Is any art photography simply rubbish?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
linux99 Senior Member • Posts: 2,151
Re: An art critics view

knickerhawk wrote:

Phil A Martin wrote:

Shadowsurfer wrote:

hampshirejohn wrote:

One of my favourite art critics here in the UK is Waldemar Januszczak, though I'll admit he may be an acquired taste. I thought I'd look up his views on photography, which led to this

https://waldemar.tv/2017/07/gregory-crewdson-at-the-photographers-gallery/

Much of the article is about a specific exhibition, but the first three paragraphs are pertinent.

Thanks for this link. The critic confirms what I have often suspected about how photography has evolved from well, "photography" into something more pretentious called "art photography".

Yes very interesting but the only trouble is, he's wrong. Photography was considered "art" long before the 1980s.

Yes, it was a poor choice of words. The "Is it art?" debate was long played out by the 80s. What he's really talking about is the art market for photography really took off in the 80s. He also wrongly projected the advent of large (mostly color) prints back into the 80s. That really didn't happen until later. Ironically, the three examples he gave of 80s era art photographers (Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe and Thomas Struth) all worked in smaller print sizes during that era. Mapplethorpe was also exclusively B&W and Struth didn't get around to the larger prints and color until the 90s.

There may be some merit to his criticism of Crewdson's Cathedral of the Pines collection leaning too heavily on the same suburban/exurban angst themes he'd explored in earlier works. I agree that the female nudity in particular was contrived, but he badly...and I mean...very badly blew it with his criticism of the staging, logistical and technological effort applied to this particular collection. It's an absolute tour-de-force. When I saw the exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, I was totally blown away, as would be anybody who isn't a jaded, tired critic who's had too many article deadlines.

There is very extensive coverage of Crewdson's working method in the BBC's "Genius of Photography" series. It's fascinating to watch if you can get hold of a copy (stream or maybe YouTube). He literally spends $10,000+ per image with a full crew, actors / models and massive piost production.

Does his work speak to me? Probably not - if I want cinematic then I like the actual cinema - but then I dont particularly like Cindy Sherman either.

Oh, and he f'd up the description of The Basement and implications of the scene. There's one small window, but there's also a far more prominent door that appears to open directly outdoors. The scene does not imply in any way that the teenaged girl is somehow trapped.

He bares all the marks of a gatekeeper who wants to keep photography out of the citadel. A battle that has been going since Fox Talbot used his first moustrap.

The show he talks about in this brilliant piece of writing is a perfect example.

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