Esther’s Space- journey through my life

October 11, 2007

Postmodernism & Photography

Filed under: p()5t^^()d3,~]\[ — estherspace @ 11:51 am

Okay, I really felt like I understood this reading. Photography was hailed as the means of ‘capturing’ reality, but, now we can see that even photography cannot claim the entire essence of an event, or how this event fits into a greater narrative. Things such as perspective, lighting, and a number of other photographic choices make a huge difference in what message the resulting photo represents. With all of this in mind, the photograph has lost it’s innocent ability to capture ‘natural’ life. And, today with photoshopping, the photograph is further from natural than ever before.

However, even though I think I ‘get it’ I am left with this basic understanding, which I have outlined above. In an attempt to prove my understanding, I went seeking ‘postmodern’ photographs to illustrate the manner in which photography is self-conscious of its own “representation-as-construction” (handout 39).

One interesting photographer that I found was Vik Muniz. His photography includes self-portraits that are ‘unnatural’ in that they have obviously been at least partially created by a digital system, and photography of the same self-portraits being shown in a gallery. Since he doesn’t want his work stolen, I can only link to the pieces I am referring to. You can find his self-portraits here, and the gallery shot here. Hopefully that works. If not, they were done in 2005, so check out his gallery.

While I am hit by this in some way, I cannot directly articulate how I think it fits into the larger picture of photography and postmodernism, but I know it belongs in the discourse somewhere.

So, in an effort to make some sort of decision, I continued looking and found photography Martin Parr. In his info page, Parr introduces the his idea that the overwhelming power of published images is “propaganda.” Parr has a number of relevant photo collections in regards to the ifluence of media on life, etc. Here, at the bottom of the page, there are photos of his chronicalling of the American influence in Mexico. I like it, because it is incredibly self-conscious, since he takes these photographs for Magnum Photos, and often he advertises what camera he uses, not because he likes the camera, but because of some agreement.

Just to bring it back to the people, I realized that I have taken a number of photographs in my life, making me as much of an artist as the others (right?).  Here’s a photo I took this summer while on a trip in Egypt.  I would mark it as postmodern because it takes a traditional image & puts in a non-traditional context (42 in handout), here that being a goat-herder passing our tour bus.  Am I right, am I confused, please help me clarify!

man-herding-goats.jpg

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1 Comment »

  1. So I did have something brilliant written down and then I lost it. Figures. Anyways, I think what I said the first time was how I agree with you in that photography cannot capture the true essence of something. The only way to capture that would be to experience it. Then I was going to say its essence would only exist in our memory, but then over time memories become unreliable. So I think something’s true essence only exists in that moment. Anything that is produced in relation to this moment is a representation of what that person experienced, but not necessarily what exactly happened. And that’s going to be different for everyone anyway.

    Comment by aprillesundae — November 28, 2007 @ 11:32 pm


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