Thursday, March 26, 2015

photographic taste and other mysteries

i don't really know what to make of my taste in photography. i love these shots of nirvana and courtney love by anton corbijn and i love the subject matter of these shots of a siberian science facility by mexican photographer pablo ortiz monasterio (tho' i question how much skill they took with such subject matter). but i was completely provoked by conceptual artist jeff wall's exhibition that i saw at louisiana last weekend. whatever you do, only watch this video of him talking about his work if you would love to hear a pretentious git talk about himself to the dull masses.

but what is it that provokes me about his work? perhaps it has something to do with the fact that louisiana is displaying a photo of dirty rag being put into a washing machine (those yellow streaks are because i took this with my iPhone and it was in a kind of light box and possibly also because i sent it from my phone to iPhoto on my computer via airdrop, so it came out a bit strange). but seriously, this is worthy of one of the best museums of modern art in the world? really? and i am provoked because concept art, with all its pretentions, makes you think that you're the one who is too much of a rube to understand it. whereas i think i get this piece loud and clear...and i can hear mr. wall laughing all the way to the bank, smug that he convinced the world that this is "art."

i personally think this iPhone shot of his badly-framed boring street with power lines (supposedly painterly-composed) is improved by my own reflection like a window in the middle of it. a clear window onto the soul of his pretentions.

i think you can tell that wall's work provokes me and maybe that's what makes it art. art should provoke us, make us think, make us look at the world anew. but i also want it to be somehow aspirational. i don't want to look at it and think that i could have done it better. and frankly, i think my own shot of powerlines in manila is more interesting:

but i will grant that it's possibly because i'm not really a very good judge of photos...

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