The photographs in Haunted Air provide an extraordinary glimpse into the traditions of this macabre festival from ages past, and form an important document of photographic history. These are the pictures of the dead: family portraits, mementos of the treasured, now unrecognizable, and others.
Another through the tumblr wires. In this case, while these are indeed striking images from a historical point of view,* it’s really the portraiture point view which is more interesting to me here. Being a parent has reminded my of how important Halloween costumes are to us when we’re little. These are all family portraits which function as portraits despite, and because of, their uncanniness. The masks don’t hide anything. They never hide anything.
*Before Halloween became dominated by slickly-manufactured costumes and merchandising tie ins.
I don’t have much more to add which isn’t already covered by @kukkurovaca’s writing on Meatyard and hope that this post encourages him to migrate some of those over to this blog.
Duchamp was about changing the way we think of art, and how we look at the world. In using pictures taken by robots, other photographers might think of me as a joke, but Duchamp faced that all his life—it makes me think I am doing something right.
I really liked what Ed Ruscha said once, that all he wanted to do was photograph the facts. He just wanted to see if it was possible, with his gasoline stations and parking lots and all the rest of it.
I’ve found that quite a few of my projects have revealed a lot of the assumptions and judgements that a section of the photo community continues to take for granted about documentary. It really doesn’t have to be like that. There’s so much more scope for pushing the boundaries of what documentary can be.
Because I’ve been pumping my fist a little too much with each successive interview with Mishka Henner recently. I really like what he’s doing—both in his methods of approaching the overwhelming amount of robot photography out there as well as what he’s chosen to say with it. He’s going directly at the “what is art” question in a way which forces everyone to question their assumptions about the medium. Why do we think what’s “good” is good? What do we expect from certain genres? Are our sacred cows truly sacrosanct? We need voices and visions like his.
That these photos are indeed illegal to take despite being freely available via satellite* adds that extra level of trickster fun which takes these from being just about the story of consumption to also including how these are big business—with tentacles into the government and a vested interest in our remaining ignorant of what they show.
Came across these on tumblr and clicked through to the gallery page. I really like Henry Wessel. I’m not sure exactly why though. It’s not just specific details, his compositions work in ways that I’m not sure can be taught so I just look at all of them and try to absorb what I see.
I also really like how so many of these look to be taken out of moving vehicles—often incorporating the vehicle itself as part of the image. I see all kinds of potential photos while I’m driving but getting everything to work together when doing that is near impossible.
Still upset I missed this at the DeYoung. It was nice to be reminded of these when they surfaced again on Lens Blog. When I first saw the information on the show, it felt like a local-interest show. Reading it in the Times, the extra framing of it as sorta-juvenalia of a young artist finding his voice makes it a more interesting presentation to me.
It’s also of course interesting to see it framed as capturing weird San Francisco before it goes extinct but that’s a post for another blog.
I’ve always loved this series of images. Much of what I find appealing about Walker Evans in general is his love of type and letterforms. I’ve always seen his Common Tools photos as fitting perfectly with that mentality. First and foremost these are intended to be used for specific tasks and are the kinds of things that are easily overlooked and ignored unless they’re defective.