My Gaze is attracted to the abstract, and the no-objective. There are some representational photographs that I do like, however, in my own work and to inform my own work, I like to look at images that are ‘one of a kind’ unusual, unique and or novel.
This is a result of the ubiquitous nature of the image to-day. How many times more can I see an image of Yosemite? Ansel Adams was the best at that particular subject matter in my opinion, because of the format he used (8×10) the development of the Zone system, which maintained good shadow detail in the shadow regions of the image as well as the highlights, the image has good focus from foreground to background. Ansel printed his own images and had a tight control how they looked and were consumed. His subject dealt with the ‘Beauty of the American West’ and made me realize that we are in dangers of losing it to pollution, acid rain and environmental destruction due to the consuming of natural resources.
However, I can see many images that are made by similar photographers, who are clones of Ansel, and I am not interested in that type of photography in my own practice.
I have always found that painters are ahead of the curve, so I like to reference their works The best at abstraction in my opinion is Kasimir Malevich (Black Square) He removed everything visual that is objective (representational) out of his images, which I find very attractive. I also like the work of Paul Klee, who attracted the representational down to basic forms, so there may be a few hints of the objective (representational) in is images which I also enjoy.
In my practice, I have been working towards this end, and so-far this module, I have managed to abstract my subject matter of fences down to images that a fence is barely perceptible. The subject has changed from images and function of ‘Fences’ to metaphors of what fences connote: namely, separation, division, fear,challenge and the like.
The pleasure of the gaze is a biological function. We see to survive and procreate. In order to survive we are attracted to things of beauty. I presume this is why the female sex is made beautiful to look at. Males get attracted, good things happen, and the species survives. If women were not attractive, men would not get attracted, and the species would have died out eons ago. I can presume this extends on to the arts so some degree as well.
The Body and Land:
As far as Adam’s ‘never’ having people in his images, I disagree with that. He did not have images of people in his landscapes, but did have people in his lesser known works, like his photography he did at the Japanese interment camp at Manzanar during the second world war.
” Although a majority of the more than 200 photographs are portraits, the images also include views of daily life, agricultural scenes, and sports and leisure activities.”
As human beings we have a direct connection with the land: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
There are many great artists, who create by looking at nature and the land for inspiration. For me the land and the contents of the land are one and the same. If I look at the works for Edward Weston. Famous for his Nudes, Pepper series, and landscapes. Weston was preoccupied with the female form, so whether it was a rock, a toilet, a pepper, or a seashell, he always managed to get more out of the image than the subject matter alone. I think this is clear in one of his quotes: “This then: to photograph a rock, have it look like a rock, but be more than a rock. Significant representations – not interpretation.”
Just Giving: (these ads really annoy me)
All ads have a positive and a negative side. The Mencap ads are no different. I think the fake intentions are good, however, a lot of these companies finance their own needs out of the pockets of donators. Of your two pounds that you donate, maybe a half a crown or less might go in the direction of children’s education, and the rest will go to finance the cars, houses, girlfriends, and drugs of the CEO’s.
Are these children other? I would have to say yes, and I think the problem with the world today is that all boundaries, are attempting to be erased, and with dire consequences. The caption on the bottom of the second ad. “More of an education will give Kevin, more of a future.” More? what exactly does that mean? It’s such an abstract, it’s not even funny. No matter what education Keven gets, he will never be able to hold a job of any significance. I think it’s time to stop bluffing, and put the money where it should rightly go, and that’s towards a home of some nature where these children can be taken care of for the rest of their lives, and a place that they can be encouraged to learn and play but not make the rest of the world that with a little more education, Kevin can be a rocket scientist. It will never happen. These children need civil-rights equality more than educational equality. Basically it all boils down to I.Q. individuals with an I.Q. of 80 cannot fold a piece of paper to fit in an envelope. No amount of education or training will enable them to do it with confidence, much more than an education or training will enable my cat (or even myself for that matter) to play the violin. It will never happen. I do feel pity for these individuals, greatly, but I would not donate because I am being manipulated. Dorfman says: “They are other.” The photographic image allows as to stare, study, gawk, and it satisfies our innate nature to look at the other in a way we could not in actual life. We try out or respect for the ‘other’ to avert out gaze as not to hurt their feelings, but I think they are aware that we are consciously averting the look, and as a result, feel excluded. The question is how do we look and not look at the other so as not to exclude but include. Not out of pity, but from a civil right that every individual, ‘other,’ or not, deserves.
I had a friend, many years ago, if he met anyone with a disability, he would immediately walk up to them an ask what happened to their leg or their arm? They would tell him and it would be over. Neither he, nor the other, found it difficult to be in each others company. I asked him why he did that? He replied to get it out of the way right from the start, and after knowing, would not have to stare, or steal stares any longer. I always thought that a very positive way to surmount difficult “other” situations.
“Most people go through their lives fearing they will have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma, they’ve already passed their test in life.” – Diane Arbus.
Ansel Adams. Manzanar: https://www.loc.gov/collections/ansel-adams-manzanar/about-this-collection/