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Thread: Ross and Vitali

  1. #1
    Is that a Hassleblad? Brian Vuillemenot's Avatar
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    Ross and Vitali

    There's another "innovator" out there in addition to that guy from Colorado working with a 9X18. Look out, all you ULFers!


    http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,66498,00.html
    Brian Vuillemenot
    Images of Enchantment
    http://www.imagesofenchantment.com

  2. #2
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Ross and Vitali

    "His 11x14" work is simply incredible; he raises the bar on all the best LF color photographers in the world"

    Chris, you should check out Bas Princen (and his book Artificial Arcadia). Struan put me on to him - quite wonderful work - very little online.

    IMO he's what Soth has the potential be if he really works at it...
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  3. #3
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Ross and Vitali

    <<Why is it that every time a photographer makes an onrdinary picture of an ordinary subject and prints it big we are told it is great and we just dont "get" it?>>

    Is it possible that if you "got it," it would seem like more than an ordinary picture of an ordinary subject?

    Look back for a minute at the history of art criticism. Look at how the majority of critics and contemporary viewers ripped the impressionists apart; look a few decades later at how they did the same to the modernists. Look at all the outcry against Picasso, Braque, Brancussi. "It's just Nothing!" "Why am I looking at this glorified fire escape?!" Look at the rejection of Hemingway for his "unliterary" prose; of Beethoven for his thuggish lack of subtlety; of Eggleston for his pointless banality. Then look in the miror and ask yourself if there's even the possibility that you're doing the same thing, which is, in fact a quite normal and human thing to do: disliking something for being outside the bounds of what you've grown comfortable with.

    What can be learned here is not that something is great because is is an ordinary picture of an ordinary subject, but that it's possible for a picture to be great while being superficially ordinary, or while depicting a subject that is superficially ordinary, or both. This is not a new lesson by the way; it goes back at least as far as Walker Evans, and you can find much closer precursors to this kind of color work--which in some ways is about finding something remarkable in the subtleties of the banal--in the early and mid 70s. It's not for nothing that Stephen Shore's great project in this vein was called "Uncommon Places." At first glance, the pictures depict the most common places imagineable. But these are not pictures meant to be understood or savored in a first glance.

    By the way, I believe this kind of work is MUCH harder to pull off than the kinds of less subtle "aint nature pretty" anachronisms that I see being glorified on sites like this one. Fellow camera club members might be impressed that someone planted their tripod legs right where ansel planted his, and that they spent a week in the darkroom getting the tones rich enough to induce orgasm, but the essence of such work is almost always a kind of conservatism based on connoiseurship and many-times recycled vision. It's about copying pictures of copied pictures of copied pictures, many generations and decades removed from the original artist who had a fresh vision and a real, personal response to the world.

  4. #4

    Ross and Vitali

    What can be learned here is not that something is great because is is an ordinary picture of an ordinary subject, but that it's possible for a picture to be great while being superficially ordinary, or while depicting a subject that is superficially ordinary, or both



    Uh?......Once again, what is it with the "superficially" adjetive? You mean to tell me there is greater depth and content on these prints than what is already present and we dont "get" it?....sorry, I dont buy it.



    Isnt this just a racionalization? I would think that if you look at the history of art critizism that some might have at least learned something and realize that sometimes there is more than meets the eye. There is nothing new in this work, take away the size and the prints become nothing.

  5. #5
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Ross and Vitali

    Hmmm. So those of us who see something are wrong? Or we're lying?
    I'm not sure how you can move with such conviction from "I don't see anything,"
    which is an honest report of personal expeience, to "There is nothing there,"
    which presumes some kind of omniscience.

    For what it's worth, I'm not familiar with the artist's work--I haven't seen original
    prints, so I'm not being swayed by their scale. I don't know his reputation, so
    I'm not being swayed by that. But I see something in the work, just based on
    the small web images. In fact, I see quite a lot. And I'm not surprised that some
    people would have a more difficult time connecting with it, because I find that
    a lot of quieter, more subtle work is an acquired taste.

    Maybe if you told us some examples of work you like most, I could suggest some
    other work to look at to serve as a bridge between what you know well and this work.
    I find that to be a nore natural way to get to something new. It would be hard for someone
    who only listened to Mozart to appreciate John Cage, for example, but if you moved
    him along in steps that included, say, Beethoven, Debussy, Gershwin, and Messiaen,
    they might be able to go the road on their own. Not to suggest that Cage is better or
    more sophisticated than Mozart, but that there's a long road of evolution between them
    that can't be ignored.

  6. #6

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    Ross and Vitali

    I have to agree with Jorge on this one. But I do like Chris Jordan's work better than Massimo Vitali's!

    BTW, did you kow you could buy Massimo at Wal-Mart?


    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?dest=9999999997&product_id=2321999&sourceid=0100000030660805302498


    Steve

  7. #7

    Ross and Vitali

    Hmmm. So those of us who see something are wrong? Or we're lying? I'm not sure how you can move with such conviction from "I don't see anything," which is an honest report of personal expeience, to "There is nothing there," which presumes some kind of omniscience.



