posts dedicated to general musings on art: theories, practices, education, exhibition and review.
posts dedicated to general musings on art: theories, practices, education, exhibition and review.
The latest issue of British Journal of Photography is a celebration of the contemporary photobook, the primary art form for contemporary photographers.
We believe book-making, and the conceptualisation of books, has become the medium on which artists are now judged. There’s been an explosion of small publishers, and book-making rather than the simple creation of photography prints is now the dynamic area of modern photography.
As independent publishers Aron Morel and Hannah Watson say in this issue: “The book is the ultimate space for the photograph” and “the best way of getting your work out there in a cohesive way”…
read the full story here >>>> source: The June issue – celebrating the photobook | British Journal of Photography
For her show at Manhattan’s Sean Kelly Gallery opening May 8, German photographer Candida Höfer will exhibit about 15 photographs shot recently in Düsseldorf to demonstrate how her photographic style has split in two.
…The show was a success. But Ms. Höfer, who in person exudes a natural reserve, said she began eliminating humans from her photographs. She found herself uncomfortable interacting with them after realizing that “there was too little binding us together.”
Instead, she said she felt bonded to empty edifices in two disparate architectural styles—either a heavily embellished Baroque or a sleek modernism.
Read the full story here >>>> Source: Wall Street Journal An Artist Who Prefers Empty Spaces
Idris Khan’s studios are full of light, cluttered in an enviable and rather chic fashion, everything the successful young artist could aspire to, with assistants working away, a lovely kitchen, a palpable feeling of success and energy – and C-types up on the wall.
I must confess I did not know what a C-type was until I went to his studios in north London. I learned that it is essentially a photographic print that has been exposed using digital rather than darkroom methods. Khan starts most of his work by manipulating photographs, sometimes using computers. Some of these he has taken himself with his own camera; some he has borrowed from other sources. Essentially, his work is about exploring the deeper meaning buried in lines of writing, which he distils until they reveal some new truth. His work, be it a picture or an inscription on steel or board, speaks of a fascination with scripture.
read full story here >>>> Source: Idris Khan: blurred lines | Art and design | The Guardian
Plans to create the photographic equivalent of the Frieze contemporary art fair were announced on Thursday, with a new annual event hoping to tap into an explosion of interest.
Photo London will bring together 60 galleries for five days at London’s Somerset House with the aim of creating “the best photography fair in the world – bar none,” according to Michael Benson, one of the driving forces behind it.
As well as commercial galleries there will be a programme of public events, talks and installations including a display of hidden treasures from the V&A’s vast photographic archives.
The aim will be to create a “campus-like” atmosphere for those already interested, but also, said Benson, “to utterly transform the photography audience here in London, to bring in audiences who would usually run screaming from a gallery and are even more likely to run screaming from an art fair.”
London has established itself as a world centre for photography. The Photographers’ Gallery, for example, moved to a bigger purpose-built space in 2012 and is thriving. Galleries such as the Barbican and Tate Modern hold many more major photographic shows than they used to.
Benson said a fair with this ambition and on this scale could not have happened ten years ago as there was less appetite. “In the UK we ignored photography for quite a long time,” he said. “When Paris was having its photography moment we were having our Britart moment – I seriously think we kind of just ignored it. And then all of a sudden, and I don’t know who the genius behind it was, but someone said we’ve neglected photography for too long.
“Various appointments were made, museums started taking it seriously and prizes started being located here.”
Benson’s company Candlestar is also behind the annual Prix Pictet prize which rewards photography which explores issues of sustainability. “We had the final at the V&A in May and had 1,400 people turn up to the opening. There is a huge audience for photography.”
On top of that, he said, there is a growing number of art collectors who are now looking to buy photographs.
A committee of curators is due to meet in the next few weeks to choose the 60 galleries which will be invited to set up stall at Photo London.
It will be a photographic equivalent of London’s Frieze art fair, but it will not feel as “overwhelming” as Frieze does, Benson said, and it will not be a grid of competing stalls.
The aim is to become the best in the world although organisers know they have some way to go in becoming the biggest, with Paris Photo opening next week – now in its 18th year with 143 galleries. “Paris Photo is the king,” said Benson.
The public programme of events in London – including tours, talks, music, screenings and symposia – will be funded by the LUMA Foundation, a Zurich-based non-profit organisation. Across the river at Tate Modern, a parallel photography book fair is also due to be held.
