Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Banality and the modern photographer


Well, I watched the second of the three part series on the Art Life (ABC Television) and well, once again, I'm left feeling empty! I'm am a big fan of the power of the photograph but am becoming increasingly disappointed in the contemporary photographer. Darren Sylvester put me to sleep, he even puts himself to sleep! In his interview he admits to being lazy and not even liking taking photos. The image above by Sylvester "Learn To Adjust, Learn To Get Over It", 2006 is so boring it looks like a bad album cover from the early 90's that should have remained on the cutting room floor. The episode examines the image in advertising, a dangerous thing to do. The pretext of taking a photo for advertising is to illustrate a product or idea, this is exactly what many of these contemporary photographers are doing. Put another way, they mimic the disposable imagery of advertising to make and sell limited edition 'artworks' as permenant art. My verdict is most of this 'art' is that it is bad advertising material that in 10 years time people will be taking down off the walls (if you are lucky, perhaps more likely 2years) and thinking what did I see in that image? Compare it with something like the work below. It was set up but not staged, the group came together, there was quite a story behind it if you watch the doco about it "Girl in the Mirror" by Toi-Toi Films 2005. You get a sense of the three people in the picture, you can sense an unease about them, you sense the toughness of existence, aggression, self protection, in fact a whole range of things.

Carol JERREMS 1949–1980, Australia
Vale Street 1975

2 comments:

on painters & painting said...

Yes! Well said...
I blame digital photography and the auto exposure button.
I also get cranky about the emptiness of post-modern video art where bad film making passes for good art. But that's probably because I'm getting old and all that learning I did about film stock, f-stops, frame rates, exposure levels etc. doesn't seem to matter anymore.
Having said that though, did you get to see the Gill Greenburg photo exhibition at Greenaway Gallery. That stuff looked strong. And then there's Daniel Crooks and his fantastic video work which stretches time...
The good stuff's out there, somewhere...

This Painting Life said...

I really enjoyed Jill Greenberg's portraits of monkeys...they are technically brillant, and the personalities are wonderfully captured...they are truly great works of art...didn't much like the children series but thats because its not a subject matter that interests me. Quite like Crooks work...it transcends me somewhere else... However, most video art like you. I just can't get past how badly its made and how small the pretext of the idea is.