The Digest – October 21st, 2012

‘Peter van Agtmael Receives the 2012 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography’ [Time LightBox]

The Guardian published an article called ‘Photography: is it art? I only browsed it so I don’t really have an excerpt to share! I figured you might want to read it because I hear there are some great comments.

I got my first peak at Issue 5 the other day. It’s looking good and should be out soon.

Links of Note

FOTO8 is closing shop. 

Add to this the shifting grounds of publishing in this modern age, the apparent devaluation in business terms of our output and the feeling of fear you get when everyone is rushing in the opposite direction to you, and suddenly things are not as easy as: shoot, edit, print and be damned. There are business models to try and invent, new technology bandwagons to jump on, new prophecies to proclaim and always the drive to be cleverer than your competition to stay ahead of the game. My ability, and perhaps Foto8′s capacity, to achieve all these things and guarantee financial security has been shown to be lacking. I take comfort however in being able to say that while we did not prosper to the degree necessary to be able to continue in the way we would have liked, Foto8 can walk on with its head held high, without deploying financial counterfeit or subterfuge to dodge any unpaid debts or palm off past creditors. For this reason whilst Foto8 is leaving it is not closing.

A Photo Editor linked to an interview with Dennis Darling on I Love Texas Photo. There are some good insights despite the ‘kids these days’ tone.

The students are less curious about things now. It’s that trophy generation that wants everything handed to them. “Can you tell me who to contact?” Instead of going out and making contacts themselves. […]some of them are very, very good. And the ones that are tend to be multi-talented with interest in photography, design, fashion, art. But the people that just want to make pictures and work for National Geographic, they’re not interesting people.

A nice article on Daido Moriyama in The Telegraph

“It may look like I’m just pointing the camera at what’s in front of me. But I’m trying to photograph what people see, but don’t notice – something that’s mysterious and unknown in everyday life.”

The Awl published an excellent article on portraiture. 

Too often, we still treat photographs as if they were transparent communications, simply vessels of information, whether of the past, or of politics, or of an artist’s agenda. A great deal of contemporary art photography suits this attitude perfectly, employing the plain-style of vernacular portraiture for its own documentary ends. In these cases ( the work of Taryn Simon is a perfect example) the image always coexists with text. But this type of predetermined narrative limits what images can do; in support of a story or an agenda they gets emptied of their mystery, they fade out and go blank. By contrast, the most interesting photographs attack from the side. They make it difficult to tell where the line between the photographer’s objectives and the subject’s impulses is drawn. What was meant, and what was chance.

njwv on Paglen’s ‘The Last Pictures

Paglen’s work is really a meditation on time and immortality and is a 21st-century perspective on the concept of ruinenwert—in this case, the ruins are designed to outlast even architecture. The time perspective is particularly interesting. He points out in his introduction how geologic time is already difficult to comprehend and that space time is even beyond that. In the case of the housing for this project, we’ve never even considered actually designing an object which would last as long as this is expected to last.

Big Red & Shiny has an interesting article on art and language.

For contemporary art to be free of the laboured language that has clogged its comprehension for the last 20 or 30-odd years, it has to stop acting like contemporary art. This requires accepting the parameters of what contemporary art is, and acknowledging the long shadow that a professionalised art language has of late cast over the making of art. That grimly serious language —born of insecurity about the frivolity of the creative act (an anxiety that, let’s not forget, fails to trouble Tom Cruise, or Beyoncé, or the Blue Man Group) — might shrivel once it’s amputated from the act of making, like a vestigial wing or thumb for which we can’t remember ever having found a use.

Stephen Shore has a new website.


‘William Klein + Daido Moriyama: Double Feature’ – [Time LightBox]

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