• Photo London will open to the public 21-24 May
by Sarah Hromack, Rob Giampietro for Art in America
It’s no longer a question of whether art institutions should have a virtual presence. Rather, the onus is being placed on designers to facilitate meaningful interactions with art that might occur in the gallery, via Web-based applications or in new hybrid spaces that merge the real and the virtual. Any attempt to augment an encounter with artwork using technological means invariably raises questions about the values we assign to certain modes of viewing. After all, isn’t visiting a museum inherently tied to a very deep, very primary real-life experience? The promises and pitfalls of new technologies are forcing museums to rebalance their traditional mandates to care for a collection of physical objects while enabling scholarship and providing the wider public an opportunity to engage with works of art. —R.G. and S.H.
SARAH HROMACK While I currently work in an art museum, my personal engagement with art and digital mediaa—online publishing, blogging and the social Web, in particular—has developed over the course of nearly 20 years. In that time, I have observed the ways in which the physical experience of looking at art has become increasingly mediated by technology, a process that has only intensified as the Web became constantly accessible via mobile devices. When considering the role of the so-called digital audience for an art institution, I imagine the individual who may never stand in a given physical site, yet may nevertheless engage with a work of art, performance or installation through the digital interface of a website or app. While museums sometimes make problematic judgments about what an art experience should or shouldn’t be—and enforce those pedagogical prescriptions through architecture, texts and other didactic materials, public programming and, of course, the placement of art works themselves—we simply have to acknowledge and even accept the ever-changing role technology plays in that experience, for better or for worse. In doing so, we can begin to glean a more nuanced and critical understanding of how people encounter art in physical and virtual spaces.
ROB GIAMPIETRO I’ve worked as a designer on a diverse range of interfaces and websites for cultural institutions, artists, architects, philosophers and more. I find it fascinating how ideas from the physical world can be translated—crudely or elegantly—to the metaphorical space of the screen. I’m also interested in what could be considered native about this space, what the screen uniquely provides. In particular, I share the view of so many of the field’s pioneers that interactive technology is a branch of cinema
In his 1955 book Designing for People, industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss was one of the first to write of designing a “man-machine interface”—in that case, a more accessible cockpit for pilots in WWII. By applying techniques from the emerging fields of ergonomics and information theory, Dreyfuss and his team aimed to integrate controls, seating and instrumentation in order to close the gap between a pilot and his aircraft. Like the full-room scale of the first mainframe computers, the cockpit subsumed its human operator—it was an interface that was also an environment, operating at the scale of architecture. In the same book, Dreyfuss turns his attention from the hard lessons of war to the soft power of culture, evoking another bit of architecture that might be reshaped by the new logic of the interface: the museum. “A half-hour’s tour through a museum with a TV camera,” he wrote, “can bring to life a wealth of art and knowledge that could otherwise not be seen in months.”1 Once again Dreyfuss was aiming to close a gap, to give people immediate access to all the world’s artwork. Paradoxically, his scheme for facilitating this immediacy required the mediating device of broadcast television.
HROMACK The camera still weighs heavily on our physical experience of the museum. Surrealist and Bauhaus-era exhibition designers first began to condition us for this, even though their gestures long predated the ubiquitous presence of screens in our everyday lives. I think of Kurt Schwitters’s Merzbau, an immersive environment the German artist constructed in the 1920s and ’30s, or the work of László Moholy-Nagy and Herbert Bayer. These artists and designers introduced radical spatial configurations and new conventions of display that altered the conditions for viewing art, prompting people to behave and interact differently. Now, our cameras are embedded in the smartphones many of us hold as constant companions; by presenting and circulating photography in still-novel ways, applications such as Instagram and Vine are also enabling new phenomenologies around the way art is encountered, experienced and considered.
Though written comments are still a primary form of online social interaction, the photograph now functions as a form of commenting, as we make implied statements by posting images instead of words. This is a complicated prospect when we consider how woefully prevalent miscommunication can be with words—imagine the vast room for interpretation a photograph offers. If we think about this phenomenon in the museum context we are faced with a difficult set of questions. For example, what does it mean for us to encounter an artist’s work for the first time via Facebook or Instagram or Vine?
