Don't get me wrong here. I hope you don't think I'm coming down and saying, "Dude, your opinion sucks!" If you're running with the big dogs and even have representation (let alone in the same group as Soth, et al) then your experience and opinion are greatly valued and I thank you much for your engagement in the dialogue.
What I'm saying is that often, it takes a long time for taste to catch up to contemporary work. Maybe art history will relegate Soth, Deutsch, Hilliard, Strassheim, etc. to the same sad place where Mortenson is -- forgotten and reviled for over-reaching and trying to force the medium to do things it was never meant to do.
You're not the only one who holds a negative opinion of contemporary phototgraphy. My own mentor (who is a straight documentarian and studied with Jerome Leibling), considers contemporary photography to be nothing more than "pretty, affluent people sitting on a bed and staring off into an uncertain future" and pretty much holds the Yale MFA program in contempt for forcing this upon the art world. But you know, art reflects its era. We live in an uncertain world where people do sit on their beds and stare off into the future. Maybe the current trend reflects a retreat from the hyper-realism of Fox News and reality TV and is trying to dial "reality" back a notch from roadside bombs and plastic surgery-enhanced "bachelors" to shots of actual people.
What does all of this mean? That there is a great gaping void where a countermovement can go. It's perfectly fine not to like an art movement. Let's just come up with the Next Next Big Thing(tm), preferably using film. Then WE can get into the Whitney Biennial, sell prints for a cubic buttload of cash, and get invited to join Magnum.
Me, I happen to like taking pictures of people sitting on beds staring off into an uncertain future. I also like pictures of places that people see every single day but never find beautiful because they don't take the time to see the beauty there. Mundane? Banal? Sure. But I like that kind of stuff. Notice that George Slade and those guys aren't banging down my door to get prints to hang, either.
By the way, I LOVE that we get to have this kind of discourse and dialoge here. So much of shooting gets into dilutions and emulsions and which lens has the highest LPM, etc. It's a ton of fun to get to comment on the passing clouds of art trends. And really, that's all they are. Art trends are like the weather, and you know what they say about weather up here in Minnesota: Don't like it, wait a few minutes and it'll change.
Which begs the question: Where is hyper-contemporary photography? Where is the bleeding edge? Or is there one? Maybe photography as an artistic medium has been explored as fully as possible and all that's left is retread and use of photos as documentary images. This whole discussion makes me want to find my copy of Crisis of the Real and give it another read.
Get a copy of "A Moveable Feast." Read about what he thought of trains, cheese, booze, horse races, his neighbors, the clothes that Gertrude Stein's girlfriend wore, hanging out with other artists and trying to be an artist while holding down a day job. Mundane? Sure. But it's mundane filtered through Hemingway. Great stuff.
Originally Posted by Early Riser