Ashlyn Paige, who blogs great things over at The Being Time, writes:

I had the great pleasure to see this photo in person today in Houston. It could be a still from Beasts of the Southern Wild, but it’s really a photograph of Island de Jean Charles in Louisiana by Stacy Kranitz.

See more of Stacy’s work here.

Ashlyn Paige, who blogs great things over at The Being Timewrites:

I had the great pleasure to see this photo in person today in Houston. It could be a still from Beasts of the Southern Wild, but it’s really a photograph of Island de Jean Charles in Louisiana by Stacy Kranitz.

See more of Stacy’s work here.

@1 day ago with 127 notes
#Photography #Criticism #Ashlyn Paige #Stacy Kranitz 

"Our attitudes to authorship, shifted massively by our common use of the Internet, confuse our understanding of where photography will fit in the cultural landscape of the future. Anyone invested in high-art photography (where authorship is king, where influences are conventionally hidden, and where reusing existing imagery is consciously acknowledged as appropriation) sees this intellectual-property amnesia of the age of the “digital native” as a problem, at least on the level of terminology. All photographic imagery circulating on the Internet is the raw material for millions of “unique” stories of (educators, hold your breath) “self-expression”: found illustrations that quasi-communicate millions of people’s homogenized experiences and emotions. The Internet does not adhere to the inherent, necessary asymmetry of high- versus low-art categorizations that we use in the cultural sector: in a banal sense, all photographs on the Web are orphans ready to be claimed."

@4 weeks ago with 40 notes
#Photography #Culture #Criticism #Charlotte Cotton #Social Media #Theory #Art #Inspiration #SEESAW magazine #Aaron Schuman 

"Vision is, rather, the site of a trauma induced by an unwelcome encounter with the real, from which the subject emerges, compelled to repetition by a failure of memory. The effect is to leave the subject hanging, in an ambivalent relation of distance and desire, pleasure and anxiety, expulsion and loss that fills the space the trauma has opened between an inner self and an outer world that this inner self can henceforth only possess in separation."

— John Tagg  “The Plane of Decent Seeing” in The Disciplinary Frame: Photographic Truths and the Capture of Meaning (2008)

Photographs © Katy Grannan, from The Westerns (Fraenkel Gallery, Greenberg van Doren Gallery, Salon 94 Freemans Gallery, 2007). In sequential order: Dale, Ocean Beach, 2006Gale & Dale, Pacifica I, 2007Edward with Prayer Beads, Baker Beach, 2006.

@1 month ago with 71 notes
#Photography #Vision #Culture #Power #Criticism #Katy Grannan #John Tagg #Portraiture #Documentary photography #Inspiration 

"Documentary form is not a given: it must be hard-won, fought for, often against received wisdom and expectation. It is of necessity experimental and thus artistic. This is what has led to a flourishing of documentary forms on the wall, on the page, and sometimes in the illustrated press that survives. From this perspective it is possible to see all of Graham’s remarkable innovations for what they really are, and to see that the tension in photography between art and report is vital.”

- from “Noticing” by David Campany, in 1981 & 2011 by Paul Graham (MACK, 2012)

Photographs © Paul Graham, from a shimmer of possibility, American Night, Television Portraits and Troubled Land respectively.

@1 month ago with 116 notes
#Photography #Paul Graham #Criticism #David Campany #Documentary photography #Street photography 

"The work of Ansel Adams is a romantic fiction, an extreme idealisation, a magnificent lie – so magnificent that many have persuaded that it is indeed the truth. Its ironies, which might be appreciated by the image sophisticate and were certainly not lost on its creator, are not intended for general consumption. The tens of thousands who visit Yosemite each year, lured in part by Adams’ images, can miraculously ignore what lies before their very eyes and see the Valley through the master photographer’s optimistic vision, a spectacle of God given magnificence, untrammelled nature as pure as the water cascading down Bridal Veil Falls. For Richard Misrach, however, God is less of an immediate issue than the purity of the water cascading down Bridal Veil Falls. Just how pure is it? Is it the tainted residue perhaps of acid rainfall? Is it perhaps contaminated by industrial waste which has leached into the aquafis? For Misrach’s recent investigations have taken him far beyond the transcendent legacy of Adams, far beyond the untidy domesticising of the landscape with tract developments and industrial sheds, theme parks and golf courses. The kinds of interventions which caused Ansel Adams to beat his breast in horror, while hardly insignificant and not exactly celebrated by Misrach, may pale in comparison to those legacies of the Fission Age, which may be invisible but might be visited upon future generations like the Mark of Cain."

