Monday, February 28, 2011

Hines, Summer, Speers

Jessica Hines

My Brother’s War, a series by Jessica Hines, is a powerful series. The entire thing is a Morell like juxtaposition between the two-dimensional (images, pictures, letters, book pages,) and three-dimensional. She uses the flat to serve as a literal representation of the past while placing it in a very real and current space. Her especially strong images are the ones where she finds ways to integrate the two through visual relationships. She uses horizon lines and geographic features to unite landscapes and photographs as well as light reflections and glass magnification to mix written documents and their surroundings.

Louisa Marie Summer

In this next series, Jennifer’s Family by Louisa Marie Summer, the main idea was to give a view of urban poverty based off interaction with one family. This series however struck me as what David Hurn called exploitation. It felt like something that had been shot over the course of a week with little to no real interaction between the photographer and the subject. There was no apparent deep connection to the family, and, in all truthfulness, the series did not break down any stereotypes as the artist had hoped. For this to be successful, Summer would probably have had to spend the next decade with that family. If any real truth were to rise to the surface, it would not come from a weekend photo shoot at the neighbor’s house.

Vee Speers

The Immortals is a puzzling series. I am torn between hating the aesthetic of it and loving the concept. It’s basis in the twisting of our ‘ideal of beauty’ and comparison between the modern Photoshop ideal and the historic painterly ideal create an almost painfully perfect view of extremely fake youth. Backed by the statement of purpose, this works well, however alone the images seem overdone. Even with the statement, they are on the borderline of too much. Perhaps a realistic back ground or less edited foreground would have brought the images back to a reality we can identify with.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Soth assignment

Of all the photographs with writing on them, I think I was attracted to this one the most because of the cohesiveness of the image. The fact that the image was re-photographed with the text allowed me to believe that it belonged there. Although I find it a little cheese, it works. The font is appropriate for the image and subject and the picture has none of the cliché that the words hold. 

What first caught my eye about this diptych was the focus on the woman's hair and not her face. because of the depth of field and perfect exposure the image implies professionalism or at least a professional camera. However the focus reverts back to the fact that its still just two kids playing with the camera. it is a beautiful balance between playful childishness and decent technical quality. 

Though this image is not the image of the stranger, it was a product of the conversation that ensued. The interaction between the photographer and the stranger he photographed lead the photographer to this place and this image. Aesthetically, it is one of the better pictures from the assignment, but conceptually  I think it fits with Soth's purpose beautifully. it is all about the idea of going back to the basics and then letting that lead us out again. 

I chose this image for two reasons, one the light and two the color. first, the play of the light across the child's shirt and back into the shadows very interesting. At the same time, none of the details in the shadow arias are lost. Secondly, the blues in the image fit so well together. the range from desaturated blue of the carpet to the bright blue in the upper left, the green blue of the shirt to the pink of the run and the child ear; it is all so well coordinated and balanced it could be a color study. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Philip-Lorca diCorcia

Philip-Lorca diCorcia on "Hookers" and "Thousand"

The first think to strike me about diCorcia's photography was the grungy, Nan Goldin-esque, style and subject. The photographs appeared to me like something the photographer snagged at the local club, a quick snap shot taken before the subject has time to react. In part, I was right in this, and in part I was drastically wrong. The first series "Hookers," the one I found most similar to Nan Goldins work was actually executed more in the style of Jeff Wall. The photographs are set up, the lighting is found or staged, Polaroid's of assistants make preliminary sketches and then finally diCorcia finds a hooker to pose for the picture. The second series, "Thousand," is comprised of a thousand Polaroids. These are all pictures that were shot as photographic sketches. Precursors to the final photograph, snapshots of family and friends, and just random pictures of everyday things. When looking at these two series, it was amazing to see how they both influence each other. Though the Hooker pictures loose the cheep flash and soft focus quality that are in many of the Polaroids, they retain much of the low-light, quick composition and muted color palate that define the Polaroids.