“The Photograph as Contemporary Art”

Having read this book before I feared it would be hard to take in the ideas again, but the book is so full of ideas, beautiful images, and freedoms, it’s still a pleasure to read. The introduction sets out the books parameters and aims. Explains exclusions. It introduces the reader to a number of photographers who worked in a pre-contemporary time, but who influence and inform the contemporary. These photographers developed from other areas. From documentary, commercial, vernacular, or unnamed practices. And have found themselves embraced by artists and critics. A list of names: Eggleston, Shore, Becher, Becher, Keita and Goldblatt. Moving them from one sphere to another. The book divides by approach. However as is often these divisions are fluid and artists and images move across the divides. The book seems to exclude photographers who have used photography as artistic practice from previous eras. Almost as if photography as art began w/ the list of names above. Or that contemporary art photography is divorced from previous practitioners. I am sure this has more to do with the books scope than a break in the continuum.

Chapter 1. This chapter looks at photography that uses a strategy to creat a photograph and includes an element of history. As in the Liz Wells book movement is traced from conceptual art. Where photography was used to capture ephemeral artistic ideas. It worked as a machine eye. Deskilled and unauthored to capture the artists performance . It preserved a concept, an idea. From this and along aside this previous practice acts were then created to be photographed. strategies were established to upset, to randomise, empower, disrupt, and enchant. Questions raised and answered. An approach that frames. In this chapter there is particular focus on repetition. A strategy which seems to have links to the early typologies of people, the collections of faces and races. Compares like & difference & reinforces ideas and points. A rhythm and pattern across a body of work or a series?

“the counterbalancing of a determined structure w/ unpredictable and ungovernable elements can creat magical results”

Creating restrictions in which to operate.


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Filed under August 2011, Readings

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