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  1. #1

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    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  2. #2
    Sparky's Avatar
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    He's one of those guys I admire in the abstract. He's never done anything I could rave about. But I respect him. I respect him because he was trying to do his own thing, as much as he could within his culture. I remember bringing a Sommer book in to work, when I was assisting and printing for a commercial photographer in the early 80s - to which he responded "this guy is f-ing SICK!!". Interestingly, the photographer was later arrested for attempted indiscretions with his models (the ol' peephole in the dressing room). Go figure.

  3. #3
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    Since there is now an entire "artistic industry" arising from the skilled ability of Chinese artisans to "de-layer" human bodies under the direction of a German "artist" - resulting in "displays" at various venues - this stuff seems tame.

    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstra...A10894DE404482

  4. #4
    Sparky's Avatar
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    What are you talking about? The pictures of dead coyotes?? Or is there something morally offensive to you about a skinny artist in a double exposure?

  5. #5
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    I have just skimmed through www.fredericksommer.org, arguably too fast to do the guy justice. I did not personally find any images I would want to call "sick," perhaps some people would take objection to the severed chicken head. I did notice a commendable willingness to push out the limits of the medium, for example creating "negatives" by non-photographic means such as painting, etc., photographing cut paper, use of sharpness and out-of-focus effects. Equally, I found nothing that really gripped me and stopped me in my tracks.

  6. #6

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    Frederick Sommer

    Many years have I been a fan. PARACELSUS must be about the finest piece of work gained from a photographic process. Absolutely stunning piece of art work & when you read how it was done, it is even more stunning. At first glance some of the 'still lifes' are "just a picture of a dead chook" but these images grow on you and they are not as simple as first thought. The photographs he did on the Arizona landscape and flattening it as though it were one plane, are masterful. Definitely not your average 'point-and-shoot' kind of guy & I guess, not for everyone either. He has influenced many artists today.

  7. #7

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    I just bought the book "The Art of Frederick Sommer" last week and I'm still forming an opinion on his work. I'm not a great fan of arrangements in photographs. I'm also not a great fan of titles that turn out to be more interesting than the work. So far, I'm not really getting into his photographs or other artwork but that's just an early observation. I thought I would research and familarize myself with Sommer because one of my favorite photographers, Emmet Gowin, idolized him.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky
    What are you talking about? The pictures of dead coyotes?? Or is there something morally offensive to you about a skinny artist in a double exposure?
    If you addressed this comment to me, then you have attributed something to me that I did not state...nor for that matter did I infer. I merely asked for thoughts on the work of Mr. Sommer. The rest is a figment of your imagination.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  9. #9
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    I've always admired Sommer's work. As David puts it above, he stretches the medium with his drawings on the negatives. And those forms are so figurative, and yet abstract. I just LOVE looking at them.

    The chicken heads, and the severed foot are, I think, disturbing for the subject matter, but they are so extraordinarily beautifully rendered that he quite masterfully elevates them beyond the "yuck" factor. They are all about life, and death, and though the idea of life and death are quite commonly found in a lot of art, I find his particular vision of it unique among 20thc art.

    FWIW, I think he's the type of artist that may take awhile to appreciate. When I first encountered his work, it didn't do much for me. But then, I started looking at it again and again, and it just keeps intriguing me. Just give him some time, it's well worth the effort to get to know his work.

  10. #10
    Sparky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    If you addressed this comment to me, then you have attributed something to me that I did not state...nor for that matter did I infer. I merely asked for thoughts on the work of Mr. Sommer. The rest is a figment of your imagination.
    No Donald - sorry for the confusion...! I thought (!) it would be an obvious response to mr. ham's comment - which, to me, seemed as though he took the photographs to be aimed at the shock/schlock market as he was comparing them to bodyworlds... and suggesting he'd seen more shocking stuff... which would (again, to me only perhaps) seem to be REALLY missing the point of Sommer's work.

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