Monday, October 20, 2008

Conceptual Art's Legacy to Photography

Photographic use in post-modernism and challenges thus proposed by such post-modern works of art.
  • A challenge to the traditional/historical notion of "Photograph as Documentary" in nature + examination of history of documentation.
  • Use of photography as a critique of mass media (we are a product of such images; such images do not reflect who we are).
  • Photography as poised to counter the traditional notion of the "male gaze" (for whom works of art are made).
  • Photography confounding the truth: Constructed images + fictionalized histories (documents v. pictures).
DOROTHEA LANGE - migrant mother, Nipomo, California. 1936. WALKER EVANS - Hale County, Alabama. 1936. Consider: How objective ARE these photos? Their objective was to bring to light the reality of these people. "Their aim has been not to reform life but to know it. Not to persuade but to understand." - John Szarkowski said of the photographers.
By the 1970s, the era of social reform, documentary is being considered as remnant, an act of refusal; is seeing really believing?
Martha Rosler - Red Stripe Kitchen:Above image attempting to show daily life in the U.S... "Red Stripe Kitchen is also a harbinger of our own present moment, in which media images of domestic comfort and security no longer seem to keep the violence and chaos of the outside world at bay."
Allan Sekula, Aerospace Folktales - creates a series of folktales as yet another way to approach the public documentary.

Victor Burgins: "Life Demands a Little Give and Take" Pedro Meyer - also works to redefine documentary. "Documentary photography has implied a practice in which the photographer examined a socially conscious concern of the time within an extended form. An extensive series of images as well as the use of text are utilized to provide an in-depth examination into a subject with the intention to suggest empathy and/or social change."

Artists are turning the nature of traditional documentary on its side. How objective is documentary?

Documentary photography is interesting because people normally expect a the contents of a photo to be true, as opposed to an interpretation of reality (such as like in a painting) -- but it isn't always entirely fully true.

How do we know if something is true or not in a documentary?

One person's idea of documentary photography is to bring awareness to an issue.

From Here I Saw what Happened and I cried: - Reinterpretation of a historical document.

Carrie Mae Weems - Kitchen Table Series.

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