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Between the three studios I am taking this semester, I have narrowed down my most current and ongoing interest or theme.  I believe I am interested in places that are inherently spiritual, supernatural, or in any way uncanny.  I have been particularly interested in cemeteries and how they function as places or containment, organization, nostalgia, spirituality, etc.  I am interested in how people attempt to memorialize those who have passed. The fake flowers, lamps, crosses, cherubs, candles, benches and all the numerous other things that people so lovingly place and usually soon forget are of interest to me, and I would like to create a series of close-ups of these tiny monuments and experiment with double exposure, or layering images to suggest a narrative about the passing of time.  I am not interested in death or memory as broad topics but rather the very physical and futile way that we attempt to preserve the physical things we have lost. Hopefully I will be able to print these on a large scale to place emphasis on detail and to exaggerate the scale of these items relative to their personal importance.

While I was listening to the John Divola podcast, I noticed that he spoke a lot about the evolution he made in his goals and in his work from the time he began photographing to the current.  He said that when he started out, he wasn’t giving too much thought to what he he was photographing and why, but that it became clear to him after he completed a project or even in the middle of one, exactly what his work was about.  I also felt like I could relate to this because on any number of occasions I will have no idea what I am doing and then one of the last photos I shoot will make it all come together, or even suggest an an entirely new concept to me.  Divola seemed sincere, and I liked the fact that he was not overly analytical in his responses.  I think this relates to the article we read last week about “the thing itself” and letting the subject matter of the photo speak for itself instead of trying desperately to construct meaning. 

While I was reading “The Thing Itself” from Bill Jay’s text Occam’s Razor, I stumbled across one section that made a lot of sense to me…”It seems an extraordinary presumption that every photographer has a depth of character which demands revelation!  Inevitably, most photographers would do the world a favor by diminishing, not augmenting, the role of self and, as much as possible, emphasizing subject alone.”  I agree with this idea. I believe in individuality, but I do not think that it is possible to make completely new and unique work simply because we are part of a whole, and do not exist on our own.  We are designed to function as a group, not as individuals.  Do we make art for ourselves? Maybe, but I think we make art with the first and foremost intention of sharing it with others.  And if this is the case, then it would be a step backwards if we made art in the same self-centered way that we go about the rest of our lives.  I also liked what he had to say about style, and how it is this construct that we all strive for before we even know what our subject matter is saying.  I do agree that it is more powerful to let the subject speak for itself than to try to explain it through some “unique Style” of photography that you believe you possess.  Did the subject appeal to you because you immediately analyzed it when you first encountered it or did it appeal to you because of the nature of it?  I feel that we are attracted to things that we cannot immediately explain, and I think this is the way that it should be presented to the audience of your work.

Just thought this was interesting

This is a video I stumbled upon today and just thought I would share.  It seems like a great project.

In his book Hackney Flowers, Stephen Gill uses color in a unique way by adding it into the photos in a collage technique.  He uses color in the photos to inspire the brighter, more vibrant colors that he adds to them afterword, and then photographs them again in color film.  I hadn’t thought about color as something that could be added afterword in a photo, and I feel like it gives his images a three dimensional quality as well as texture from the objects he adds.  I think it is interesting that he uses mainly flowers and plants to add color to his images, which are mostly of urban streets and scenes.  The plant life both intensifies the color and softens the image at the same time because it adds a natural element to otherwise stark or muted photos.Image

I am a bit late looking through this body of work but I am glad I did.  I feel like Foglia does a nice job of “finding” scenarios in nature that are worth noting.  Whether or not they are staged is beside the point.  I got a general feeling of the photo “capturing a moment” in most of the photos, or capturing something that was just so unlikely to find in that space at that time.  The bathtub full of blood and meat really stood out for me, as well as the dead bear and the child sitting on the mans chest in the water.  Each of these has a very still quality but also a staged quality.  I question whether or not they are real, even though I am fairly certain they are, because they are so bizarre yet appear so common place in the photographs. 

I really enjoy landscape photography for several reasons, but I believe most importantly that the earth is truly a beautiful place and has an incredible amount to say.  I love the fact that you really can’t tell the ground how to pose for you or what to emote, and it becomes a game trying to search for just the right composition and just the right light on just the right day.  I love the work of Barbara Bosworth, and I especially respond to her diptychs/triptychs, which really work to tell a story about the land.  I noticed that when you break them down into their parts, each image still works on its own, but together they have a very strong story to tell and I think this takes an incredible amount of patience and talent on the artist’s part to be able to find and put these types of stories together. 

While I was listening to this podcast, I started getting the sense that much of Adams work as a photographer had to do with very intimate, personal aspects of his life.  Childhood is one of the examples; it, as a word or phrase or thing is something that everyone has experienced and that everyone can largely agree upon (what it means as a time frame and state of being).  It is different, however, in the sense that no two childhoods are the same, and the experiences you have at a young and vulnerable age really do shape who you become.  The story Adams told about going hunting with his father hit home for me.  He described the experience as a horrifying one and one which he has very strong negative feelings about, yet he cherishes it almost as if the memory has become his father now that his father is gone.  I feel that these emotions that are directly attached to experiences and people can be very poetic but also extremely complex and confusing because it is all too possible for them to be contradictory.  I connected this with what he said about some of his work being purely  aesthetic in order to escape the emotion, but also with what he said about his work in the forests being angry work, and how that anger is apparent in each image in some way. 

The discussion about the light in Adams’ photos was the most intriguing part of the podcast for me because I feel like I have experienced a very similar phenomena.  When he was talking about the “Colorado light” that he misses and longs for and that was so striking in his photos, all I could think of is how I connect with light almost as if it were its own individual sense.  In the same way that the body responds to visual stimuli, sound, touch, taste and smell, I believe that there is also (for me at least) a strong sense of light.  I suppose this falls under “sight” but to me it seems a bit different because light is not itself an object, but it creates all the objects we are able to see by reflecting off of them in a way that our eyes are designed to respond to.  I have often been in situations where I recognize the light, but not the environment.  It is as if I have seen the light interact with the things I’ve seen at another place and time in the very same way.  It is like deja vu in a sense, with light.  In my home, where I have lived for the entire 20 plus years of my life, there is a certain type of light that I would recognize anywhere and have at times.  It’s like it carries you back to another place or time and I believe this is what Adams is getting at in this discussion.  I hope he gets back to Colorado in his lifetime to say goodbye to that light because I think after the connection he made with it in his life and in his photographs he deserves it.

I started looking through these links from the bottom of the list and worked my way up. One that stuck out to me was the New York Times Lens blog.  The way that it was set up was what caught my attention. As soon as you clicked on the link you were viewing large, gorgeous images that looked like they belonged in National Geographic Magazine.  These images, by Jerome Delay were taken during time that he spent documenting turmoil in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Mali.  The images of children and adults in impoverished places and conditions are all too familiar to “us” but are still somewhat of a spectacle every time we see them.  Although this content was powerful, (and Delay comments on his focus on aesthetic for this reason in the write-up) I was struck more by the compositions and particularly the colors in these images.  I do think that there is always potential for the content to ruin or make an image, and the same goes for aesthetic.  I feel as though this artist does a nice job of choosing his compositions and considering their content equally and at the same time.