GIAMPIETRO I’m sure that happens a lot! I wonder if we fast-forwarded a few years wether we might find other commercial Web platforms absorbing museum functions. For example, Etsy or Ebay might just as frequently be used for organizing and browsing object data as a museum website. I know curators of design objects and even librarians with non-book collections who’ve found the expert communities and the knowledge they’ve generated from these sites to be useful in filling in gaps in collection data.
HROMACK Earlier in the summer, I witnessed a conversation wherein a handful of New York-based arts professionals admitted to having willfully refrained from seeing Kara Walker’s recent installation, A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby—a magnificent larger-than-life sphinx made of refined white sugar—in Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar factory, because they felt that they had already sufficiently experienced the piece through images seen in others’ Instagram feeds.
Walker’s work was nothing short of monumental in scale and ambition. It addressed the history of the disused factory space and grappled with the legacy of an industry—sugar production—whose labor practices exemplified the vicious racial inequities that still plague our country. The images in question here—selfies and other pictures featuring visitors making sexually explicit gestures or striking juvenile poses with Walker’s sphinx-starkly illustrated many of the issues around art access that we’re alluding to here. Technology has given us the platform to document our experiences instantly and at will; the behavioral response is still unrefined and often hair-triggered, however. The issues surrounding photographic representation are by no means new, either, even if the methods of image replication and distribution have changed: we’ve been arguing over the representation of race and ethnicity in photography and its relationship to exhibition display for quite a while. Many of the questions raised by the social media response to Walker’s project echo the debates surrounding “The Family of Man,” Edward Steichen’s 1955 exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, which drew a quarter of a million people to view images of people from around the world.
To think that now, in 2014, we would allow ourselves to be dissuaded from a physical experience by the effects of a digital interface is sad, given that we can ostensibly control our consumption of the Web. Seeing an image pop up over and over again in various social media feeds might make me feel a sense of familiarity with the work, but it cannot approximate my sensorial experience—and I say this as a person that has experienced augmented and virtual reality in military-grade computer labs! The Google Art Project can document a work by creating a 360 degree interactive panorama, as it did with Walker’s project, but that high-resolution image cannot supplant the physical object. It is crucial that we keep looking at and experiencing works of art in the real world.
GIAMPIETRO I noticed that many of those who posted about the Walker installation online noted the specifics of its scent. It’s tempting to portray the contemporary installation—spectacle as an image-making machine, producing dozens of similar images. In Instagram’s interface, pictures of Walker’s installation appear stamp-sized on a phone’s screen, flattened in all dimensions, their likers and commenters quantified. These images may document the installation, but they also document and identify each photographer’s individual presence in the space. In that way, these pictures assert the primacy of the photographer’s direct experience as opposed to an Instagram user’s mediated one. Those discouraged from visiting Walker’s installation in person because of its ubiquity on social media may have been discouraged not by what the installation itself offered but by what its flood of representations removed: the sense that an encounter with the work could be personal or transformative. The new hyper-visibility is difficult because it can transform a unique installation into commodified image; the work’s lasting political power could easily be mistaken for a fleeting trend.
The person who logs on to a museum’s website, however, has a different sort of experience because the entire collection appears to be at his or her fingertips. Digital images on a museum website can’t offer transcendence any more than an Instagram feed can, but institutional websites do tend to offer the illusion of control, the sense that visitors can curate a museum’s collection by arranging images to their liking.
HROMACK What role does design play in suggesting that illusion of control? In developing museum—specific interfaces that focus on the delineation of time, designers seem to be “performing” art history in a sense: if you look closely at all major online museum collections, you will see a very similar, and yet remarkably limited set of interactive possibilities. A person can often sort a collection of images by the date the artworks were created, for instance, or click through an illustrated timeline as a means of parsing art history. And yet, regardless of how vigorously designers and institutions strive to imbue a user’s experience with a sense of history and academic accuracy—of physical space, even—no one can stop the proliferation of those images onto the wider Internet where they are collected, stacked, starred, liked, reposted and regrammed by people into other, unknown narratives. By granting digital access to its collection, whether through images, metadata or other assets, the museum also opens itself to new forms of public interpretation. This is a true form of institutional vulnerability.
