From: Clay (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: 10/05/03-04:34:59 PM Z
My hastily expressed opinion at yesterday's meeting was that digital
photo technology has removed the very idea of objective truth from
photography altogether, since nearly any damn thing can be done in
photoshop. So maybe we are being freed to do whatever we want, with
whatever process we want, in the pursuit of a 2 dimensional
representation of an idea, thought or feeling, in somewhat the same way
that the invention of the camera freed painters from the strictures of
objective realism. I realize that the neo-pictorial 'revival'
antedates the rise of digital technology, but perhaps the early
advocates were somehow foreseeing that the march of photographic
technology was steering f/64 group type realism into the digital
ditch. I think its great, because now we can concentrate on the image
without being worried about whether Eddie Weston would approve.
On Sunday, October 5, 2003, at 11:49 AM, Sandy King wrote:
> In fact I do believe that Neo-Pictorialism is a form of Modernism.
> Let's remember that the major bone of contention between the
> pictorialists and the advocates of straight photography was over
> process, not content. Most of the advocates of straight photography
> continued to photograph the landscape, which had been the most
> important pictorial subject, and the picturesque style, based on
> embellishment or idealization of the subject, continued to dominate.
> And for sure the ideas about pictorial composition continued in the
> work of even documentary workers like Dorothea Lange and Eugene Smith.
> In any event I am of the impression that there is far more in common
> between Neo-Pictorialism and Modernism than between either off these
> tendencies and the extreme ideological intellectualization of the
> image making process that we see in the post-modern conceptual work of
> people like Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine, Ann Wulff, Barbara Kruger,
> just to mention a few artists of this bent who emerged out of the 80s.
> So what we have with Neo-Pictorialism and Modernism are movements that
> place greater importance on a self-referencing formalism that often
> places more value on the medium itself than what the image is about.
>> Sandy wrote:
>>> Why has this taken place? Well, from my perspective much of it is
>>> due to a kind of academic formalism that has resulted from the
>>> teaching of photography at the college and university levels.
>>> Academic formalism evolved from an attitude that places minimal
>>> value on the thing being photographed (from whence the term "nominal
>>> subject matter") and maximum importance on the freedom of the
>>> photographer to make maximum use of the possibilities of the media,
>>> thus the recuperation of historical printing processes and the
>>> return to antiquated art strategies (surrealism, etc.)
>> That's interesting. Do you see neo-Pictorialism, then, as a kind of
>> modernism? I associate formalism with modernism, which is the reason
>> I ask. It would be ironic if Pictorialism, which was once seen as
>> the opposite of photographic modernism in the early 20th century,
>> turned out to be its logical extension in the late 20th century.
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