Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tehaucana, Texas 1976

One further idea about this "sterile" and "airless" quality of contemporary photography that Alec Soth spoke to on his blog --

The question begs to be asked what roll we, as the photographers, play in making sterile and airless images? My feelings are, just about everything! As I said before, there has been for some time now a trend to forceable confront the viewer with life-sized images of just people or singular objects that have little or any contextual connection with their environment. Sterile situations produce sterile images. I always enjoyed images that made me want to be there, or under no circumstances want to be there. Ambivalence was not an option, and I've got to say I'm somewhat ambivalent about a lot of current images I see. I am not engaged by Letensky's rotting leftover breakfast fruit as it totters on the edge of a cutting board. I've seen stuff I enjoyed more in cheap motel rooms. I just got my Lightwork catalog for Ben Gest, and I find it so gimicky and staged that I can't get involved with the images. They are just about technically perfect, and since they are, they become very sterile. Maybe we can get back to what John Szarkowski said about photography: "’s central sense of purpose and aesthetic: the precise and lucid description of significant facts." Not an altered sense of reality -- that for the painters. I love the term, "significant fact."

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