"We're also living in a time when anyone with a phone is a documentary photographer and many say this will inevitably force 'serious' photography to move away from verisimilitude."
What if Canon brought out a camera that would guarantee your images were perfectly in focus, perfectly exposed, and found the best composition for you? What if it was small enough to carry around with you wherever you went, and could render the most complex landscapes in perfect detail? What if the skill was taken out of photography?
I believe we'd still be celebrating the same kind of photographers; people who've got something to say, or a signature way of looking at the world. I still think that photography's main draw is looking and revealing.
Thanks for your response Simon. Thomas Joshua Cooper is definitely up there in my mind and like John Blakemore I feel often overlooked, perhaps merely because their subject matter is the wild landscape.
Originally Posted by BJP Editor
I'm a great admirer of Nadav Kander's work and love Mark Power's Shipping Forecast series too.
I completely understand your reasoning for not including what many here would call 'traditional' photography and personally, I'm less interested in the modernist & formal concerns of years gone by, which we often associate with this work. The only way I can describe my view of BJP is what I see as a heavy emphasis on straight photography, which addresses its subjects literally as opposed to the transformative/metaphorical/play on perception approach - which is why I call it documentary & journalistic in its concerns. In actual fact I think that stylistically, a lot of work today just looks documentary. A problem that came with the New Topographics?
The first names you gave, including Stephen Shore and Nadav Kander, I think all work within the 'cultural' or 'social' landscape and some of this work I like very much. By 'landscape' here though, I really mean the natural landscape - which is notably unfairly treated by the contemporary art world. For many with a Contemporary view of photography and what does and doesn't fall into it, it seems the natural landscape by default is simply dismissed as traditional photography, but you mention Thomas Joshua Cooper, who is one of my favourites and very much a natural landscape photographer. He falls into the metaphorical/symbolic category and like Blakemore, I feel these suggestions in the work mark it more than what it is subjectively. I can only say that it would be great to see more of this kind of photography championed as a valid and timely form of expression. It seems like too many people coming out of photography school have a deranged aversion to nature.
I'm 24 and very much interested in what's relevant and of our time, but feel much contemporary work is metropolitan to a fault. Many who work in the natural landscape, very capable and thoughtful photographers, are almost forced to retreat to a more traditional mode of image making because of a certain snootiness and blinkered idea about this subject matter. I believe Blakemore moved into still life work for similar reasons.
Simon, I fail to see how any camera will ever be able to find the best composition, unless it is God. Being in every position/time and perspective simultaneously. But hey, this could be a new ap?
Originally Posted by BJP Editor
Composition is an open ended personal puzzle, there isn't one right solution, even by God's judgement. We can't yet give the camera a human soul and tastes, so nothing to worry about. I can only ever see this being of interest to the happy snapper market - holidaymakers and such. Art is about the artist - his view, his decisions, his genius.
Originally Posted by cliveh
I saw a programme about a computer that made paintings by collecting image data and adding its 'personal expression' based on this culturally relevant visual information. However interesting visually, we won't see the work displayed consistently in galleries, only maybe as a one off gimmick, because ultimately the art world and public are interested in the personality behind the work - someone we can fantasize about and mystify. So the computer as artist is a dead end that we've already reached.