Start reading from 203

Suddenly I remember that I have the book "A guide to better photography" by Berenice Abbott, published in 1941, in my library, and that she dedicated a chapter to Documentary Photography, p. 163. So I went to the reading...

...She quotes, among others, Beaumont Newhall "It is important to bear in mind that 'documentary' is an approach rather than an end... He (the photographer) will put into his camera studies something of the emotion he feels toward the problem, for he realizes that this is the most effective way to teach the public he is addressing. After all, is not the root meaning of the word 'document' (docere, 'to teach')?"

Question, if it's possible 'to teach' with some grace, some art?

Tim Boehm
05-29-2008, 07:52 PM
Jose,

The point I made is that Salgado is a photojournalist and has plenty of gallery representation. Anyone who wants to promote himself in any field of endeavor needs tenacity. Your preference for Weege is, of course, your prerogative, but irrelevant to this discussion. I suspect some of the early photographers, like those in the civil war era, considered their works as art. They were photojournalists. However, I really don’t want to discuss “art;” it’s an endless, non-resolvable argument. Good luck with your career.