— “In Photographica Deserta – The Desert Cantos of Richard Misrach" by Gerry Badger, from Creative Camera (1988). Photographs by Ansel Adams and Richard Misrach respectively.

@2 weeks ago with 84 notes
#Photography #Criticism #Gerry Badger #Ansel Adams #Richard Misrach #Landscape #Landscape photography #Culture #Inspiration 

"Realisms turn on the construction of an imaginary continuity and coherence between a subject of address and a signified real. The mobilization of such rhetorics of continuity and coherence has thus been most urgent and insistent at times of deep social crisis or transformation, in which conceptions of social identity and notions of reality have been rendered acutely unstable. In the face of instability, realist strategies of representation, as diverse and contentious as they may have been, have worked to retrieve certitudes of identity and reality from the turmoil of uncertainty by guaranteeing a given externality to a given internality— a given reality to a given subject. What drives this strategy is, in each case, the critical conjuncture in which it is articulated as a response to particular historical demands—crisis-driven demands for common recognitions, for bedrock certainties, for uncontestable even if unpalatable truths. As a result, wherever realist strategies may have been positioned on the political spectrum and however critical of prevailing explanations and prejudices they may have been, however intent on putting authority in question, they have always sought in one way or another—even in the midst of an open conflict of realisms, as in the 1930s—to put an end to disputability and partisan sense."

— John Tagg “The Plane of Decent Seeing” in The Disciplinary Frame: Photographic Truths and the Capture of Meaning

@1 month ago with 18 notes
#Realism #Advertising #Culture #John Tagg #Criticism #Theory 

It’s interesting to consider these portraits in relation to Richard Avedon’s famous statement in the foreword to In The American West (1985),and then in relation to an argument Julian Stallabrass set out in an essay on portraiture published twenty-two years later. Avedon wrote:

A portrait photographer depends upon another person to complete his picture. The subject imagined, which in a sense is me, must be discovered in someone else willing to take part in a fiction he cannot possibly know about. My concerns are not his. We have separate ambitions for the image. His need to plead his case probably goes as deep as my need to plead mine, but the control is with me.

Latterly, Katy Grannan has most overtly developed the formal model of Avedon’s portraiture, first in Boulevard (2010) and most recently in The 99 (2014). It seems very necessary to note that this latest work began when Grannan set out to retrace a region of California photographed by Dorothea Lange during The Great Depression (see More American Photographs). Questions of hardship and the political complexities of photographic representation are thus intricately interwoven in the fabric of these new images.

Stallabrass makes a persuasive argument about the profound influence of consumerism, political disenfranchisement and the spectacular nature of contemporary culture on the changing conventions of the portrait. In an essay centred around Rineke Dijkstra’s Beach Portraits, and the advent of a conventionally neutral expression in portraiture printed at a large scale, he writes:

This constitutes the terrible plausibility of these images, and part of the basis for their success: they do describe and also enact a world in which people are socially atomized, politically weak, and are governed by their place in the image world. In demanding that the maximum visual detail be wrung from their subjects, they silence and still them. In their seamless, high-resolution depictions, they present the victory of the image world over its human subjects as total and eternal.

            While the results may hold apparently radical elements – that the passivity and image victimhood of the subjects may rebound on their viewers – the ambiguity of such images finally salvages artist and viewer. Such images oscillate between identification and distancing, honoring and belittling, critical recognition and the enjoyment of spectacle, and access to the real and the critique of realist representation. (…)

Why are subjects of contemporary art so often taken as mere spectacular fragments rather than as active persons, while the opposite is assumed of its makers and viewers? Even in the apparently opposing participant-observer mode, there is little stress on agency (other than entertaining misbehavior) bur rather on passive conditions that are meant to constitute assured identities. In both, the excluded middle is agency and its depiction in documentary, along with the construction of a realist structure through the combination of differentiated images, and particularly the idea that identity might be transformed through agency.

