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This blog is intended to showcase my pictures or those of other photographers who have moved beyond the pretty picture and for whom photography is more than entertainment - photography that aims at being true, not at being beautiful because what is true is most often beautiful..

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« (diptych) places to sit # 27-28 ~ overload limits | Main | still life # 29 ~ form and content »

places to sit ~ selects / the book

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As I wrote in the entry diptych # 94 ~ specificity and detail / illustration and illumination, a new body of work - Places To Sit - has emerged from the archives of my picturing endeavors. Rather than re-write about the genesis of this collection, I've provided a link to the entry which addresses that notion. However, I offer the following notions from Jeff Wall which I believe summarize my feelings / thoughts about this body of work:

The everyday, or the commonplace, is the most basic and the richest artistic category. Although it seems familiar, it is always surprising and new. But at the same time, there is an openness that permits people to recognize what is there in the picture, because they have already seen something like it somewhere. So the everyday is a space in which meanings accumulate, but it's the pictorial realization that carries the meanings into the realm of the pleasurable .... It is best to capture in a photograph a feeling, an emotion, a look, a memory, a perception or a relationship ....

Jeff Wall made a name for himself, starting in 1977, by producing the first of his ultra-large (up to 15' long) backlit photo transparencies, many of which are staged and refer to the history of art and philosophical problems of representation and so it went for the next quarter century. He was also a prolific writer, re: art and photography (his own), and many, including me, would rank his writings near the top of the academic lunatic fringe crowd. Despite that propensity, his pictures are, to my and sensibilities a joy to view.

That written, around 1990 Wall began making "straight photographs" or pictures in the manner / style of "documentary photography". During this period, he eschewed his former M.O. of big-production staged / constructed picture making to concentrate on what appears to be "found" referents rendered as still life pictures or un-staged "real life" documentary pictures. He also loosened the reins on the art-history / theory impetus, some might say "fetish" or "obsession", which drove his earlier work. In this newfound (for him) work the focus is solely on the objects that are shown, to the exclusion of the long catalogue of cultural references that one finds in his staged works.

As one source has stated, Wall's later work is unusual inasmuch as Wall has saved his simplest and least affected and effected picture making for much later in his career as opposed to earlier in his career - the more standard M.O. of most artists. It appears, judging by Wall's own words - more recently I’ve felt the need to diverge from that and try to make pictures that are more emphatically pictorial - and his pictures that Wall is exploring something more akin to the pure joy of photography. I.E., making pictures for their own sake.

Or, as one critic wrote:

Little by little, Wall is edging out of the collegiate hothouse of smart-aleck ideas and into a (if not the) world.

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