Thanks for the thread, Suzanne, these two photographers are both new to me.
The question you ask about their different approaches is very interesting, but a very difficult one to answer. It's almost like comparing photojournalism with portraiture, Although there are cross-overs of course, the approach is so different.
I find it interesting that it's Adams, who was photographing his own community, who used the more deliberate style. Maybe he was able to photograph more formally whereas for an outsider this would have been a step too far. Interesting that the 'outsider', Gedney, chooses the more 'fly-on-the-wall' technique, which is sometimes seen as more honest or at least less contrived, but I don't think this is necessarily true, it's the photographer that makes the difference, not the way they choose to photograph.
I think I need to look at their work a little more and think about it before coming up with any conclusions about which I prefer; the work of both is interesting, and my initial feeling is I like both in different ways. I think there is more sense of contact in the Adams images, and therefore possibly less of a potential sense of intrusion (but I'm talking abstractly, as I don't see intrusion in Gedney's photos, but just thinking how & why photos are sometimes interpreted as intrusive). On the other hand, the outsider can always see and therefore show certain things, that those who are closer cannot....It seems to me they very much compliment each other.
The idea of either work being 'exploitative' doesn't seem like it has to be an issue, unless the motives for doing the work were simply self-gain and fame and nothing else at all, no communication with the people or wanting to express something of their lives to others. I agree it's hard to say exploitation doesn't exist in any sort of photography, and that you can exploit a landscape, if you are not aware of your place within it, and your obligations towards it....It doesn't mean we censure ourselves, it means we think about our role and our relationship with whatever we are photographing. Anyway I don't get any sense of unease in this way from looking at their work, and yes, they both do seem to be compassionate.
Last edited by catem; 12-02-2006 at 05:07 PM. Click to view previous post history.