After five-and-a-half years of Gallery Hopper, it’s time for something new. I’m extremely proud of what I’ve put together here over the 5+ years, garnering mentions in Forbes, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The San Francisco Examiner, I think its fair to say GH has been a pioneer of art blogging. Thanks to all you who have read my ramblings with whatever regularity and especially to those who left comments. It’s been a great avenue to meeting others with a passion for photography.
But, while the blog is retiring, I am not. I’m starting over with a new effort, one that will be more expansive and intense than GH has been or the “concept” of “gallery hopping” allows. I’ve begun a new blog, Ocular Octopus. It’s being updated regularly and will eventually contain a bookstore, a gallery directory and other featured content as new ideas arise.
Some recent posts you’ll find on the new site:
Check out the new site. If you like it, I’d invite you to:
Thanks again for making GH a great success. Here’s to another great run at Ocular Octopus!
I usually found that if I had a preconceived idea for a project it wouldn’t amount to much. Discovery—an aggressive receptivity, if you will—of what is in the landscape provides the inspiration for new ideas.
Richard Misrach, High Museum interview (via Photography for a Greener Planet)
This photograph of Ulysses S Grant was in last Sunday’s NY Times accompanying an article about photographic fakery, brought up by renewed questions about Frank Capa’s “Fallen Soldier” photograph. (Capa’s photograph, strangely, is for sale in the NY Times online store.) Gen. Grant’s photo jumped out at me particularly because it is included in “Grant and Sherman” a book I’m reading about the generals’ Civil War friendship. The the image is a composite of three separate photographs and had caused me to pause when I first ran across it. Grant’s horse appears to be floating above the foreground. There’s clearly something wrong. Still, the book treats it as a straight portrait, even while calling out the oddness of the pose with the caption: “During the war, numerous photographs were made of Grant by himself and with his higher-ranking officers, but this is the only one showing him against a background of his troops in the field.” Hmm, perhaps not.
The Times article reviews a series of historical examples of faked photographs. It mixes examples of fakery down before and after triggering the shutter, but no mention of its own recent imbroglio. (I’d call pre-shutter tricks “staged”, post-shutter “faked”.)
“Critical Terrain” has a long and excellent post on this same issue, concluding all that can be said about a photograph’s truth to be “This is what the picture you’re looking at looks like.”
If you missed the Eggleston retrospective “Democratic Camera” while it was at the Whitney earlier this year, it’s begun traveling and is now showing at the Corcoran in DC. For details, check out the Corcoran site or the Washington Post review.
The Post review raises the question of how difficult it is to describe what qualities of Eggleston’s work raise it to Art with a capital A. A few days ago I posted a quote from John Szarkowski, primarily responsible for giving Eggleston’s work the “Art” label, denegrating photography that is “flaccid, limp, bland, banal, indiscriminately informative, and pointless”. Yet, these are the very words that were leveled against Eggleston’s original 1976 MoMA exhibition.
Irony of ironies, the Corcoran’s show is sponsored by both the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (among others).
William Eggleston, Democratic Camera
Through Sept 20 at Corcoran Gallery of Art
500 17th St. NW
Conscientious has highlighted an article on Vice about the flood of journalists and photographers making the pilgramage to Dtroit to document the implosion of the city. The decline has been going on for a long time, but its the hot topic for media looking for a quick traffic spike. Tomorrow Museum calls it “ruin porn“. As I’ve talked about before, Detroit is just one more “end of civilization” location shoot, starting with Chernobyl and running through Katrina-era New Orleans.
I’m sure there are other, more shiny things to shoot in Detroit. But at this point, no one would believe it, even in a photograph.
Photography is the easiest thing in the world if one is willing to accept pictures that are flaccid, limp, bland, banal, indiscriminately informative, and pointless. But if one insists in a photograph that is both complex and vigorous it is almost impossible.
John Szarkowski, Focus Magazine, May 2007
My wife got a free subscription to Cookie magazine, reason now forgotten. I think of Cookie as the parenting magazine for the “Lifestyles of the Rich or Envious” set. I’d be in the latter category. I’m looking through the most recent issue and was surprised to find a kids fashion spread shot by none other than Platon.
Guess the New Yorker isn’t paying the bills. ‘Course, we’ve all become more aware of how high profile photographers’ spending can get out of hand and magazine work doesn’t pay what it used to. Still, I find this assignment pretty weird.