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  1. #1

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    Jessica Lange: Unseen... what did you think?

    A couple months ago there was a new show at MOPA (in san diego) and it was black and white images by Jessica Lange. i think they were not printed by her, but by someone else. There were a lot... as in many, and it was quite overwhelming, not in a good way... many people skimmed them and didn't really see them.... My wife did the same, and i myself felt like doing that.. I went a second time and felt the same thing... It wasn't horrible.. but i found it lacking in in the many aspects that make a great show great.. It said she had been a photographer for many decades, since college.. and she'd only shown to friends, who encouraged her to show, etc... Most of the photographs were large, full frame (6x4.5) (shot on af hasselblad) printed full frame on 20x24.
    the photographs looked like snapshots (not bad), and the ones from her mexico trips were sloppy, most without composition.. given that they were more along the lines of street photography i cut some slack, but these still were not up to par, and i swear some where shot from a moving car. what really upset me is that obviously someone pulled some strings to get this show going... and i noticed many were uninterested, or maybe i'm just projecting. Anyway, thought i'd get that out there...

    they now have the international Journalist photos out... but on the side they have 30x years of mopa (or something along those lines), with adams moonrise... as well as portraits from arnold newman (most of these are pretty good, and some awesome to see in person)...

  2. #2
    ozphoto's Avatar
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    I sometimes wonder if the name alone sells images sometimes - if they're famous, then the shots must be "great".

    I remember seeing Mario Testino's images at the National Portrait Gallery in London a few years back; I felt many were rather ho-hum and certainly wouldn't have parted with my hard earned cash, to grace a wall at home.

    At around the same time, I purchased a small print by a photographer who shoots for Vollers Corsets (Alwyn R Coates) - it was (to me) a fantastic image and I remembered thinking how much more powerful it was, than Testino's image of Catherine Zeta-Jones also in a corset.

    Others would probably disagree, but for me, this particular collection of Testino's work was a collection of snapshots that were only "great" because they were images of famous celebrities.

    Of all the images that were on show - the well known B&W image of Diana, Princess of Wales, was the only one that I remotely enjoyed viewing, the rest left me cold, and uninspired.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1003698_526791770689530_123362886_n.jpg   gq_a.jpg  

  3. #3
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozphoto View Post
    I sometimes wonder if the name alone sells images sometimes - if they're famous, then the shots must be "great".
    I'd agree. Take a single use camera. Wind it to the end. Put it on eBay and say it fell out of Beyonce's purse as she was rushing to her limo. Watch the bidding skyrocket. :-)
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

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  4. #4

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    celebrity photographs get shown because they give a look into the thinking of the celebrity, not because the celebrities are great photographers.

    What this means is they may get one show, but after that their work will stand or fall on its own merits. Ms. Lange may or may not build a reputation as a photographer if she works at it. I haven't seen her work.

    Some do achieve the best of both worlds -- Jeff Bridges is darn good with a widelux, for example, but he makes no claims at being a famous photographer, just an actor who is good at his hobby.

    http://www.jeffbridges.com/true_grit...t_book_02.html

  5. #5
    ozphoto's Avatar
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    Often though, it seems that the name is the thing - famous celebrities seem to have exhibitions handed to them, whilst truly talented individuals have a *very* hard time getting a foot through the door.

    All too often, a celebrity "photographer" gets kudos, yet the work is substandard and dull - about time some of these galleries looked a little farther than the latest gossip mags for "new talent."

    I do agree though, that Jeff's images are rather good, and they give a great look at what happens behind the scenes (and on a Widelux to boot!)

  6. #6
    MatthewDunn's Avatar
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    Obviously, celebrities are treated differently in almost every aspect of their lives. Having said that, I have seen celebrities who I think are very talented photographers. Richard Gere's work is nice. Jason Lee's (Mallrats, Chasing Amy, My Name is Earl, etc.) is great. Brad Pitt is reputed to be decent.
    "Once the amateur's naive approach and humble willingness to learn fades away, the creative spirit of good photography dies with it. Every professional should remain always in his heart an amateur." - Alfred Eisenstadt

  7. #7
    ozphoto's Avatar
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    "Ain't that the truth!"

    Think people need to get out of the "every celebrity = good photographer" mentality though; yes some are very good, but being a celebrity *doesn't* mean necessarily you're good at everything. (In fact, some aren't even good at being actual celebrities! )

    I'll admit happily, that I do like to look at what they shoot, just to see how they see the world they live in, but more often than not - it's a real disappointment. But when they actually are good at shooting - then it's a real joy to look at.

  8. #8
    verian's Avatar
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    I was looking at a few of her images here: http://www.agallery.com/aspx/inventory.aspx?search=&photographer=Jessica+Lange& Sort=

    I quite like some of them, but not at those prices.

  9. #9
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    I saw the Lange exhibit at MOPA as well, and felt the same way about her images. There were some standouts, but many of the prints didn't catch my interest. I felt like there were too many prints exhibited in this show and towards the end I just wanted to get through it all.

    I usually like to take my time when looking at exhibits (especially traditional prints) and don't like to "skim" over them. I want to be able to appreciate the details and nuances of a good photograph, but was finding that some of these just weren't very interesting. It may have been better if they had selected the strongest images and displayed fewer prints for this exhibit.

    Conversely, the Arnold Newman exhibit showing now at the San Diego Museum of Art is awesome! There are also a large number of prints in this exhibit, but it was a very interesting take on his career and the subjects he photographed. There were many photos I had never seen before and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has a chance to see it.



 

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