From: Steve Shapiro (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: 08/19/02-01:35:05 PM Z
----- Original Message -----
From: "Christopher Lovenguth" Subject: What Postmodernism Means,
-- snip --
> . . . . To bring up the f64 group as support of "art as object"
> argument is invalid because the context of when the images were made needs
> to be considered. At that time this group of people were fighting against
> the blur. They were also pushing the medium to an extreme. When you take
> their images out of period by duplicating their work today and apply
> contemporary thought to them, they do not hold up. This is because it has
> been done. When work like this is now made it is in the ream of craft and
> training. Artists have always looked back on past periods of art for
> training and inspiration, not replication. Replication and emulation again
> is craft.
My contention has always been to look at the catagorical understanding of
photography in three periods: Photography in the early stags began with a
lens that captured light onto photo sensitive material and was made into a
picture; Modern photography was the same thing, but relied on one edge of
the process for consistency that came about because of the invention of the
shutter (in 1863); and finally Post Modern photography is that which
supports a consistency because of the tools available the include the
shutter, and ready made materials like paper, developer -- chemistry -- and
printing equipment and integrated methods that we mostly refer to as
The Group f- 64 was formed out of the Brennan Group of 'salon' photographers
who [mostly women] were commercial photographers doing illustrations that
were popular tools for books of fine literature and poetry. These pictures,
carefully composed and staged with models were made in studios under light
conditions that required long exposures. The constant quest for consistency
lead to an understanding of illustration photography, which Michael Kenna
practices so well; and landscape photography while some integrated the
illustration stuff called pictoralism, with the topographical documentation
called landscape photography. It was this group of commercial photographers
who met to fulfill their own photographic pleasures and discuss various
interpretations of their pictures as the medium developed into Post Modern
photography with Dansonville photographic paper available.
Now, all photographers had the same materials and it leveled the field.
PostModern commercial photographers like Liset Model and Paul Strand
couldn't give a hoot for perfection in the genre of the Group f- 64 who
migrated their ideal East from a West Coast approach of frontier expansion
and documention 'plaine aire' photography. The Western 'aesthetic'
developed out of a severe competition for major contrasts with the likes of
the Southern Pacific Railroad, Henry Jackson; Sunset Magazine the
originators of the offset printing press; portrait photographers with an
artistic approach to the questions of life and death, war and peace like
Edward Weston, an original Brennand Group member and later of the Group f-64
who appealed to our sensibilities of appreciating detail and the idea that a
photograph should have a unity of puriety, with this edge of consistency for
the mere sake of appreciation.
How this fits into art, the competition between media as painters grappled
for commissions against photographers brings up the origins of the argument:
Is Photography Art? Brett Weston burned his negatives to prove that without
him as the artist, just like with a painter, there was no art available.
What Postmodernism means and what is art are only loosly connected, in my
opinion. These are two different questions.
Bear in mind: Webster defines 'culture' as "the tools of civilization" and
that includes education, the fork, a chair, mathematics; and aesthetics as
interpretation of the tools of civilization. Historians and art critics
have rules to act in concert to, basically, express their opinions and
expound from research. At this time, the critics are short of research and
long on opinions. I could start with the now famously controversially Susan
Sontag book . . . but along with this guy Perl, that's yet a third subject.
Don't you think so?
Don't worry, be happy.
Steve Shapiro, Carmel, CA
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