Re: Defining "post-modernism" -- WAS--- First define "post-modern"photography, dammit
On Mon, 19 Nov 2007, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:
1. Pictures can no longer be looked at as neutral--they exist in a cultural context and as such should be viewed that way. This is the political nature of pictures, which can carry hidden agendas. For instance, lynching postcards that were handcolored and sent to Aunt Mabel through the mail--check out Without Sanctuary. Postmodernism attempt to decode the hidden cultural assumptions behind images like these. Do I like it when PMers continually revise history? Not all the time do I agree with their conclusions. Is it good to look at the content behind the content? Yes.During this discussion, I keep thinking: today's teenagers think they invented sex, & 20-somethings think they invented babies. So today's photographers "invented" pomo..
I doubt that in "the good old days" photographs were considered "neutral" across the board. I site two extremes simply from my own limited library, but all variations exist.
I have a book titled "Photo Fakery: The History and Techniques of Photographic Deception and Manpulation," by Dino A. Brugioni,"a founder of the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation Center." This wasn't like "Post-Modern" fakery, because you weren't supposed to notice, but the techniques and the will were there... just not so easy *maybe.* Still, in what a quick look suggests are only a couple of paragraphs about "digital" out of some 200 (the book was published in 1999), ways to detect fakery in digital get a rundown.
Then I open at random to page 114, which shows a photo that from the looks of the cars is maybe 1920-25... A cop is stopping a line of traffic while a cat carries her newborn kitten acrross the street. Title "Mother Cat Stops Traffic." As the caption explains, photographer Elsie Warnecke "asked for and got cooperation from the police officer" for the photo. The category is "Posed."
Then there's the entire "Photographic Amusements" series, by a series of authors and co-authors starting around 1898...All sorts of poses, fantasies, setups, blends, constructions and montages. True, the scenarios tend to be sentimental and picturesque rather than ironic, tho many of them were narrative-- I don't remember who said it on the list (Don Sweet?) but from here our "post-modern" photography does look like an extension of advertising photography.
As noted, they never were. I suspect the statement "photographs don't lie" was invented by someone lying with photographs.2. Pictures can no longer be looked at as truth/be trusted. This to me is a
no-brainer. Even Dorothea Lange's migrant mother was doctored, for goodness' sake! See www.cs.dartmouth.edu/farid/research/digitaltampering/ A whole group of photographers began constructing realities instead of shooting what's "out there",The fakery began with a "waterfall" scratched into a negative by Hill & Adamson -- or earlier maybe.
... and I like this trend (think Crewdson, Philip Lorca diCorcia, Gursky, etc.) However, it seems we are moving toward the NewBoth Crewdson and Lorca diCorcia have done straight "streetscape," tho probably so dull they turned to pomo. (Incidentally, my "Kinky Tramps" is done from the identical spot as ... pretty sure it was diCorcia -- tho I never could see his point -- you couldn't read the marquis, or see the Chrysler building, no retard sitting on the berm, no street preacher, no co-ed rolling her eyes in the foreground, etc etc etc... not even a fellow in a turban. Just a truck and some pedestrians. Yet it's frequently reproduced. I never could figure out why.)
It's so long since I've read "Wisconsin Death Trip" & I put it away so carefully I doubt I'll see it again in this lifetime, so again I speak with reservations, but didn't Leasey point out the different reality from "reality"? True, these were alternate manifestations in a different mainstream, but... what is today's "mainstream"? (Remind me, I forget.)
i> 6. There are no distinct, sacrosanct categories of art and culture--hence
multimedia, appropriation, anything goes. I love this. See my postmodernist work at http://czaphotography.com/show.php?what=gallery&which=3 and guess what, it is alt.Except, Chris, there may be "no distinct, sacrosanct categories" TODAY. But we're too close to it to judge. In another hundred years we will be "distinct" (assuming there's life on earth of course).