joel sternfeld :: american prospects (1978)
from luhring augustine:
“The photographs of American Prospects changed the course of photographic practice in significant ways. Sternfeld experimented with color theories conceived originally in reference to architecture or painting and applied them to photography. He brought irony to the centuries-old tradition of landscape painting calling forth a new, postmodern conception of landscape. Moving high above and back from his subjects, Sternfeld presented the contingencies of human and natural events in the form of narrative tableaux.”
kerry brougher, in the essay ‘corrupting photography’:
"If the contamination of paradise has often been Sternfeld’s subject, he has likewise tainted the purity of photography in order to capture the condition of America. His shift from spontaneous snapshot to pre-determined picture-making helped open the gates for a new type of photography now practiced by Rineke Dijkstra, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth, and Jeff Wall, among many others. Since the publication of American Prospects, photography has largely displaced painting; energized by increased scale, luminosity, color, detail, and narrative implications, it is arguably the most vital form in contemporary art. By corrupting the purity of photography, Sternfeld played a pivotal role in moving the medium forward. "
3:19 pm • 14 March 2012
larry sultan : the valley
The cast and crew of a porn film have gathered in the front yard of a ranch house, a few blocks from where I went to high school in the San Fernando Valley. Women in sixinch heels sink into the lawn; men push around lights and cameras, anxious about losing the light. They are preparing to film a scene in which four blond housewives in a convertible are pursued and overtaken by two men in an appliance-repair van. The neighbors have all come out to water their lawns and witness the scene, and in the late evening light it feels as if Fellini has come to make an updated version of “Amarcord.” The house was rented for the two or three days that it takes to make a porn film. It is
common for adult-film companies to shoot on location in tract houses in the heart of the valley – the homes of dentists and attorneys and day traders whose photographs and mementoes can be seen in the backgrounds of these films, and whose decorating tastes give the films their particular “look.” It’s as if the one family went on vacation leaving everything in the house intact, and another family, an odd assembly of very horny adults has temporally taken up residence.
Throughout the day the event of filming creates a sexualized zone in which the gestures, rituals and scenes of suburban domestic life take on a peculiar weight and density. The roll of paper towels on the living room table, the bed linens in a pile by the door, the shoes under the bed all lose their mundane character and are transformed into props or a residue of unseen but very imaginable actions. Even the piece of half eaten pie on the kitchen counter seems suspicious. While the film crew and “talent” are hard at work in the living room I wander through the rest of the house peering into the lives of the people who suddenly left home. I feel like a forensic photographer searching out evidence in a crime scene. But what is the crime? Lazy afternoons are interrupted not by noisy children but by the uncontrollable desires of delivery boys, baby sitters, coeds and cops. They crowd in the master bedrooms and
spill out onto the kitchen floors and onto the patios and into the pools that look just like our neighbors’ pools, like our pool. And by photographing this I’m planted squarely in the terrain of my own ambivalence – that rich and fertile field that stretches out between fascination and repulsion, desire and loss. I’m home again.
11:02 am • 26 February 2012 • 5 notes
ken gonzales-day : erased lynchings
"The Erased Lynching series (2002-2011) sought to reveal that racially motivated lynching and vigilantism was a more widespread practice in the American West than was believed, and that in California, the majority of Lynchings were perpetrated against Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans; and that more Latinos were lynched in California than were persons of any other race or ethnicity.
The images derive from appropriated lynching postcards and archival materials in which the lynch victim and the ropes have all been been removed; a conceptual gesture intended to direct the viewers attention, not upon the lifeless body of lynch victim, but upon the mechanisms of lynching themselves: the crowd, the spectacle, the photographer, and even consider the impact of flash photography upon this dismal past. The perpetrators, if present, remain fully visible, jeering, laughing, or pulling at the air in a deadly pantomime. As such, this series strives to make the invisible -visible.
These absences or empty spaces become emblematic of the forgotten history made all the more palpable in light of the recent events surrounding the resurgence of the noose as means of intimidation and instilling fear everywhere from the workplace to the schoolyard.”
10:12 am • 24 February 2012
missing when life looked like this; tokyo, kyoto, 2010.
1:47 pm • 23 February 2012
josef koudelka : gypsies + ireland
7:02 pm • 22 February 2012
andrew bush : vector portraits
photographs made while traveling 50 to 70 mph in los angeles and other parts of the southwestern united states (1989-1997)
3:54 pm • 22 February 2012 • 4 notes
kohei yoshiyuki : koen (the park)
press release from yossi milo:
"For these photos, taken in Tokyo’s Shinjuku, Yoyogi, and Aoyama parks during the 1970s, Mr. Yoshiyuki used a 35mm camera, infrared film, and flash to document the people who gathered there at night for clandestine trysts, as well as the many spectators lurking in the bushes who watched—and sometimes participated in—these couplings. With their raw, snapshot-like quality, these images not only uncover the hidden sexual exploits of their subjects, both homosexual and also serve as a chronicle of a Japan we rarely see; as Martin Parr writes in The Photobook: A History, Volume II, The Park is “a brilliant piece of social documentation, capturing perfectly the loneliness, sadness, and desperation that so often accompany sexual or human relationships in a big, hard metropolis like Tokyo.”
3:45 pm • 22 February 2012 • 3 notes