Opening this project, the course notes talk about various concepts about roads andthe significance within literature, film, art and photography…
Chris Coekin – The Hitcher.
http://www.chriscoekin.com/index.php?/ongoing/the-hitcher-series-3/ Last accessed 15/03/2016
Having done some hitchhiking in my dim and distant past, I did enjoy these three sets of work. I can identify completely albeit my travels were in Italy and France. The most interesting set was portraiture of the people who picked him up. Who are they? What compelled them to take the risk of scooping up a hitcher?
Lee Frielander – America By Car (2010)
Looking at the paradox of the car in the landscape. Photographs are taken from the perspective of the driver. The car takes you for miles but still inhibits where you can go. The work notes the driver’s captive audience to commercialism that presents itself at the side of the road. Images contain interesting juxtapositions A car can only take you so far.
http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/LeeFriedlander Last accessed 15/03/2016
Paul Graham – A1
http://www.paulgrahamarchive.com/a1.html#a Last accessed 15/03/2016
Love this photographer’s work. Perhaps, it is partly because I can identify with the culture better than USA. Perhaps it is nostalgia – I am at ‘that’ age.
A1 posseses a very English reserved feel to it; respectful of personal space and English disposition to wandering and pondering.
Alec Soth – Mississippi.
http://seesawmagazine.com/soth_pages/soth_interview.html Last accessed 15/03/2016
This is a very interesting article of a few levels and I will need to read it a few times and ponder it to fully pull out all the strands. First of all the body of work could just as easily be presented as documentary photography and the Mississippi river hardly features. Soth feels that he works more poetically than other documentary practitioners though. Does it actually matter what genre it falls under? The landscape chosen is indoors and outdoors; with people and without people.
I don’t know much about the Mississippi but based on Soth’s observations, it wouldn’t be top of the list for a family holiday. The work is bleak but aesthetically and compositionally pleasing. The images are sequenced carefully but it took me a few attempts to identify the links in the sequencing and I wonder if I would have ever realised the links had I not been prompted to find them.
Soth also talks about his frustration about his work only really being valid in academic circles and this reinforces some of my concerns about how to make photography accessible without compromising the integrity of the work. I do wonder if much of it is down to marketing.
This discourse falls straight into the old debates of photography being compared to aesthetically pleasing pictorial art that one might enjoy having hung above the fireplace. I would have enjoyed this work without my evolving understanding through the degree pathway though. I am interested in people and places and many people are. It matters not that every nuance in the work isn’t completely realised. Be it art, poetry or literature, the full understanding of every work will depend on education, cultural understanding and level of interest of a viewer.
He also feels frustrated that his photographs don’t tell the entire story. I am not entirely sure why as part of the enjoyment isn’t being spoon-fed but placing our own imagination on to images.
Nada Kander Yangtze – The Long River (2010)
https://www.lensculture.com/articles/nadav-kander-yangtze-the-long-river#slide-25 Last accessed 15/03/2016
Fascinating body of work where Nandav doesn’t aim to document or produce ‘National Geographic’ body of work. He set out to pose questions and leave ambiguity to his work for us to confront with our own emotions. He talks about the catastrophic changes, belonging, existing (rather than living). Nothing has remained untouched. There is much uneasiness about his work that is achieved by his voyeuristic perspective and ‘bleakness’ in the aesthetics. Kander is very clear about a camera’s place not playing its part in conveying truth. His approach is unashamedly postmodern and a clear direction is achieved as a result.