Solely based on their representation on the web, I think they look like safe eye candy. They have an easy magnificence through their simplicity: they appear to be part of the spectacle. They are well cooked for effortless consumption.
How's that then?
Originally Posted by Helen B
I would say that it is pretty gosh darn good, but you weren't asking me.
I feel compelled to ask if there isn't a bit of trolling in Bjorke's original post. Why mention digital and why get upset when that portion of the post is addressed?
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
I worked in a place designed by the same guy... a long, pitch black hall connecting three rooms and a Walzberg camera with a the processor. Directly in the path to the processor was a 10" square concrete column. I never hit the the column... but I did murder my hip on the paper cutter as I jogged left to avoid the column.
As expected, the prints were large. And nary a one was inked -- all were made on an enlarger. I'm still trying to find the copy of last year's fine-arts PDN annual that spoke about digital printing in the context of Burtynsky's work. Perhaps he just does the digi to pay the bills, I do know he has long said he started his lab simply because he couldn't find anyone who could print what he needed (and could he have been printing this way practically if he didn't own the lab? An open question).
Despite assertions made here to the contrary, the prints are worth viewing at this size. They carry tremendous detail, actively-filling his 8x10 negative and sometimes more, as in the diptych "Shipbreaking #9" viewing the print not only reveals far more detail than the bogus "zoomify" on the Stanford Shipbreaking #9a page, but more too than the large and well-printed "Manufactured Landscapes" book. Consider the group of figures circled in this detail view:
Their presence is an important element of the grand and ambiguous narrative of this work, and amazingly there are even some smaller, more faint clusters of organized figures in the same print.
In an adjoining gallery, I noticed this painting by Guardi:
I point it out not only for the superficially-similar subject matter but also the formal compositional strategies used -- not only the large-scale ones, obvious in this crappy little celphone capture, but the Guardi, like the Burtynsky, unfolds increasingly as the viewer gazes at layers of unwasted detail. This is top-notch stuff.
You need to recognize the difference between being provocative and trolling. Trolls are either one-sided absolutists or start arguments in which they don't bother to participate, choosing instead to simply lean back and observe the fireworks. Provocation in the hope of reasoned dialogue is never trolling even when the responses border on histrionic.
Originally Posted by mrcallow
(Tangential: my pal Chris Jordan definitely does use an 8x10+PS, and is enjoying much fine-arts success at the moment)
I also ran across a painting at the Cantor with which I was unfamiliar, in the same room as the Guardi. It's packed with figures, reminding me of some modernist Chinese history paintings, and it's big big big. Here's a tiny detail, maybe 1/10th of the frame tons of specificity in the figures, with the figures themselves creating frames and action lines for one another. Paintings made with this sort of level of intention really remind me how impoverished and lazy most photography tends to be, leaning as it does so much on quick but thorough detail in place of deliberate content.
Last edited by bjorke; 08-07-2005 at 11:31 AM. Click to view previous post history.
To answer your question about the the prints. I think Ed ,from very early on in his career wanted large images of these rock quarrys he visited. Before anyone knew who Ed was , he was deep in the mud using a large format camera , bringing home the negs , developing them himself and in the beginning stages printing his own work in his darkrooms at TIW.
TIW is an extension of Ed and was built so that he could work in this fashion and not get killed with the Visa Card each time he made a print. If he came to the shops I worked at and had us print , mount and frame he would be paying in excess of $800 per unit. If he did it himself with his own inventory he would be paying much, much less.
For every image you saw yesterday I know he has printed and bounced 10 that he felt did not make the cut.
Regarding the digital aspect , since he is the owner of the largest and well respected digital training and printing lab,*why not digital* I think the answer is simply ,that 20-25 years ago he started with negative, colour print and to change medias does not make sense.
I have printed my share of shows and I always like to keep the prints consistant and over the years my clients make portfolios of the same media rather than switching back and forth every time some new product comes out.
I do not think it is more complicated than that , but you could phone him and I can assure you he will return the calls ...
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I wouldn't say there's ANY trolling it Bjorke's post. I thought it was an interesting question - and it got me googling previously forgotten information on philosophy of aesthetics of the 1700s a la comments re: JMW Turner, et.al. - however everyone here got chose to basically IGNORE the meat of his post (uncomfortable with the question? Unknowledgable?? I dunno) and insteand jump all over the aside that was tacked onto the end - which I think he included to suggest that digital may have some place in traditional printmaking - and that it's really not soooo awful if kept with an eye to maintaining traditional standards of reproduction - and that many intelligent and talented people perhaps DO exercise this without falling into any of the trap of what's so abhorrent about digital and why we have this website in the first place.
Originally Posted by mrcallow
At any rate - having said THAT - I'd LIKE to steer this conversation BACK to his original question. My own two cents might be simply that his subject matter, I think, is quite amenable to such discussions - owing to it's awesome scale. But I think that to pay attention to issues of the 'sublime' in the work would be to ignore what is important to the work. I think this is initially what draws one in. But to really appreciate the work that some knowledge of the work of smithson, baltz and then yes, perhaps gursky and others, is in order.
So my answer then, would be "superficially yes, but structurally and semantically perhaps not".
having not seen the prints in person, I feel that the subject matter is best presented in a large display. These are subjects that in reality are of a massive scale. If you have ever been to places like this, natural or manmade, you understand how overwhelming the experience can be. I think the size of the prints is an intention to give the viewer that sense of scale.
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
Originally Posted by bjorke
Much of Chris Jordan's work seems derivitave of Ed's Urban Mines pictures. Are they acquaintances?
As c6h603 points out I was suprised at the similaritys of Chris Jordans work and Eds.