    Well, the difference is that we are saying there is nothing special here, you otoh tell us we dont "get" it and that this is an "acquired taste," if any body is presuming of omniescence it is you who tell us we should "work" harder and see the greatness that is there. To use your words I am not sure you can say there is greatness there and we just dont see it.

    Leaving aside the matter of taste, what I always find somewhat arrogant is this notion that one has to "work" at seeing art. One might observe something we like and upon closer examination find further discoveries why we like the work, but this "acquired" taste sounds to me like you are saying you have a special vision the rest of us mortal or unwashed masses dont have. Talk about omniescence! Presumably one can "acquire" a taste for shit, that still does not make it good to eat..no?

  8. #8
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Ross and Vitali

    Why on earth is it arrogant to suggest someone has to work at seeing art? What would you say to someone who threw down Joyce's Ulysses because they didn't understand it at first glance? Or to someone who couldn't hear the structure of a Bach fugue the first time they heard one? Or for that matter, to one of the New York Times critics who wrote a scathing review of Stieglitz's show of cubist paintings, claiming to be insulted at the idea that any of it was art? Would you agree that it was the art's duty to be instantly available to them, whatever their backgrounds and experiences happened to be? Or would you tell them to be patient, to give the work some benefit of the doubt, to ask the people who made it or the people who like it some questions?

    On the subject of acquired tastes, do you really believe that your own tastes were not acquired? Are the pictures you like to look at now the same ones you liked to look at when you were five years old? If not, then what happened between now and then? And is there some magical point at which that stopped happening, or at which you assumed it should stop happening?

    The tastes that I've acquired, personally, have nothing to do with omniscience. There's plenty that I don't get. And when I don't get it, I work to try to get it. That doesn't mean I'll like it. But I'm not going to declare that I don't like it ... or worse, declare that it's crap, before I have some reason to believe I got it.

    Some of what you can do to acquire tastes is conscious, some of it isn't--but how you respond to any piece of art has to do with where you are right now in terms of all your experiences and understandings. It's a pity if someone isn't open to these things continuing to grow over a whole lifetime.

  9. #9

    Ross and Vitali

    Maybe this is truly art and maybe I just don't get it, but I am a photographer and to my eyes these are not good photographs. I do see the intention of the "Artist" trying to make subtle pictures of mundane every day kind of scenes, but from intention to effect there seems to be a gap and I am falling into it.

    I just would love to hear from those that say they get it, what is that you get? If you would be so kind, maybe I will also see it.

  10. #10
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Ross and Vitali

    Here's what I get--and please take this with the disclaimer that I've only seen a few small images on the web, so there may well be a lot that I have yet to get. Maybe some of his real fans would like to chime in.

    I see a kind of sly, subversive formalism--an apparent formlessness that has something going on that makes me look again. And when I do, subtle relationships begin to emerge. I start to become aware of the balance of forms, and at an almost deliberate looking arrangement of elements (like people on the beach) that at first seemed random. Color plays into this. There's a very conscious, but subtle, use of color holding the frames together.

    All of this reminds of a Robert Adams passage:

    . . . The beauty of a work of art can also be judged by its scope. The greatest beauty tends to encompass the most; the artworks of largest importance frequently have within them the widest diversity. A.R. Ammons phrased this well in the poem “Sphere,” in which he observed that “the shapes nearest shapelessness awe us most, suggest the god.” This is so, I think, because most of life seems shapeless most of the time, and the art that squares with this powerfull impression seems most convincingly to confront disagreeable fact. Thus, for example, while Charles Sheeler’s photograph of an ore car at the Ford River Rouge plant is unquestionably beautiful, its beauty is of a lesser sort than that found in the formally rougher but more complexly human photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
    There are, of course, wonderful exceptions to this rule, though they are perhaps more apparent exceptions than real ones. Bell peppers would seem to be about as limited as any subject matter could be, but in fact how unlimited they are when photographed by Weston.
    --from Beauty in Photography

    I also see in his photographs an awareness, maybe even commentary on landscape painting (although this kind of allusion strikes me more as icing than as cake--I'm not generally impressed by work that depends on this kind of thing).
    But as an example, in form, color, and subject, this one http://www.consarc-ch.com/gafo/vita/ZH2003.jpg recalls Monet, while this one http://www.consarc-ch.com/gafo/vita/Dontir.jpg recalls Nicolas Poussin.

    Finally, there's something curiously theatrical about all of them. It's hard for me to put my finger on it, but part of the vision that ties these together seems to involve people acting as players on the large stage of the landscape. That element is something that recalls certain early landscapes for me, although it's juxtaposed with the thoroughly contemporary formal looseness of the images.

    Anyway, this will have to pass as my first or second impression. I hope it helps. Again, none of this is to convince anyone that they should like the work. But I'd like to remove some of the suspicion that there's nothing there at all that a sane person might like.

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