Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall

Though his work looks candid, Jeff Walls photography is staged. The scene of chaos here, though nor ordinary, certainly does not look impossible. All of it seems to be just lucky timing. It is not the setting or the subject that make this picture interesting, it is the relation between the characters; the way they interact gives implies a level of depth otherwise missing from the shot. This is something that I have been striving for with my peter pan work. and is probably the hardest part of my process. To create this tangible relations and interactions with out making it seemed posed is a lot harder then a shot like this shows. 

In this picture, it is the inclusion the minor, apparently inadvertent details that transform the shot. Though the wet floor and paper boats are an obvious stage, details like the plant, trash in the wastebasket and the open filing cabinet make it appear more candid. The clock and light from the window give an apparent time and setting for the entire thing. Even the name "8th Floor Office Park. 4th February 2009" attempts to add to the documentary facade. All of these are critical details to making a set up like this work. Whether it is with paper dolls or in an office, the details are what transform the stage.

Even though the grave of flowers is clearly the subject here, Wall doesn't resort to simply recording the oddity he has created. He continues to add little details to push the photograph further and further. The absence of people is made up for by the hoses in the back ground and shovels in the foreground imply. Both of these add the element of narrative to his strange flower grave. An intriguing comparison for this photograph is the tree in the grave by Goldsworthy. Both have similar subjects but both are handled very differently. Here, the strangeness of what is seen is elevated by the normality of the setting: everything seems normal, except the grave of water and plants. With Goldsworthy, the creation of the unusual is stressed by the forward approach to the photograph. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi mate, nice blog you have. But I think you have confused Jeff Wall's work a bit. The middle photograph here is mine, not Jeff Wall's. I'd appreciate it if you credit it properly, it's the right thing to do.

    Kind regards,
    Tomas Hein