the photograph as contemporary art / 14 November, 2005 [click for previous image: travelling north west]
the photograph as contemporary art / 14 November, 2005 [click for next image: the comfort of structure]
© 2003–18 • all rights reserved
previous latest entry next

Title • the photograph as contemporary art

Update: chromasia's on hold for a couple of days as I have no new material to put up, the server's still knackered, I still have no ADSL and my wife is now ill with the bug that the kids and I had earlier in the week. So much for sticking to the image a day thing, but it's just not possible at the moment.

I've been reading The Photograph as Contemporary Art by Charlotte Cotton, and have a question for you ...

What makes a photograph worthy of consideration as a piece of contemporary art? Does it need to be a good photograph, whatever we might mean by 'good', or could it be that what we might otherwise consider to be a bad photograph becomes art when we come to understand the artistic context in which it was produced? I ask as there are a number of images that Charlotte uses to exemplify various categories of contemporary art that wouldn't exactly blow you away if you came across them on a photoblog, in fact, some of them I'd consider to be quite poor; in terms of both photographic technique and content and as exemplars of a particular artistic endeavour.

And I know, there's no answer, at least not one that we'll agree on, but it's something I'm trying to get straight in my own head so thought I'd mention it.

As for this shot <insert tongue in cheek> it's an acknowledgement of the graffiti artist's intention to i) highlight the demise of contemporary culture through the analogy of the multiple televisions washing down a drain, and ii) reference issues of globalisation and branding through presenting these icons of contemporary culture and its transmission as self-identical. Beyond this original intention though, this new piece recognises that such arguments are located within particular academic and artistic 'circles' and that mainstream culture will simply 'continue along it's way', stepping briskly across this zebra crossing, oblivious to the postmodern debates taking place in its midst. A key to the latter analysis is that this larger piece, this representation, draws attention to the original artist's failure to universalise these arguments beyond the narrow scope of artistic and intellectual debate – note how both the televisions and the drain are contained within one band of this crossing – while this piece shifts the horizon, relocating these arguments to the visual presentation of the context of that which the original work purportedly critiques. In other words, it steps 'outside the box' to provide an analysis of both the message and the structural milieu it inhabits, in this way reintroducing the notion that artistic critique is itself simply yet another artefact of postmodernism's ability to recuperate and reframe critique <remove tongue from cheek>.

Or not, ... take your pick ;-)

shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
10.30pm on 11/11/05
Canon 20D
EF 50mm f/1.8 II
aperture priority
C1 Pro
previous latest entry next