I started reading the Phaidon book on Stephen Shore. It reveals a lot about his work, it adds layers. I like his stuff but I didn’t really think about his work. Why not? Not seeing so much of his work? It’s range. The variety? Changes and developments. The ideas? Feeling as if it was too ironic. Americana. The kind of image that has become commonplace. The weight of influence?
This quote is a reminder. A note.
“Shore: One of the things I did at the time when I was taking those pictures was stand next to the camera on its tripod and simply look. After I had gotten a rough idea of what I was photographing I would look at what was in front of me and literally pay attention to as much as I could as far back into space as I could see. And I would decide whether there was any slight adjustment I wanted to make.
Shore: Yes, taking into account any perceptions that came my way. And I would say yes, systematically, because if I didn’t do it systematically then I wouldn’t do it.? Does that make sense?
Fried: Perfect sense.
Shore: So it was like a check list. Okay, I have done all this, I have got the rough framework of the picture and now I am going to stand here and really look at everything. The metaphor I have in mind is that I am clearing the space for the viewer. That by moving my attention through the scene and making any necessary adjustment to the picture, I clear the space for the viewer to move his or her attention through. If I look only 50 feet into the scene, then there would be a wall that the viewer would stop at."
Lessons in space and ways of seeing.
Le Havre. Aki Kaurismäki and Timo Salminen. Saturated. They impose lush colours (the past?) on to the present. Frame after frame of beautiful photography. An unreality? A dream? A golden age? everything picked and everything a choice. A lost world. A hand and bread . Stomach pain and a red onion. Masters of colour. They work to set a mood, a tone throughout the work. Creating a tension. Now Vs Then. Them Vs Us. It makes it feel like a ghost story. Spirits and holy fools. Miracles. How long were they in that container? Was anybody alive? Why do these colours make me doubt a surface reading of this story?
Colour use, making super-reality/reality/fantasy/myth. Adjusting the image and the world, in context, in shadow..
I found something difficult about this exercise. Just getting my head around the ideas we are trying to cover here, while creating something interesting, while creating something that I can relate to. Maybe I make life too complex for myself. Trying to sum up a book in the relationship between two or three elements seems kind of crass, too literal. It’s also the mood of the book that sticks with me. Less physical? Although not my favourite book I felt I could catch something of Lowry’s book with the things I had around me. I tried a number of set ups. Variations. But settled on this one in the end. While setting up the photo on a page as a front cover I felt as if it was lacking something. Punch? How many books have just a simple photograph on the front. There is usually a design element beyond the photograph, which I tried to add here. The use of colour. Simple shapes. The circle a reduction of the crater. the sun. blood, fate? It makes for a stronger image. Instant but with added layers. Does such malipulation still count as photography? If i say so?