The plausibility of the ethnographic strand of photographic imagery surely derives from the accuracy of its implicit view of neoliberalist societies. The push and pull of identification and distancing, and honoring and belittling, are staged only at the level of the image, not in seeing its subjects as agents. In this sense, such images exhibit a transparent complicity with commercialized spectacle. There is a link, in other words, between the presentation of these subjects as mere image and the familiar powerlessness of people in day-to-day democracy, of image and news management, of the hollowing out of citizenship in favor of consumerism, of broadcast and celebrity culture. This [ethnographic] strand’s relentless focus on the fixed image is a reflection of the marked decline in political agency, in democratic participation, which is a steadily growing and universal feature of neoliberal societies.”

— Julian Stallabrass, in the essay What’s In A Face? Blankness and Significance in Contemporary Art Photography, October Journal, Fall 2007

All photographs © Richard Avedon, from In The American West 

@1 month ago with 376 notes
#Photography #Portraiture #Richard Avedon #Criticism #Culture #Theory #Julian Stallabrass #Rineke Dijkstra #Katy Grannan 
In every act of looking there is an expectation of meaning. This expectation should be distinguished from a desire for explanation. The one who looks may explain afterwards; but prior to any explanation, there is the expectation of what appearances themselves may be about to reveal.
— John Berger ”Appearances” in Another Way of Telling
Photograph Untitled from Field Trip by Martin Kollar (MACK, 2013). More to follow…

In every act of looking there is an expectation of meaning. This expectation should be distinguished from a desire for explanation. The one who looks may explain afterwards; but prior to any explanation, there is the expectation of what appearances themselves may be about to reveal.

— John Berger ”Appearances” in Another Way of Telling

Photograph Untitled from Field Trip by Martin Kollar (MACK, 2013). More to follow…

@1 month ago with 20 notes
#Photography #Martin Kollar #Criticism #John Berger #Realism #Theory #Politics #Documentary photography 
Ashlyn Paige, who blogs great things over at The Being Time, writes:

I had the great pleasure to see this photo in person today in Houston. It could be a still from Beasts of the Southern Wild, but it’s really a photograph of Island de Jean Charles in Louisiana by Stacy Kranitz.

See more of Stacy’s work here.
1 day ago
#Photography #Criticism #Ashlyn Paige #Stacy Kranitz 
2 weeks ago
#Photography #Criticism #Gerry Badger #Ansel Adams #Richard Misrach #Landscape #Landscape photography #Culture #Inspiration 
"Our attitudes to authorship, shifted massively by our common use of the Internet, confuse our understanding of where photography will fit in the cultural landscape of the future. Anyone invested in high-art photography (where authorship is king, where influences are conventionally hidden, and where reusing existing imagery is consciously acknowledged as appropriation) sees this intellectual-property amnesia of the age of the “digital native” as a problem, at least on the level of terminology. All photographic imagery circulating on the Internet is the raw material for millions of “unique” stories of (educators, hold your breath) “self-expression”: found illustrations that quasi-communicate millions of people’s homogenized experiences and emotions. The Internet does not adhere to the inherent, necessary asymmetry of high- versus low-art categorizations that we use in the cultural sector: in a banal sense, all photographs on the Web are orphans ready to be claimed."
4 weeks ago
#Photography #Culture #Criticism #Charlotte Cotton #Social Media #Theory #Art #Inspiration #SEESAW magazine #Aaron Schuman 
1 month ago
#Realism #Advertising #Culture #John Tagg #Criticism #Theory 
1 month ago
#Photography #Vision #Culture #Power #Criticism #Katy Grannan #John Tagg #Portraiture #Documentary photography #Inspiration 
1 month ago
#Photography #Portraiture #Richard Avedon #Criticism #Culture #Theory #Julian Stallabrass #Rineke Dijkstra #Katy Grannan 
1 month ago
#Photography #Paul Graham #Criticism #David Campany #Documentary photography #Street photography 
In every act of looking there is an expectation of meaning. This expectation should be distinguished from a desire for explanation. The one who looks may explain afterwards; but prior to any explanation, there is the expectation of what appearances themselves may be about to reveal.
— John Berger ”Appearances” in Another Way of Telling
Photograph Untitled from Field Trip by Martin Kollar (MACK, 2013). More to follow…
1 month ago
#Photography #Martin Kollar #Criticism #John Berger #Realism #Theory #Politics #Documentary photography