GIAMPIETRO I think it’s also worth considering how the term “platform”-software that powers a wide community of networked interactions, devices and experiences—may function in relationship to the question of access. Platform is a euphemism for control: build the platform and you rule the territory by granting or restricting access to people, places, things or data. Software platforms are to some degree institutional, but museums also function and describe themselves as platforms, in a broader sense. Sometimes this description of the museum-as-platform is conceptual, other times it is describing the walls themselves and the art they display. The museum building, you might say, is a certain platform for social interaction organized around viewing art. Transferring this concept to the Web is more complex: what if certain artworks from a museum are stolen, damaged, sold or repossessed? If these works disappear from the museum’s walls, what are the implications for that museum’s digital audiences? These works could still be displayed on its website. But something would be different.
In other cases, though, there doesn’t appear to be a problem or contradiction at all—a museum hosts a traveling show with works on loan and displays those works on its website. Afterward, they are logged as part of the museum’s exhibition history. And what about works that the museum chooses to write about on a blog? Or show as comparisons? You could imagine situations that are more restrictive or permissive along this spectrum, but it’s clear that a museum platform that can accommodate any image is not restrictive enough. The more wall—less the museum becomes, the more its website might start to resemble other websites.
Databases are powerful tools for collectively producing knowledge about the world and its objects because they make gaps in knowledge evident, fillable and comma-separated. Expert communities dedicated to visual artifacts inevitably resemble museums. I have an artist friend working with insects who has just stumbled onto a whole Internet subculture where rare bugs are traded, bred, photographed, logged and trafficked. Ad-hoc online expert communities that include professionals and “prosumers” may even provide some benefits to museums: Etsy’s data might be better structured, for example, or its design objects might be more comprehensively documented than those same objects in a museum’s collection. Via its developer Application Programming Interface (API), Ebay might have a better method for connecting with other platforms to create a more networked collection of certain objects. In other words, Ebay and Etsy excel at being databases that can be related to other databases. Within the database, facts are isolated, checked and then related. The expert community curates collectively.
Even as they build ever-more complex databases, some museums have resisted this trend and look for other metaphors to explain the role their digital interfaces play. Most common is a metaphor favored by French critic and scholar André Malraux. In a 2012 Metropolis interview, the Walker Art Center’s Andrew Blauvelt explained that, “The new Walker website is a completely different model for museums. It has become a publishing platform and ideas hub, not just a place where you get info on how to visit or what to visit. That information is, of course, there and available still. What is new is that we are now developing our own editorial content.” 2 MoMA’s POST website, which is described as an “online resource devoted to art and the history of modernism in a global context,” is overseen by an editorial team and appears accordingly less like a database than an online magazine populated with full articles about international modern art.3 Of course, the Walker and MoMA, like many museums, have acted as publishers for quite some time: they produce and distribute exhibition catalogues, membership magazines and other publications. These institutions are seeking to develop scholarship, criticism and interviews designed to be shared across social media with the aim of generating conversation online. The interface brings the operator as close to the operation as possible while designating a site of mediation between them. If we understand art primarily as a form of cultural discourse, it’s possible to envision a museum’s interface as essential to closing the gap between its art and its public.
HROMACK The Walker’s model is very interesting to me and has been for years. Reading from afar, I often wonder about the relationship between the museum and its local community and whether the same model would work in New York, the city where I live and work. Museums consider the notion of public engagement very carefully, and the social web provides an ideal space for the institution to project its own feelings about how openly or generously or successfully it interacts with people-whether those notions are functionally true or not.
I am not entirely convinced that museum-run publications-as-social-spaces-the Whitney Stories publication and video series that we run out of my department, for instance, or MoMA’s Post project-can unilaterally engender genuine, self-selected digital communities, regardless of how much we hope and believe otherwise, on an institutional level. At this point in the history of the Internet, the major social media platforms command a sheer level of user engagement that individual, organization-specific platforms simply cannot, unfortunately; it’s our job to figure out how to harness that monopoly, both socially and technically, through smart social integration and interface design.
Researchers such as Sherry Turkle (MIT) have worked for decades to both understand and caution against the complex psychological relationships people develop with their devices.
