Sunday 22 May 2011

The Secret Garden

Naa Teki Lebar-The Sceret Den

Austrian born freelance photographer Naa Teki Lebar, now living and practising in the Uk, Lebar is interested in re-encountering self, artificial scenes and restaging are the core of her practice. Taking inspiration from mythology, theatricality and fantasy she tries to achieve a blending of opposite realities in the secret of nature and the nature of secrets. Also the idea of the lucid dream and its connotation and symbolism is played within masks. The characters wearing masks inhibit a neither human nor animal like nature. They are living in a world where identity of the human or the animal is aloof and we are left with something more abstract.

Martin Parr

Martin Parr was born in a middle class family in Epsom, Surrey, Britain, in 1952. He claims his grandfather inspired him to become a photographer. He later went on to study photography at Manchester Polytechnic. Most of Parr’s early work was black and white it wasn't until 1984 that he begun his produced work in colour. In 1986 Parr produced a series of worked entitled ‘Last Resort: Photographs of New Brighton’
New Brighton is a small very run down sea side resort in the north west of England. At the time of the photographs Margaret Thatcher was in power, parts of the country were falling apart. Parr documents the decay of the affected surroundings juxtaposed against the people in the images, still living normally, having days out and enjoying themselves. Parr claims he always found traditional aspects of British culture appealing. This type of surrounding was new to him having given his background.

New Brighton, Merseyside 1985
His images in the series show a sense of vulnerability, they’re raw and true, documenting people doing what people do. That can sometimes be uncomfortable we don’t like to see the bad points about ourselves. Also Parr’s use of saturated colour is solid and strong, it makes his documentary photography even more powerful. There always feels like there is a lot to take in from a Martin Parr images. He has the ability to make his viewer remember an image, making his a pretty skilled documentary photographer.

Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore is an American born photographer that started at a very young age. At six he received a dark room set as a gift from his uncle. He quickly became interested in printed photographs. It wasn’t until he was eleven that he started taking pictures. Throughout his late teens Shore met Andy Warhol he started photographing him and the artist’s musicians etc. that surrounded him. In 1971 Shore became the first living photographer to have had a solo exhibition at The Museum of Metropolitan Art in New York.  In 1972 Shore drove across America and documented the event producing a series of work entitled ‘uncommon places’ here he would take pictures of seemingly banal objects, intersections, residential architecture, diners, gas stations. All of which he shot on colour film and a view camera. Shores work could be argued (despite his technical precision) that his work crosses over into intimate life, as he was documenting what he saw at that period of time for the duration of the trip. His day to day life that only he saw, which is pretty intimate. I love his snapshot style and vivid colours. He's certainly changed my opinion of deadpan photography, which before i found a bit dull. I take it back.

Trail's End Restaurant, Kanab, Utah, August 10, 1973  

 'the camera only records what no one else was around to see'- Jonathan Walton

Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin

Born in Washington DC 1853, shortly after her family moved to boston. At 14 her sister Barbara committed suicide, it was the disturbance from this unfortunate event that forced her to find comfort in her friends, creating an alternative family. After moving in with numberous foster families, Goldin enrolled in an alternative school called Satya community school, Lincoln Massachusetts. It was here that Nan met David Armstrong and Suzanne Fletcher, whom she photographed extensively, she did this so she wouldn’t lose her memory of them, as had happened with her sister. Goldin documents the relationships around her. By doing this she is in turn documenting herself, or rather a small part of her life that she sees. Goldin went on to produce an extensive amount of snapshots of her friends which would be presented as slides projected onto a wall at her exhibitions

Goldin's work is intimate and raw, creating a language between viewer and photographer. Her instamatic photos give familiarity and comfort for viewers, despite their explicit nature in some cases. Her work offers veracity something that even the most skilled photographer find difficult to achieve.

Photo: Nan and Brian in bed, New York City 1983 

Have computers made life worse?

(Socially and photographically)

Now both sides to this argument have their pros and cons. Yet when we think about it our whole life revolves around computers, we are apart of a computer generation.

Photographically, computers are the reason photography is so accessible to us as photography students and professionals who need that means. There is unlimited variety of photographic equipment, accessories, programs. The internet also plays a huge role within the photography industry as it is a huge resource for viewing other images, photo-sharing websites, and information on pretty much anything, tutorials, forums, online guides etc.

Having said that, it also makes it easier for anyone to become a photographer overnight and have technically perfect images.
Photography is a dying art! film photography in particular. It is very rare to see someone take a film camera out with them to document a birthday party. The miniature space set aside in Jessop’s, to home a few dusty boxes of photographic film is heartbreaking.

But if there is a shortcut to something, it is only natural that we use it. As people we are very lazy.

We forget that technology is created by the brightest minds in the world with only good intentions. (Excuse the invention of the atomic bomb) it is our fault for not utilizing them to their full potential. We take things for granted everything can be edited and manipulated. No real effort is made anymore. More people use the internet for social networking sites than they do for educating themselves.

Modernism & Post-modernism

From what I have gathered through research modernism can be applied to a wide range of topics, religion, politics, architecture, art and so on! Some would say a broader definition is that Modernism is basically ‘modern thought’. It began roughly around the 1850’s up until just after 1945. A period when Freud and Marx where thinking a lot!

Modernists rejected the idea of enlightenment thinking and the existence of an all powerful creator, though not all modernists rejected religion and enlightenment, merely assessing the ways of the previous age. Agricultural elements have a huge impact on social mentality. At the end of the 19th century, western society was growing through the age of the industrial revolution. Some artists were at differences with the ideals it presented such as those of discipline, temperance and structure. It is arguable to think that modernists were a reaction to the harsher reality that had been lived before the industrial revolution.

As each era is modern to its’ own time, it could be said that we are all modernist’s. As we can only define a time period once it has passed who decides that we begin a new age?

Post-modernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality

Postmodernism is a broad term used to describe movements in a wide range of disciplines, including art, philosophy, critical theory and music. Many view postmodernism as a response to the preceding modernist movement, but where modernism simply reacts against classical concepts, particularly in the arts and literature, postmodernism takes this reaction to its extreme conclusion, some see postmodernism not as a separate movement, but simply as a continuation of the modernist struggle. From what I can tell post-modernists don’t think religion, science or truth is what defines a person, but more so the social and mental aspects of their life and their independent thought that make a person who they are. Just to take a stab at it anyway!