I like the opening of this section which talks about the tendency to see photographs as accurate representations of things that really happened, but “that photographs are carefully constructed cultural texts that need to be read critically.” The text an image ideas were very compelling as well. I especially liked the idea of drawn out instructions about how to do something silly, like stick one’s feet out the window as Erwin Wurm did in “Instruction Drawing.”
I liked learning a little bit more about Muybridge in this chapter. His life sounds really interesting and it makes me want to read his biography. Summer reading!!! as Garth would say. His method of collaging multiple negatives together to take long exposures without blowing out the skies is a great idea, but I wonder how hard it is to make it look seamless. I loved how Frampton described Muybridge’s San Francisco panorama as “a work of sculpture turned inside out.” The lighting variations because of the long exposure times made it more interesting to look at than modern panoramas with matching lighting, in my opinion.
These chapters were really informative because I’ve never experimented with the various image transfers which are reviewed. Knowing more ways of producing a final image is always helpful. I really like the uniqueness of solvent transfers and the texture which transferring images to wood create in an images detail. Besides alternative processes, I always find review of technical aspects useful and this book does an excellent job thoroughly explaining every aspect in the process of photography within several contexts. The chapter goes through a ton of Photoshop stuff, simple stuff, but I always find myself forgetting how to use key tools after not using one for awhile, so having a clearly explained reference is beneficial.
I thought the discussion of how viewing images in a series, sequence, or group can have a greater impact on the viewer than a single photograph and how the incorporation of words can influence those differences in context even more. I would like to eventually make work which uses text of some kind and reading a further investigation of artists, like Duane Michaels, helps to do so more effectively. Sometimes I think it can be difficult to figure out how much context is necessary in order for the viewer to have just enough to grasp the images meaning. I also enjoyed learning a more in depth analysis of the Bechers and their work since they’ve been brought up a lot in class.
Thinking about the options for printing and reproductions is difficult because value is so determined by quantity and availability. Rare and unique art objects are considered to be so much more valuable than anything easily or mass produced. I also like image-making being described as, “I have decided that seeing this is worth recording.” It is such a straight-forward view of each decision to take a picture. Also the idea of ownership and copyrights are very complex issues without clear rules or guidelines. Everyone is inspired by other artists or objects whether they realize it or not, but when does that inspiration become copying and then when does it become wrong?
I suppose it’s always good to review lighting. There are many options, especially when the weather is nice and you can utilize natural light options. Reading this also really makes me want to take a lighting class because there are plenty of interesting effects that can be achieved through lighting if you know how, but only so much can be learned from a book. I also love the “Reentering My Past” image by Sarah Buckius that is used in this chapter to show various colored light filters. I would love to experiment with cellophane over lights to create different colors of light in an image like that.
Deborah Bright’s insightful and in-depth review of American landscape photography gave me a new way of looking at not only landscape images but photographs in general. I mean, it wasn’t life changing or anything but it was definately a perspective on landscapes that I hadn’t been exposed to before.
I especially enjoyed the connections Bright made between the national park craze of the early 20th century and the ideas about picturesque landscapes that emerged from that movement. Bright asserts that landscape photography is not the innocent, “high art” that many people perceive it to be. She goes to great length to show how landscape photography is just as influenced by politics and culture as any other form of art. I suppose I knew that landscape photography is a boys club – but I was surprized to learn the extent to which women are excluded from landscape photography publications and exhibitions.
Deborah Bright’s introduction to this article struck me, in particular when she described certain areas (Lake Tahoe, Lake Wobegon) as representing quintessentially American scenes. It can often be so obvious where a photo depicting rolling red cliffs came from (perhaps Utah, Arizona, New Mexico?) compared to the moody, dramatic green landscape of say, Iceland. This universal feel of landscapes grounding us in a specific place and time is very interesting, and I like that Bright described it this way. I also love the background of the word “landscape”, especially because I’ve never really questioned its origin before. Bright’s article was informative but with enough wit and hook to keep my interest!