Yet, the future of museum visitor engagement will continue to mimic current technology trends: smartphones, “wearables” and proximity-based technologies such as the iBeacon. MoMA’s most recent mobile application, Audio +, is a strong example of an institution recognizing a now—natural human behavior—in this case, the propensity of in—gallery photography—and designing for that behavior rather than sanctioning against it. Likewise, the soon-to-reopen Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will proffer an interactive pen, co-designed with Hewlett-Packard, to each visitor who will in turn be permitted to “collect” objects throughout the institution by scanning museum labels, thereby “capturing” their visit to the museum for later access on a web address printed on their admission ticket. These digital experiments don’t always work, and they certainly challenge still-held ideas about how people should and shouldn’t behave in museums. But art institutions aren’t churches, and the enthusiasm we see among visitors for bringing digital technology into the gallery suggests that we’re witnessing a transformation in how the museum relates to its public. The assumptions and biases that will be overturned in that process remains another question entirely.
ROB GIAMPIETRO is principal at Project Projects, a design studio in New York.
SARAH HROMACK is director of digital media at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art.
NEW YORK, NY.- Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be the most important exhibition of the essential Cubists—Georges Braque French, 1882–1963, Juan Gris Spanish, 1887–1927, Fernand Léger French, 1881–1955, and Pablo Picasso Spanish, 1881–1973—in more than 30 years. The exhibition and accompanying publication will trace the invention and development of Cubism using iconic examples from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection, with its unparalleled holdings in this foundational modernist movement. The exhibition will mark the first time that the Collection, which Mr. Lauder pledged to the Museum in April 2013, is shown in its entirety. The exhibition, which opens October 20, 2014, will present 79 paintings, works on paper, and sculpture: 17 by Braque, 15 by Gris, 15 by Léger, and 34 by Picasso. Rich in modernist pictures by Picasso and Braque, the exhibition will also include an unprecedented number of papiers collé by Juan Gris and a stunning array of Léger’s most famous series, his Contrasts of Forms.
READ MOre HERE >>> via ‘Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection’ opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
By Patricia Reaney
Reuters – Blue figures swim around walls, dancers prance in a circle and flowers sprout on a huge canvas in an exhibition of the cut-out works of French artist Henri Matisse that opens next week.
The show, “Henri Matisse: the Cut-Outs,” which runs from Oct. 12 through Feb. 8 at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), includes 100 works from private and public collections, drawings, textiles and stained glass from the final years of the renowned artist, who died in 1954 aged 84.
“It is the most extensive exhibition of this period of Matisse’s work ever mounted,” said Jodi Hauptman, a curator of the show, which was organized in collaborations with the Tate Modern in London.
Matisse was already famous for his vivid paintings when he began to draw with scissors, cutting colored and painted paper into various shapes, then mounting and pinning them on paper, canvas and the walls of his studio.
“He is at the end of his life but he is still inventing something new,” said Hauptman, “and not accepting what he had always done.”
The exhibition follows Matisse as he begins with small works of dancers twirling and leaping and figures in bright colors, using paper which was more expedient and less labor intensive than paint.
It follows with Jazz, a series of works for a project for publisher Teriade, and continues with larger works such as “The Thousand and One Nights,” which depicts the story of fictional Queen Scheherazade from the Arabian Nights, and his four “Blue Nude” studies of the female form.
“He began using paper to kind of form his compositions and at this point it is helping him do what he needs to do,” Hauptman explained. “After he started working on Jazz he sees that he has invented this new thing that he calls a cut-out operation.”
When the exhibition was shown in London earlier this year it drew more than 560,000 people during its nearly five-month run at the Tate Modern, making it the museum’s most popular show ever.
The MOMA show is similar but also includes “The Swimming Pool,” which fills a room in the exhibit with cut-outs of ultramarine blue swimmers, divers and sea urchins.
Inspired by a visit to a favorite pool in Cannes, Matisse made the expansive work pinned on white paper on walls lined with tan canvas in his dining room in Nice.
It is on view in New York for the first time in two decades and followed major conservation work, which sparked the exhibit that was five years in the making.
Other highlights include “The Parakeet and the Mermaid,” a massive cut-out work covering an entire wall with bright blues, greens, reds and blues; and “Ivy in Flower,” a large maquette for a stained glass window.
“You see the ambition of Matisse, the strength of the artist and the strength of the work,” said Hauptman, adding he had found the art form to serve his goals.
