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Thread: The Camera and Technique of Andreas Gursky (Then And Now)

  1. #41

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    Re: The Camera and Technique of Andreas Gursky (Then And Now)

    I'm enjoying where this thread is going...

    Anyway, I'm just going to throw this in here. In 2016, Gursky took/made a photograph entitled "Darkroom": http://m.andreasgursky.com/en/works/...lkammer/zoom:1

    This photo may not be so taciturn. If you click on the photo and zoom in on the boxes of sheet film, you'll see all the "process by" dates are from 2004 to 2007. Is this photo meant to document something that is or will no longer be in use, with an echo/nod towards the Becher's (Gursky's professors, Bernd and Hilla) capturing the decaying architectural structures around Western Europe and the U.S.?

    Anyway, I'm likely oversimplifying and reading too much into this, but could this photo conceivably be Gursky's final nail in film's coffin? Perhaps film to him is dead after all, which is particularly depressing because I thought that he, above all, understood that film has something that digital doesn't... at least not yet. :/

  2. #42

    Re: The Camera and Technique of Andreas Gursky (Then And Now)

    The Kusama Infinity Mirror is exactly what I meant by instagram-able...and to bring it back to Gursky - that's a big part of why he was so successful because of the 'cool' factor...and it's funny when you say Adams I assume you mean Ansel Adams, but when I think of 'Adams' photography I'm always thinking about Robert Adams, to me his work is way more important....

    and reddesert I wasn't saying that museums are all just on an instagram bandwagon, but that straight landscape photography isn't seen as particularly contemporary or relevant. I think it's telling that the writing about that AA show always comes back to 'saving the planet', I mean, sure we should do that, but is that all there is to talk about in landscape photography? it seems boring...like there should be something more to discuss...but I'd agree with you that one can be interested in both 'straight' and 'manipulated' images....
    but probably not many people in NYC would consider the Boston MFA a major US museum!

  3. #43
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    Re: The Camera and Technique of Andreas Gursky (Then And Now)

    Quote Originally Posted by reddesert View Post
    There was a giant Ansel Adams exhibit at the MFA in Boston just a few months ago that got writeups in pretty much every major newspaper that still covers art - I think I read about it in the WSJ, the NY Times, and the LA Times (or maybe it was the WA Post) at least. Yes it was St. Ansel and not a currently working B&W landscape photographer, but I think the idea that B&W landscape photography is persona non grata at museums because they are all on an Instagram bandwagon, is crying into one's beer. In fact, one can be interested in both "straight" photography and manipulated images ...
    I saw that show. FWIW, it wasn't pure Ansel - it was "see Ansel juxtaposed against others who have worked the same themes", and it included a fair amount of late-model art-school-y conceptual stuff.

    https://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/ansel-adams-in-our-time

  4. #44
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    Re: The Camera and Technique of Andreas Gursky (Then And Now)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chester McCheeserton View Post
    ...and it's funny when you say Adams I assume you mean Ansel Adams, but when I think of 'Adams' photography I'm always thinking about Robert Adams, to me his work is way more important....
    Quite a few years ago now the Addison Gallery at Phillips Andover had a fine show of Robert and Ansel, called "Reinventing the West". The catalog can be found second-hand for reasonable prices.

  5. #45

    Re: The Camera and Technique of Andreas Gursky (Then And Now)

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    I saw that show. FWIW, it wasn't pure Ansel - it was "see Ansel juxtaposed against others who have worked the same themes", and it included a fair amount of late-model art-school-y conceptual stuff.

    https://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/ansel-adams-in-our-time
    Which were you into more Oren, the Opie out of focus digital Yosemite Waterfall or Trevor Paglen's Sunset cloud but it's really about drone warfare?

  6. #46

    Re: The Camera and Technique of Andreas Gursky (Then And Now)

    Quote Originally Posted by manfrominternet View Post
    I In 2016, Gursky took/made a photograph entitled "Darkroom": http://m.andreasgursky.com/en/works/...lkammer/zoom:1

    This photo may not be so taciturn. If you click on the photo and zoom in on the boxes of sheet film, you'll see all the "process by" dates are from 2004 to 2007. Is this photo meant to document something that is or will no longer be in use, with an echo/nod towards the Becher's (Gursky's professors, Bernd and Hilla) capturing the decaying architectural structures around Western Europe and the U.S.?
    /
    It's him trying to keep up with Christopher Williams, whose 'photography about photography' eclipsed Gursky's landscape photos around 2005

  7. #47

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    Re: The Camera and Technique of Andreas Gursky (Then And Now)

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    I saw that show. FWIW, it wasn't pure Ansel - it was "see Ansel juxtaposed against others who have worked the same themes", and it included a fair amount of late-model art-school-y conceptual stuff.

    https://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/ansel-adams-in-our-time
    I think the articles I read discussed the "Adams in context" aspect, and FWIW I think this can be really valuable, if nothing else to rescue his work from what I might call calendar over-exposure. As a youngster I was skeptical of the popularity of St. Ansel among photographers - obviously the work is beautiful and technically skilled, but it's almost too easy to venerate, and my first love was street photography (I still expect that if I ever go to heaven, I'm going to see God carrying around a beat-up Leica, thinking that he's Robert Frank).

