Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
I find his work interesting, but I was only using him to clarify my idea of where I think the 'documentary aesthetic' originated, which is very prevalent in contemporary work. Have a look at anything in the British Journal of Photography - the only real magazine we have on contemporary practice over here and how most keep up to date. I believe this kind of photography to be a direct response to the critic, rather than a natural progression of the medium. More an intellectual defensive, rather than a continuation of creative exploration with light sensitive materials. Personally, I don't think the photograph is the best format for a thesis.

I wonder if Minor White's statement means anything to this wave of photographers '...an unexposed piece of film [sensor], static and seemingly inert yet pregnant with possibilities.' Because I believe for anyone who enjoys making photographs, in spite of the statements they want to make, this pretty much sums up the basic love of the medium. It's something they would do well to remember, because people only pick up a camera with joy, yet most of the work I see is devoid of it, in favour of an imposed intellectual position. Somewhere along the line the photographers became the critics and the curators became the artists.

If you look at popular music you'll see that producers and DJs are the new singer-songwriters, the artists. It's not a problem confined to photography, but more, in today's culture, that taste equates art. The increasing masses of work produced seems to be simply raw material for the curator's game.
It's interesting the high degree to which personal taste can colour one's perspective though. For example, I too find myself being quite down on curators, publishers, critics and galleries when it comes to photography. But I am actually coming from the opposite end of the spectrum. I see it in totally the opposite way! I love Shore's pictures. He's one of the photographers I enjoy most, along with Tice and others. The photographs are about time and place, and for me they are perfect for that. The compositions and renderings of detail allow me to get totally lost in them, as though I were standing there. There is so much to look at, over and over again. I never get bored, no matter how many times I pour over the images. They render the vernacular in an exquisitely real way and I simply can't get enough of them. From my perspective, it always seems like people have little interest in this type of thing, and way too much interest in so called "boundary-pushing". That is all I see when I read magazines, go to shows etc. If your pictures are sharp, you're boring. If you fix and wash your prints, you're boring. If you use a lens, you're boring. And on and on it goes. I flip the pages and see people heralded as expressive geniuses because they burn holes in paper negatives with aerial lenses, find old stained unfixed prints in a shoebox, take pictures of dismembered old dolls (there's at least one of these in every issue of every magazine), use 15 toners on one print etc. People fall all over themsleves for this "progressive" stuff because a gallery owner knows how to spin a ridicuously profound story. To me, this is the stuff that's boring. I look at it and all I see is either a deliberate effort to do something different, regardless of the outcome, or a cover-up for a total lack of vision and/or technique.

So there you have it. Same frustration, totally opposite experience. Interesting discussion though.