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Thread: kaykaykay

  1. #11
    medform-norm's Avatar
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    Hey,
    this is turning into an interesting discussion. I will react later to the things said - gotto do some other stuff first. I'll notify Kay of this thread, he didn't know I put it up. Maybe he wants to react to what you people have been saying. I have not told you Kay seems not to be a professional photographer, I recall he calls himself an amateur on the german large format forum. Not too say the quality of the work is amateuristic, but he's not some well known star photographer like Strutt, just someone who's trying to make good work, like most of us here.

    Keep on going at it while I'm away!

  2. #12
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    Hmmmm...I rather liked these. When the subject IS banal, the photograph conveys that. The slow shutter images offer the interpretation that life is moving quickly, but these buildings will go on for a loooooong time. Or, they offer the illusion of permanence in the guise of new buildings which likely replace old ones once thought to have been permanent and the folly of such ideas. Or some such thing. The point is I get a sense that the photographer has an interpretive motive here about which he may feel strongly. They're akin to the work Robert Adams about whom this was written after an exhibition of his photographs: "The exhibition ushered in the new era of landscape photography and it showcased the ideals of the new approach: landscape could not be artificially separated from cultural and social counterparts, and landscape photography had to abandon the hollow sense of style it had inherited from the previous half century."
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  3. #13
    medform-norm's Avatar
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    Hmm, today was one of those days that you wish never happened - rotten! - but I'm over that now and have taken time to make something that looks like well-prepared response, ahem ahem.

    Kay has not responded yet, so either he's also having a rotten day and more wisely, decided to ride it out in bed, or he doesn't understand English. It would have been nice to hear some more from the horse's mouth, but now you'll have to do with my ramblings.

    When starting this thread, I merely said I felt more at home with these pics, not that I was going to praise them to heaven. To me, these images have an immediate pull on my sentiments. I actually and truly enjoy these images. To me they are not boring or empty at all. I can communicate with them very well. That doesn't mean I find them all good from a professional point of view.

    The ones I especially like for more than just 'homey, sentimental reasons' are this or this or this one

    What I understood from the comments posted on www.grossformatphotographie.de is that he has set himself the task to document his city, Düsseldorf. Some of the pics stem from this self-assignment. In another post that I can't retrace he explains what he's trying to do - and now this is interesting - showing that he is very concerned with content and concept and not at all with technical brilliance. That was what I found so incredibly remarkable from some of the comments posted, that people thought rather the opposite, viz. that the work lacked content, could not see what the photog was trying to capture or convey, but that they saw technique.

    The easiest argument would be to say that the photog apparently has not succeeded in conveying his vision. But that's too easy a retort. You see, first of all I do not share this view, for to me he has succeeded in conveying his concept. Second, a lot of pictures that are liked across the pont (of Ansel-like dead treas, sweeping views in mountains, rough nature, waterfalls, etc. etc.) to me seem to lack the same content, while being technically well executed. To me, these seem boring and uninteresting, empty. Meaning they don't pull my strings and for the life of me I can't comprehend why other people rave over them. More than just individual differences, I would say continental differences are at play here as well. (Of course, I could be wrong).
    On the other hand, I bet there is a certain amount catholicism at play as well. I have found that one of the common grounds in work I like has been the proximity of the maker to catholicism or a catholically impregnated community in his early life, specifically catholicism as practiced in a number of European countries, specif. Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Eastern Europe. I really can't put my finger on it or why it matters, but I have just found this to be the case.

    I think the photog realizes the banality of his work, but I feel he's more with how things are captured rather than what - the how here being crucial to an image being succesful or not. Perhaps it's also that indefinite 'how' that I like.

    Another interesting thing I gleaned from these comments, is that to people not familiar with this kind of environment, these images tell them something about the local architecture, whereas to me these are such familiar visuals, that I can only record them as a very personal statement about this ubiquitous mix of buildings. It's like seeing a personal portrait from someone you know initimately as opposed to seeing a portrait from an unknown person. You will tend to notice very different aspects of the image.

    Okay, nuff said now. Or I won't shut up!

  4. #14
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    His work is definitely influenced by the Becher school of aesthetics. It is similar to Andreas Gursky's early work in a way. Do you know if he prints big like Gursky?
    www.gregorytdavis.com

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    It's simple really! One man's meat is another man's potatoes. If we all liked the same thing, there would be 1 camera, 1 type of film, 1 developer, etc, etc.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregdavis
    His work is definitely influenced by the Becher school of aesthetics. It is similar to Andreas Gursky's early work in a way. Do you know if he prints big like Gursky?
    Oh, I totally agree with you - I left it out since apparently I thought it self-evident. I don't think he prints big, since I remember seeing a remark that he hasn't even exhibited these works and he's still looking for a sponsor. I don't even know if he prints at all yet.