    It wasn't until I saw an exhibition on photography of the desert West, including the pioneers, then Weston, A. Adams, Lange, and contemporary photographers like Lewis Baltz, Richard Misrach, Robert Adams, that I got some of the sense of the impact of the photographs of the west on the American public and the context ol' Ansel was working in. (The exhibition catalog is called "Perpetual Mirage" - I have a copy, which is helping refresh the memory.)

    Speaking of Catherine Opie, some time ago I saw an exhibit of hers that was small prints - probably contact prints maybe 6x17, possibly platinum prints - of Los Angeles freeway interchanges, overpasses, and similar monumental structures. It was amazing (and an unexpected direction given most of her work that I knew). They reminded me, again, of these early photographs of Western canyons, or explorers' photographs of the Sphinx.

  8. #48
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: The Camera and Technique of Andreas Gursky (Then And Now)

    Well, in any city restaurant review, which in this area in mostly a TV thing, it's inevitable that some classic steak and potatoes place is going to end up getting compared on the same show to some new fusion cuisine joint. Or its beer against wine against champagne. We should be glad for variety; but using stereotyped genre labels like, "landscape photography" does't help a bit. It's analogous to implying all "street photography" looks the same, or that all "people photography" is predictable. I was involved in one of those AA versus youngster working in a more metaphysical form of imagery gigs myself, so in a sense was basically parasitic on the reputation of AA drawing an audience, but otherwise had no problem holding my own. But I can understand the resentment to how AA has become an ubiquitous visual commodity that's a must-have for collections and big shows, just like I'm annoyed by stumbling into Avedon or Warhol everywhere. Resorting to paintball war technique or digital comps - all that stuff - I regard that kind of thing a mostly (not universally) a cop-out, a substitute for not really looking at things with much depth to begin with.
    That's one reason I think Avedon was a fraud, at least when he did his famous work of the West. He was never in the West, never saw a damn thing. He just drove around making stereotypes of what he thought would be catchy fare for his big city audiences. Robert Adams was just the opposite - he could into read nuances.

  9. #49
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    Re: The Camera and Technique of Andreas Gursky (Then And Now)

    Quote Originally Posted by reddesert View Post
    I think the articles I read discussed the "Adams in context" aspect, and FWIW I think this can be really valuable, if nothing else to rescue his work from what I might call calendar over-exposure.
    I agree.

    Here are the brief observations I posted at the time - mixed feelings about many of the exhibited works notwithstanding, it was a good opportunity for learning and for thinking about what Adams' pictures do (or don't do) for me as a viewer, and why:

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...=1#post1475901

    And I think the contrast between Robert and Ansel illuminates both of them - neither ending up as "better"/"worse", just clarifying what each is doing.

    Not to forget the main focus of this thread, I'm afraid Gursky doesn't work for me at all - just nothing there with any resonance for me. I do understand how the elaborate production serves his purposes, so more power to him.

  10. #50
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: The Camera and Technique of Andreas Gursky (Then And Now)

    Good point, Oren. Even when we don't respond to something personally, sometimes it catalyzes our thought process into a why or why not mode, and helps us define our own path forward. The problem I see with Ansel is that so much of the public does take his as a kind of standard to aspire to, in which his ubiquity has largely defined what great Western scenes are "supposed to" look like, that they entirely miss his more nuanced side, often present within these very same iconic images. Since I grew up in the Sierra, I, more than most, can appreciate his sensitivity to the natural light, and how he often (not always) successfully captured it in print. There is a poetry to it, which takes awhile to get. I tend to gravitate to the less obvious, but not exclusively. I'm an opportunist, but not a mimic, and besides, cut my teeth in color printing, not black and white. AA had a historic role in the momentum of our National Parks by presenting these things on grand scale, just as we can indeed still see them today because they have been protected. But Robert Adams reminds us more of what lays neglected on the wayside, forgotten; and his own quieter style of printing is appropriate to that.

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