February 8–November 2, 2014
The Edward Steichen Photography Galleries, third floor
A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio examines the ways in which photographers and other artists using photography have worked and experimented within their studios, from photography’s inception to the present. Featuring both new acquisitions and works from the Museum’s collection that have not been on view in recent years, A World of Its Own brings together photographs, films, and videos by artists such as Berenice Abbott, Uta Barth, Zeke Berman, Karl Blossfeldt, Constantin Brancusi, Geta Brătescu, Harry Callahan, Robert Frank, Jan Groover, Barbara Kasten, Man Ray, Bruce Nauman, Paul Outerbridge, Irving Penn, Adrian Piper, Edward Steichen, William Wegman, and Edward Weston.
Depending on the period, the cultural or political context, and the commercial, artistic, or scientific motivations of the artist, the studio might be a haven, a stage, a laboratory, or a playground. For more than a century, photographers have dealt with the spaces of their studios in strikingly diverse and inventive ways: from using composed theatrical tableaux (in photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron or Cindy Sherman) to putting their subjects against neutral backdrops (Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe); from the construction of architectural sets within the studio (Francis Bruguière, Thomas Demand) to chemical procedures conducted within the darkroom (Walead Beshty, Christian Marclay); and from precise recordings of motion (Eadweard Muybridge, Harold Edgerton) to playful, amateurish experimentation (Roman Signer, Peter Fischli and David Weiss). A World of Its Own offers another history of photography—a photography created within the walls of the studio, and yet as innovative as its more extroverted counterpart, street photography.
by Susan Stamberg
When we point smartphones at our kids or smile for a selfie, we’re not necessarily thinking of photography as an art form. But in the early days of the medium, when big cameras and flashbulbs were lugged around and propped on tripods, art was often the goal. An exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles focuses on the work of one such photographer, Minor White.
Curator Paul Martineau finds the name “Minor” appropriate. “It has a relationship to music and the minor key, which is somewhat of an unusual quirky key, and that fits in with his own personality,” he says.
An outsider with a quirky sense of humor, White had different ideas, Martineau says. He was brave in what he chose to photograph, at a time when some subjects were dangerous.
In 1948, White made a series of pictures of his friend Tom Murphy. Beautiful, muscular — and naked — Murphy poses like a ballet dancer: elbows held in front of his chest, hands crossed, his long, graceful fingers pressed together.
Martineau says Murphy’s hands look like the wings of a dove. His head is tucked sideways, birdlike. The lighting, Martineau points out, is very sensitive.
There’s art, photography and love in this arresting black-and-white image — and also a story that involves the great Alfred Stieglitz, the early 20th century photography pioneer and avant garde art impresario.
“When Minor visited Alfred Stieglitz in New York, he still had many questions about his own direction and whether or not he could be truly a great photographer,” Martineau says. “Stieglitz asked him the question: Have you ever been in love? And Minor replied: Yes I have. And Stieglitz replied: Then you can be a photographer.”
It was 1946, and White was 38 years old. He’d gone from Minneapolis to Portland, to New York, where Stieglitz was a major influence on him. So were Ansel Adams, with his parks and mountains, and Edward Weston, with his nudes and vegetables.
“Ansel looked at the world in a big way,” says Catherine Opie, a photographer and professor at UCLA. “He was interested in landscape that extended. Weston made the pepper look like a beautiful, sexy body. Minor is always up close and up tight and looking at form.”
White was really talking to himself, looking inward, through the pictures he took. Martineau says there was torment in that search.
“His struggle with his homosexuality was a key factor in his work,” Martineau explains. “Throughout his entire career he remained closeted. He had to. He was teaching in various university art programs, and if someone had found out he could’ve lost his source of livelihood, so it was very serious.”
“I think that Minor thought that photographs themselves were mirrors,” adds Opie.
By the end of his career — he died at 68 in 1976 — White’s pictures were abstract, black-and-white closeups of rocks, wood and water. The gleaming images were spiritual and intense. He arranged them in sequences, leading viewers from one picture to another, slowing us down and forcing us to see connections and relationships between the shapes.
In a 1957 photograph, a discarded water tank, weathered by the elements, looks like an encrusted snail shell. “Look at how the light is caressing the rim at the top of this circular object. It’s just gorgeous,” Martineau says.
These days, everyone is a photographer …
” … but is everyone a good photographer?” Opie asks with a laugh. “Does everyone spend their life thinking about it? … Every bit of their love and energy and relationship to the medium? That’s the question.”
That’s what Minor White did, Martineau says.
“He worked very hard his entire life,” he says. “He was practically living at poverty levels until the very end of his life. He was completely committed in mind, body and soul to living a life in photography.”