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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kino
    Sparky,
    ... and argue that it still does nothing for me.
    Thanks for the input Kino. But I guess the point that I've been trying to somewhat painfully labor over is that - well, we're photographers, right? Okay - we've established that. Here's a rare chance that we can actually increase our understanding of a visual language. So - okay - let's try not to engage in "i like it" or "i don't like it". That's not the point - and it's just not constructive. It's not going to get us anywhere. But "I don't like it" is GREAT - IF you care to express WHY you think a give image is unsuccessful.

    For example - you think that, for example, if the photographer was trying to evoke the "emptiness of contemporary urban life"... then let's have some examples relating to the images of WHY he failed. Or why he didn't.

    But I THINK these little sessions (which I think are BY FAR the most valuable thing that we could have on APUG in terms of the service they could be doing) need not to be taken lightly. Imagine if we could put an equivalent amount of progress into our understanding of photographs and analysing them as we do money into our camera collections - or our knowledge of platinum or azo printing, or camera technique...! Don't you agree? At least in principle?

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chinn
    Friedlander is a tough one for me. Looking at his work reminds me of when I first saw a Jackson Pollock drip painintg in person and thinking to myself, "I am supposed to like this. Everything I have read tells me how important it is".
    It took a few years to realize I liked his work not because of some great new vision or aesthetic he brought to art, but simply because I liked the way some of the pictures made me feel when I seriously looked at them.

    So with Friedlander I am in the same boat. I know he is an improtant figure in contemporary photography, but I am not yet to the point where I personally feel any real connection with the work.

    However, the neat thing about this forum is it provides me an opportunity to listen to others and take another more critical look at a photographers work.

    In the images presented I will admit that there is something interesting about the third image. the desolation, the long shadows and thin gauntness presented by the verticle elements provides an impact to the image.
    Someone mentioned meticulous composition. I notice in this one how carefully he made sure almost exact amounts of the posts and shadows are in the image so a certain static balance is there. Of course a photograph freezes time, but that image makes me feel that if I was standing on that corner, time would literally stop. Maybe another analogy for those old enough to remember the show, it looks like it could be the opening shot from an original Twilight Zone episode.

    One quick aside. It's kind of funny how recent experience can mold ones thinking. When looking at the third image I noticed the two posts that cross each other. First thing those posts reminded me of was a person. I think that was due to recently being at the Art Institute of Chicago and seeing the Alberto Giacometti sculptures that have a resemblence with thier stick figure style. Go figure.

    Jim - thanks so much for that considered look at the photos. I think that your mentioning the reminiscence of a giacometti sculpture is a valuable addition. Is there something that you think that the two may share in common? (the motif in that photo you refer to vs. the giacometti?) For example, Jonathan Green, in his book, American Photography, talks about Aaron Siskind's stone compositions (series of stones balancing on eachother) as being 'about contiguity'. Do you think that in this photograph, it's possible that Friedlander was interested in these Giacometti-like motifs and the way they were expressed?

  3. #33
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    Here's the Siskind print I was talking about.
    Last edited by Sparky; 03-31-2007 at 03:51 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #34
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    Responding simply to the Friedlander pictures as pictures, I think the first one (of the fences) is by far the most interesting. Compositionally it reminds me of a Cubist painting, conceptually it seems to encapsulate the mentality of the people who put up the fences, all trying to divide off a little piece of private real estate for themselves. I really enjoy pictures where there are no people but you can very strongly sense the presence of people who have been at the place in question.

    Someone posted a picture of doors (in an office building?). Looked hard, couldn't see anything beyond the commonplace.

    Yet again, a good choice of images for discussion.

    Regards,

    David

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
    Someone posted a picture of doors (in an office building?). Looked hard, couldn't see anything beyond the commonplace.
    Yes, David. That was me. I posted that as an example (granted - it's only one photo) as being emblematic of one of his 'peopled' pictures for the sole point of talking about his 'empty' photos. I'd probably agree with you that that particular image is much more about formality. It's all about composition - I think it's a superb composition - but really seems to lack the depth and feeling of the images presented for discussion. That's sort of interesting in itself, to me.

  6. #36
    lee
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    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

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee
    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.
    Do you think there's any difference - except in the name? Granted, there are different subcultures of each. But don't you think that, in the final analysis, it's just a label?

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky
    Thanks for the input Kino. But I guess the point that I've been trying to somewhat painfully labor over is that - well, we're photographers, right? (snip for space)Don't you agree? At least in principle?
    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!

    Art without pleasure? You post modernist wag!

    Yes, I feel it important to discuss visual language, but NOT if it only has room for one interpretation! Regardless of what the artist intended, there is the separate issue of personal interpretation you can hardly divorce from the proceedings.

    Maybe I am way off base, but if so, I am totally confused...

  9. #39
    lee
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    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

  10. #40
    lee
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    Kino,

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

    lee\c

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