Todd: February 2006 Archives
Or Miklos Gaal. Take your pick, the suddenly ubiquitous miniature-like style is now available to the masses through a simple Photoshop tutorial. And there's a matching Flickr pool with tutorial examples of varying quality.
More than anything, I think this highlights the weakness of the technique in its original form. A few questions come to mind: does this impact the value of the work in the art market at all? Do photographer's who heavily rely on technique for their personal style risk "commoditization" through Photoshop mimickery?
I try not to get off topic (note to PR folks: this blog is about photography. not scuplture, painting, performance art, etc.) but I used to be hugely into comic books, so I'll digress into this related field on occasion.
Modern Art Notes has posted coverage of the Hiroshi Sugimoto lecture at the Hirschhorn, done in conjunction with the new retrospective being shown there. Part 1 and Part 2. Sounds like Sugimoto is a quite a trippy guy, but judge for yourself. The Hirschhorn has posted the lecture online as an MP3. The Hirschhorn's online Sugimoto exhibit is truly comprehensive, as well.
If you've got a layover at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, you might want to stop at Terminal 5 to see the current display of Terry Evan's aerial photography entitled Revealing Chicago. It's beyond the security checkpoint, so its for passengers only.
Art historians say that the popularity of the self-portrait is unprecedented in the century-long history of the snapshot. "I think it is probably a new genre of photography," said Guy Stricherz, the author of "Americans in Kodachrome, 1945-65"
Another fabulous outcome of the digital photography revolution.
We have a winner.
At yesterday's auction of photographs from the Met's collection, Sotheby's sold Edward Steichen's Moonlight - The Pond, shown below, for $2,928,000. This is most definitely a record for a photograph sold at auction, beating the high estimate by a mutiple of three. Two photos by Alfred Steiglitz also broke the $1 million mark.
On my last gallery visit, I noticed the pricing of a newly minted MFA's work was around $3000 per print. Just two years ago, I seem to recall Alec Soth's Sleeping series to be in the mid-thousands per print, mostly, and this was following his inclusion in the Whitney Biennial. Others have commented (ranted?) on this phenomenon of late as well. Yes, I know, what the market will bear, what the market will bear, but it seems a bit out of control even in light of the even more whacky pricing going on with other media.
I will be in London several days next week. If you know of any shows that would be of particular interest, leave me a comment or send me an email. Thanks.
We are entering an exciting and, for some, fearful era for photography. The transition from analog film to digital capture is coming to a close. As I've mentioned before, more research resources are being applied to using digital processes in ways that traditional film-based photography could not rather than simply replicating silver-halide-based resolution and processes.
One of these is developments is called High Dynamic Range processing, suddenly popularlized by its inclusion in the latest version of Photoshop. You can read several more detailed explanations of the concept elsewhere, but the short description is one photograph is created combining multiple overlapping exposures of the same scene so that it contains a much wider range of exposure values than is possible with a single image. For examples, check out the HDR pool on Flickr. (As you'll see, one drawback is that you have to take several shots of the same scene, limiting its use to landscapes mostly and some particularly postcard-esque landscapes at that.)
One of the side effects is that the color processing tends to be either over or under saturated, like early 20th century film stock.
Photoshop has become the defacto darkroom of this new era. Can a photographer today or even 10- years from now have full control over their media without a thorough understanding of Photoshop? Diane Arbus didn't process her own photographs, but that seems to be a historical oddity, though today we are living in the era of project manager as artist and many auteurs don't have much hands-on time with their own art, so perhaps this isn't all that critical.
The February photography auctions are timed to coincide with the AIPAD Photo Show being held this weekend here in NYC. This week you have the chance to visit the auction houses and review the lots before the pieces go their separate ways. Most significant is the collection from the Met being sold by Sotheby's, which dwarfed the others in both estimated sales and cultural importance. If the Steichen goes for high estimate or more it will be a record, I believe.
Tues, Feb 14, 10:00 AM & 2:00 PM
High Estimate: Peter Beard, Portraits, London/Paris/Nairobi, Collected at Hog Ranch, 1960s-1970s
Ansel Adams, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico
20 Rockefeller Plaza
Sotheby's (registration required)
Important Photographs from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Including Works from the Gilman Paper Company Collection
Tues, Feb 14, 6:00 PM
Weds, Feb 15, 10:15 AM
High Estimate: Edward Steichen, The Pond - Moonlight, $700,000-1,000,000
1334 York Ave, at 72nd St
100 Fine Photographs (actually 137+)
Feb 16, 1:30PM
High Estimate: Pierre-Henri Puiseux & Maurice Loewy, Atlas Photographique de la Lune, $40-50,000
Feb 11, 13-16
Gallery Walk, Feb 11
104 E 25th St
There's been some criticsm going around that there just aren't enough negative reviews these days. Modern Art Obsession has rectified this with its review of the Hiroshi Sugimoto exhibition currently on view at the Japan Society.
I've got a longer post coming about the various John Szarkowski shows concurrently in progress, but didn't want to forget mentioning that he'll be speaking at the 92nd St Y tomorrow evening. Admission is $25.
Tue, Feb 7, 2006, 8:15pm at 92nd St Y
395 Lexington Ave, at 92nd St
I have a special affinity for the work of Robert Adams. Adams is one of the great modern photographers of the American West, where I grew up, and I first encountered him through a small picture included in the exhibition essay for Andreas Gursky's MoMA retrospective, a view of tract houses in Colorado Springs. I went to school in Colorado Springs and I think we all have a stronger response to work that has some personal connection. In this case I was just opening my eyes to photography and my initial response was “why’d anyone take that picture? It’s just suburban houses.” But later as I read some of Adams' writing and was able view more of his work, his photos expanded my understanding of what could be a good and beautiful image.
Tomorrow, the Getty will open a retrospective of Adams’ career drawn from its own collection. For the past 40 years he has documented the unfolding relationship between modern settlers and the Western landscape. That photo of tract homes, others of growing shopping malls, the Denver sprawl and the vanishing wilderness all resonate today. I recently visited my wife’s family in northwest Colorado and found Adams’ world again. The Colorado Front Range has been remade as Southern California. What were once a series of isolated communities stretching from Wyoming to New Mexico is now rapidly closing into a single metropolitan zone.
Robert Adams: Landscapes of Harmony and Dissonance
Through May 28 at the Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA
Currently on display at Matthew Marks Gallery (the one on 22th St.) is the Adams exhibition “Turning Back”, a meditation on the changes brought about in the wake of Lewis and Clark’s westward expedition. This project was recently shown at SFMOMA and the museum produced a podcast about the show. The image below compares with Fenton's Valley of the Shadow of Death.
On Humbug Mountain, Clatsop County, Oregon by Robert Adams
Robert Adams: Turning Back
Through Feb 25th at Matthew Marks Gallery
522 W 22nd St