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Thread: Yes, but, is it photography??

  1. #141
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    Re: Yes, but, is it photography??

    I've been away from the country for more than a month. One book that I read while spending too much time on planes (16 flight segments) was Bill Bryson's "I am a stranger here myself", that contains quite a few witty musings about numbers in America, including some of the very same numbers Chris presents, such as inmate population, so I was particularly interested in a project that tries to make visual art out of those numbers.

    In executing this last project, I feel that Chris has moved from being a photographic artist to being a conceptual artist who uses photography, while at the same time maintaining an admirable continuity with the ideas and visual style that informed his previous work (this is most obvious with the containers and valves). The pieces are very clever, and I can only imagine that they must have a tremendous visual impact when seen in person thanks to the combination of enormous scale and minute detail (which can photographically be achieved only by large format photography or digital equivalents such as gigapixel composites), as well as multi-scale granularity.

    Although as pieces of visual art, I have the same reservation as expressed by Julian about the need for the pieces to use an external commentary without which a lot of their meaning would be lost, I note that this is a common shortcoming of modern art, where most of the pieces are conceptual in nature, and in general require some commentary to fully illuminate them, giving an ever-increasing importance to critical discourse. Many do also make reference to former work, and in this sense become part of the critical discourse themselves. This trend is not specific to visual arts, but also present in litterature, as examined out several decades ago for instance by Gerard Genette.

  2. #142

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    Re: Yes, but, is it photography??

    Quote Originally Posted by QT Luong View Post
    ...

    The pieces are very clever, and I can only imagine that they must have a tremendous visual impact when seen in person thanks to the combination of enormous scale and minute detail ...

    ...
    Sure! How about all the hamburgers (let's say the King burgers!) eaten in one day in the US making a fractal mosaic of a crying African undernourished child?
    Very clever and with tremendous visual impact! In this case not even the comment is necessary, everyone can imagine how many hamburgers are daily eaten by our obese kids... Heavens!!

  3. #143

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    Re: Yes, but, is it photography??

    I just posted a new one on my website, depicting 1.14 million paper supermarket bags (the quantity used in the US every hour). This is not a mosaic like a couple of the previous ones; this one I assembled manually in Photoshop from hundreds of photos I made in my studio of a small quantity of supermarket bags.

    www.chrisjordan.com

  4. #144

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    Re: Yes, but, is it photography??

    Quote Originally Posted by chris jordan View Post
    I just posted a new one on my website, depicting 1.14 million paper supermarket bags (the quantity used in the US every hour). This is not a mosaic like a couple of the previous ones; this one I assembled manually in Photoshop from hundreds of photos I made in my studio of a small quantity of supermarket bags.

    www.chrisjordan.com
    Chris,

    I think you've done it, found a way past the earlier problems. Eerily beautiful work and the bag statistic aspect just adds to its appeal. Congratulations! More of this!

    This is the first work of yours that I would really like to own--I wish I was a stock trader/lawyer/doctor and could afford it...

    Very exciting to see this new work, which I see as a breakthrough. Very cool.

    --Darin

  5. #145

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    Re: Yes, but, is it photography??

    Chris,

    This new piece is your best. It removes all of my previous reservations. The subtle seductiveness is back, the focus is returned to the art with message in its proper proportion, the layers of meaning and reference are all there without being too obvious. Give your mosaic software to charity and sip some more of what got you to this one.

    Martin

  6. #146

    Re: Yes, but, is it photography??

    Chris, you might like to check this out for some more numbers!

  7. #147

    Re: Yes, but, is it photography??

    I've followed this forum for a while and have always been impressed by the high level of content and intelligence of ideas. I've followed this thread with great interest (and to near exhaustion), and am inspired to comment. First- kudos to you, Chris, for opening a discussion like this and leaving yourself at the mercy of sometimes painful criticism. It must be hard enough to endure the judgements of professional critics; to invite the sometims harsh comments of peers (and wannabe peers) takes guts. I was looking at the new work on your website before seeing this thread and my initial impression was of a grand "work in progress". With the super market bag image, things seem to have gone to a new original level. The message is there, but there is also a serene beauty to this work that trancends the message. I think this work represents a welcome frontier where we are able to work as artists and imagemakers who use photography as a tool to reach a greater end. If nobody can figure out what to call it, all the better...

    Richard Edic

  8. #148
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: Yes, but, is it photography??

    Quote Originally Posted by QT Luong View Post
    Although as pieces of visual art, I have the same reservation as expressed by Julian about the need for the pieces to use an external commentary without which a lot of their meaning would be lost, I note that this is a common shortcoming of modern art, where most of the pieces are conceptual in nature, and in general require some commentary to fully illuminate them, giving an ever-increasing importance to critical discourse.
    That's been a problem with many different types of photography for some time. For instance, what is gleaned from Adams' Trailer Camp Children without accompanying text? By just looking at the photograph, a person may deduce that they are from a poor family, but that's about it. Both the text and the image must exist for the full impact.

    Around 1995, there was a shooting in Miami, of an old man by the police. The police were serving a warrant, and broke the door down on the apartment. The old man had been watching TV, and held a remote in his hand. The police opened fire, thinking he held a gun. The photograph in the newspaper showed his weeping granddaughter next to a bullet-ridden wall. The image was extremely visually arresting, but it still took the accompanying text to bring home the full impact.

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