    BTW The Becher school goes back a long way before the Bechers entered on stage. Renger-Patz was a very important pre-runner of course, but even before that in older photos the tendencies are there, maybe not as much worked out in detail as in spirit.

    But this Becher-syndrome, as I call it, could be very stifling for new photographers in the way that it will be real hard to come up with a new 'style' or direction of photography. You see lots of people continuing in the Becher footsteps, even in new directions, but still in their footsteps. That's not to say I don't like that kind of photography, as I do very much, and I must admit I too find myself influenced and attrackted by that school of photography, but to find your own particular way beyond that is something different. There is a vast difference between the copying of a way of working or taking it one step further. As we all know, I expect.

    ---
    I find it too simple to put the different reactions to the work down to what bohica commented, even though it is completely within the line of expectation that someone feels tempted to make it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by medform-norm
    Oh, I totally agree with you - I left it out since apparently I thought it self-evident. I don't think he prints big, since I remember seeing a remark that he hasn't even exhibited these works and he's still looking for a sponsor. I don't even know if he prints at all yet.

    BTW The Becher school goes back a long way before the Bechers entered on stage. Renger-Patz was a very important pre-runner of course, but even before that in older photos the tendencies are there, maybe not as much worked out in detail as in spirit.

    But this Becher-syndrome, as I call it, could be very stifling for new photographers in the way that it will be real hard to come up with a new 'style' or direction of photography. You see lots of people continuing in the Becher footsteps, even in new directions, but still in their footsteps. That's not to say I don't like that kind of photography, as I do very much, and I must admit I too find myself influenced and attrackted by that school of photography, but to find your own particular way beyond that is something different. There is a vast difference between the copying of a way of working or taking it one step further. As we all know, I expect.

    ---
    I find it too simple to put the different reactions to the work down to what bohica commented, even though it is completely within the line of expectation that someone feels tempted to make it.
    Hi,
    Allow me to reiterate, (hopefully without pestering) are there unified attributes of European landscape photography that are unseen in the work of American artists? Also, for those of us following the plot from the cheap seats, can you speak to the connection between KayKayKay and the Bechers. In looking at the few pictures presented on the website they seem to be quite fundamentally different from one another. (not just in media)
    Celac.

  8. #18
    medform-norm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pelerin
    Hi,
    Allow me to reiterate, (hopefully without pestering) are there unified attributes of European landscape photography that are unseen in the work of American artists? Also, for those of us following the plot from the cheap seats, can you speak to the connection between KayKayKay and the Bechers. In looking at the few pictures presented on the website they seem to be quite fundamentally different from one another. (not just in media)
    Celac.
    Hi Celac,
    will you allow me to ponder your question during or right after my sleep? I'm way too late already....

    first question: let's narrow it down a bit to say maybe German landscape photography since it so ubiquitous?
    second question: it's the Becher school we're talking about, not to be confused with the work by the Becher's only, but also from their many students.

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by medform-norm
    Hi Celac,
    will you allow me to ponder your question during or right after my sleep? I'm way too late already....

    first question: let's narrow it down a bit to say maybe German landscape photography since it so ubiquitous?
    second question: it's the Becher school we're talking about, not to be confused with the work by the Becher's only, but also from their many students.
    Certainly. It is a nice discussion you have started here. I have pulled out what I have on B+H Becher and Renger-Patzsch and spent some time looking through it. I will try to formulate a cohesive statement about what I see as fundamentally different among the artists in question. To be clear, I like B+H Becher's work very much.
    Celac.

  10. #20
    medform-norm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pelerin
    Certainly. It is a nice discussion you have started here. I have pulled out what I have on B+H Becher and Renger-Patzsch and spent some time looking through it. I will try to formulate a cohesive statement about what I see as fundamentally different among the artists in question. To be clear, I like B+H Becher's work very much.
    Celac.
    Hi Celac,
    it gets better - well, for you, maybe not for me. I received an e-mail today from Kay with a long explanation in German about his work plus the request to translate it for the forum and post it for him. He can read but not write fluently in English, apparently. He said he finds this thread very interesting too, especially because the comments come from the anglo-american cultural space (Kulturraum). So now to me the great honor befalls of translating his text into English. I flatter myself that at least it will be a little better than if he had the Babelfish do it for him. However, you will have to wait a bit until I'm done. And when I'm done, Kay promised to send me some further remarks on his work and the concepts behind it, which I will then also translate for you lot as well.

    At least you will get it straight from the horses mouth and I will be saved speculating about this guys work and possible making severe errors of judgement in the process.

    In the meantime I - and no doubt Kay too - will be looking forward to your cohesive statement, which will, no doubt, succeed in maintaining the level of this discussion.

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