“Present a detailed, critical analysis of a cultural text.” // Planning.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/feb/08/new-topographics-photographs-american-landscapes – Great American Photographers.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/feb/24/robert-adams-photographs-american-west-paris – Robert Adams

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/feb/08/new-topographics-photographs-american-landscapes – New Topographics

http://www.photoeye.com/GALLERY/Definitions.cfm – Definitions of photographic print types.

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/p/gregory-crewson/ – Gregory Crewson, highly cinematic and transformative. His photographs are artificial and staged, and thus transport the viewer to ‘another world’ in which the American suburbs become stages for actors and giant teams of people.

http://www.surveillance-and-society.org/articles1(3)/sousveillance.pdf – Sousveillance and surveillant society.

http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/diacritics/v029/29.3reynolds.html – Scholarly essay on ‘The Transversality of Michel de Certeau: Foucault’s Panoptic Discourse and the Cartographic Impulse’

https://chisineu.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/certeau-michel-de-the-practice-of-everyday-life.pdf – Michel de Certeau – The Practice of Everyday Life.

http://www.thisispipe.com/2013/04/lee-friedlander-post-modern-photography.html – Essay on Postmodern Photography and analysis of Friedlander’s work.

http://www.arthistoryunstuffed.com/postmodernism-in-photography/ – Post Modernism Within Photography – USE FOR QUOTES, DEBORD, BAUDUE ETC

http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/29/6082053/everyday-usa-instagram-photo-collective-david-guttenfeld – use of Instagram to document daily city life in USA.

http://artsites.ucsc.edu/faculty/Gustafson/FILM%20162.W10/readings/barthes.death.pdf – Image, Music, Text. ‘Death of the Author, Roland Barthes.

INITIAL ESSAY POINTS:

  • Relationship between the photographer and photograph. In the case of Friedlander, it is important to understand that ‘Albuquerque, 1972’ sits the context of a much wider body of work. Even though it is an exemplary and typical Friedlander image, one must consider its place within both its series it stems from, and also the wider historical context in which it was made.
  • The photograph as a two-dimensional, flat re-presentation of ‘reality’. Links to Clarke, Burgin, Barthes and Bordieu.
  • Problem of authorship and interpretation. “Once the artwork enters the communal visual ‘arena’, the work leaves the artist’s critical domain and they lose exclusivity over it.”
  • Postmodernism within photography.
  • Personal agenda of the photographer.
  • Formal elements of Friedlanders work, and his own personal agenda. How he wanted his work to be read versus how it is read by the general viewer. Link to contemporaries – Walker Evans, use of collage / compositional elements.

KEY WORDS:

  • Postmodernism, The City, Authorship, The Photograph As ‘Re-Presentation’,

INITIAL RESEARCH & READINGS:

  • “The surface of a photograph might be matt or glossy, but it is always flat” (Graham Clarke, The Photograph, pg.23.)

– As part of this essay, I want to focus on the fact that a photograph is nothing more than a two-dimensional re-presentation of ‘reality’. I therefore want to explore the idea of interpretation by the viewer, and also the factors that influence the relationship between photographer and the photograph itself.

  • “We assume we can look into a photographic space, but we can only look over and across it.” (Graham Clarke, The Photograph, pg.23.)
  • “We equate black and white photographs with ‘realism’ and the authentic” (Graham Clarke, The Photograph, pg.23.)

-Direct link to Friedlander and his contemporaries (minus Stephen Shore who worked primarily in colour). The use of black and white, and choice of printing methods is something I aim to address in this essay. I am interested in the objectivity of this style, and also the deadpan aesthetic employed by The Great American photographers and also The New Topographics movement.

  • The photograph offers “the trace of an object or a scene from the real world…. It isolates, preserves and presents a moment taken from the continuum.” (Hubert Damisch, Classic Essays on Photography, pg.287-90. Abstract from The Photograph, pg.24.)
  • As Barthes insisted: “Whenever we look at a photograph we look at something which no longer exists.” (Graham Clarke, The Photograph, pg.25. Also see Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida and Image, Music, Text).

 

  • “The panorama-city is a “theoretical” (that is, visual) simulacrum, in short a picture, whose condition of possibility is an oblivion and a misunderstanding of practices.” (Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life – Walking The City, Chapter 7, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984)
  • “The networks of these moving, intersecting writings compose a manifold story that has neither author nor spectator, shaped out of fragments of trajectories and alterations of spaces: in relation to representations, it remains daily and indefinitely other.”
  • “A migrational, or metaphorical, city thus slips into the clear text of the planned and readable city.”
  • “‘The city,’ like a proper name, thus provides a way of conceiving and constructing space on the basis of a finite number of stable, isolatable, and interconnected properties.”
  • “but the city is left prey to contradictory movements that counter-balance and combine themselves outside the reach of panoptic power”
  • “The operation of walking, wandering, or “window shopping,” that is, the activity of passers-by, is transformed into points that draw a totalizing and reversible line on the map.”
  • “The act of walking is to the urban system what the speech act is to language or to the statements uttered.”

 

  • “A space exists when one takes into consideration vectors of direction, velocities, and time variables. Thus space is composed of intersections of mobile elements.” (Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life – Spatial Stories, Chapter 9, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984)
  • “In contradistinction to the place, it has thus none of the univocity or stability of a ‘proper’.”
  • “In short, space is a practiced place. Thus the street geometrically defined by urban planning is transformed into a space by walkers. In the same way, an act of reading is the space produced by the practice of a particular place: a written text, i.e., a place constituted by a system of signs.”

 

  • “It had aimed to signify a transcendental statement through subtraction or rationalized arrangements of elements within a photographic space” (Martha Rosler, ‘Lee Friedlander, An Exemplary Modern Photographer’, in Decoys and Disruptions: Selected Writings, 1975 – 2001, (London: An October book, Cambridge Mass. Press), 2004, p. 114.

-Previous documentary photography in 1930’s America, “The names of the photographers were irrelevant to the audience, reinforcing the idea of objectivity”. (Stephen Bull, Photography, Chapter 6: The Photograph As Document, pg. 109.)

  • In reference to the essay, this point/idea could link to the relationship of the photographer with the photograph, and therefore authorship. Link to Barthes, Image, Music, Text, ‘Death of the Author’. (QUOTES TAKEN FROM BOOK)
  • “The explanation of a war is always sought in the man or woman who produced it, as if it were always in the end, through more or less transparent allegory of the fiction, the voice of a single person, the author ‘confiding’ in us. (Barthes, pg.143)
  • “It is language that speaks, not the author”
  • “To give a text and Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing.”
  • “a text’s unity lies no in its origin but in its destination. Yet this destination cannot any longer be personal: the reader is without history, biography, psychology; he is simply that someone who holds together in a single field all the traces by which the written text is constituted.” (pg. 148)

 

  • “The continuum formal versus transparent is perpendicular to the continuum transcendent versus literal.”
  • “the architecture required the presence of a human figure falling within range of specifications in order to elicit the desired internal comparison between figure and ground.” – good point about the relationship between people and the city, and also the motives of the photographer. Psychogeography link, could possibly feed into personal project ideas?

 

Quotes taken from Postmodernism, Kevin O’Donnell, Lion Access Guides, 2003 Lion Publishing:

  • “As human beings, we have to live within our discourse as fish live in water. We cannot ever step outside the constraints of our language to experience reality in the raw. It is filtered.”

lee-friedlander-albuquerque-new-mexico-1972

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