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Thread: Wwhat Is Post Modernism In Photography?

  1. #1

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    Wwhat Is Post Modernism In Photography?

    THOEORY: IS IT ART?

    I have to take 6 pics that all deal with theoritical issues. please help...

    what is post-modernism?

    thank you!! rebeca

  2. #2

    Wwhat Is Post Modernism In Photography?

    Look at the works of Edward Weston, Man Ray, Hockney for starters...

    Also look at artists like Feitelsohn, Lichtenstein and Rauschenberg...from their work you may make a comparative analysis with photography..

  3. #3

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    Wwhat Is Post Modernism In Photography?

    Hi Rebecca. The post-modernism movement is based on the unfortunate belief that the most important purpose of art is to deal with theoretical intellectual issues. So, following in the footsteps of the post-modernist painters, post-modernist photographers take un-creative badly-composed, crappy-looking photographs of mundane subjects, and print them with tricky edge effects and other gimmicks (such as enormous size and cutesy frames) to hide their pathetic lack of substance, and then stand around in their hip haircuts and black turtlenecks waxing eloquent about all the grand intellectual theoretical issues that their great works supposedly raise.

    And, if you ever make the fatal mistake of admitting that you don't "get it", you're instantly relegated to the masses of lower beings who aren't smart enough to understand real "art." What a sad state of affairs! I've personally never seen a post-modernist photo that I'd hang on my wall if it were free.

    What this movement misses is the tremendous capacity for art to carry an intuitive message that speaks to our spirit on a primal level which cannot be reduced to bland intellectual concepts. Just think of Bach's fugues, and think of how silly it would be to sit around and talk about the theoretical issues they raise. To anyone willing to show up with their soul, the meaning of Bach's fugues is obvious and profound, and no amount of intellectual discussion would ever convey their meaning to someone who didn't get it directly from the music. That's what all of great art was about for 4000 years or so, until the modernists showed up and turned art into a self-aggrandizing sales pitch based on intellectual intimidation. Happily, that movement finally seems to be coming to a close (for some wonderful articles on this, check out http://www.artrenewal.org/).

    So my recommendation for your theoretical studies assignment would be to go out and take six richly beautiful photographs. This will take a lot of creativity, really hard work and dedication, perseverance through many false starts and failures along the way, and personal sacrifice and introspection--things the post-modernists know nothing about; they would prefer to frame a piece of feces and call it a "photograph" and discuss all the theoretical issues it raises. Then, print your photos with technical competence and virtuosity and write a short essay to the effect that the meaning in these photos is not contained in any accompanying words and theories, but rather it's right there in the photos, available to anyone willing to show up and sit through them.

    regards,

    ~chris jordan (Seattle)

    www.chrisjordanphoto.com

  4. #4

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    Wwhat Is Post Modernism In Photography?

    to understand what post-modernism is first you need to really understand what modernism is, to put it simply (very simply) modernism is about purity, see the writtings of clement greenberg. Post modernism takes in modernist theory and adds history and an anything goes nothing is better than anything else attitude. Check out a book called post-modern currents, I can't remember the author off hand, also some good pomo info can be seen in arthur dantos' book on mark tansey called vision and revision, and lynn gumpert's book on christian boltanski, also look for a book called the rebirth of painting. Theory can be art if done correctly look at joeseph kutsuth work from the early 60's piecees like one and three chairs. If you have pictures that deal with theoritical issues they may or may not be pomo.

  5. #5

    Wwhat Is Post Modernism In Photography?

    Chris Jordan (Seattle) has hit the targer...dead center. Nice work Chris. Perhaps the original question, is a reflection on why most loarge format landscape photography is so damned boring! Landscape photographers would do well to study some of the work, and meaning, of the images of W.Eugene Smith, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, and others....and attempt to transfer some of that energy and meaning to their work....in landscape photography. Great photographs are MADE...not taken. Richard Boulware - Denver.

  6. #6
    Photo Dilettante Donald Brewster's Avatar
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    Wwhat Is Post Modernism In Photography?

    Narrative and storytelling are a big part of postmodernism. This would fit in well with your assignment of six photographs. Read this short book: Jean-Fracois Lyotard, The PostModern Condition, University of Minnesota Press, 1979. Do a google search: Lyotard Post-Modernism. Take a quick look at: http://www.stevedenning.com/postmodern.html

  7. #7
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Wwhat Is Post Modernism In Photography?

    Oh no - not Pomophobia again...

    I think the reason so much "rocks, lakes and trees" landscape photography is boring is because it has never moved beyond a certain pictorialist/classical/romantic outlook. Give me the visual challenge of Lynn Cohen or Gabriele Basillico or the Beckers any day.
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

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    Wwhat Is Post Modernism In Photography?

    Tim, your comment is interesting-- it suggests that all there is out there is pomo and calendar landscapes. I think there's a lot inbetween. I wouldn't have considered the Bechers to be pomo artists, any more than Kenna, Misrach, or Andreas Gursky. Those are my favorite photographers, working in what I consider to be the aesthetic tradition of photography while doing work that is relevant and contemporary and personal. When I think of pomo I think of photographers like Cindy Sherman and Robert Heinecken (who never owned a camera), whose work is all about fiddling with the medium instead of producing images with depth and substance. Maybe I don't know enough about pomo though; I'd welcome your thoughts.

    ~cj

  9. #9

    Wwhat Is Post Modernism In Photography?

    Do you start with an image or an idea? Much "graduate school photography" I can only describe as ideas in seach of an image. I still believe the best art of all kinds comes from being immersed in one's medium-light and shade, color, texture, shapes, division of space-if that is done honestly, elucidation and illumination will follow. If the former fits the post-modernist shoes, let them klop around in them. Thanks, Rebeca, for starting a great discussion. We all have artists we like. A good exercise might be sitting down and explaining why we DON'T like someone. But with the best photography, one needn't say a word-or explain it to others. Good job, Chris, in exposing the opposite.

  10. #10

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    Wwhat Is Post Modernism In Photography?

    Just a post script. I had an exhibition years ago. One peice was of a chunk of snow and ice, taken on a frozen salt marsh. My aunt, who I dearly love, but has absolutly no artistic perception, at least none that I could see, said that the photograph reminded her of a HUGE PIECE of lemon merangue pie! Now the form of the ice is triangular, the configuration of a piece of pie, and I LOVE LEMON MERANGUE PIE! (any correlation to Weston's peppers, did he enjoy stuffed peppers?)

    The morals of the story, when contemplating modernism, the meaning of art, remember to have a good meal and good drink before hand.

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