Photography After Modernism -

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Photography After Modernism -

Post  Admin on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:09 pm

Discuss the essay and the idea of Jeff Wall and Philip Lorca-diCorcia's approaches to the practice of a 'staged' photography. The nature of 80s practice, such as Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin, should inform an understanding of how personal narrative and theatricality had entered contemporary practice already in the wake of the new topographics and traditions from the 60s and 70s.

However, I think it's key to consider how this work harkens back to the street-work of icons like Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand, and seeks to find a new way of mediating or describing that experience, but remember that the voyeur exists in one, and the 'director' essentially exists in the other.

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The adaptation of two

Post  VrTech on Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:14 am

As he said "I begin by not photographing", Jeff Wall. I'm very amazed about how he create photography by using people to act like they were there in daily life, because if you not understand the content about his concept, you cannot easily understand what he does.

In point of viewer, You may think of a random people capturing around footpath like what we do nowadays. Without knowing content, this is very absurd for all normal people because all people think all the same which is can be easily capture this kind of photo everywhere.

As this quote
"In my discussion of Jeff Wall's work in Chapter One, I called attention to an internal division in his art. On the one hand, starting in the early 1990s, he has often depicted absorbed persons, and more broadly has devised scenes that in one way or another may be seen as seeking an antitheatical relation of viewer. On the other, the conspicuousness of the light box apparatus, together with the more or less self-evident stagedness of many his images..."

I think the way he did his artwork is very unique, also the political-sarcastic for an example of the work title "Mimic" which is the asian people was underestimated by Caucasian man, I can adapt to our thinking process with his method that I can set things up to make the perfect photo and scenes that I wanted, not because the way of natural is bad but I want the perfect situation same as his method.

His work can be enhanced by using light box or we can called adjust the artwork by light box, but you can use lighting method from Philip-Lorca di Corcia, His work is very great lighting. The way Philip-Lorca di Corcia use his light technique is a common technique as designer and photographer use nowadays, which is very well-known around the world.

As this quote
"Philip-Lorca di Corcia began to discover his distinctive photographic method ... The subject was utterly ordinary but the photograph was carefully planned the camera was on a tripod and the lighting was supplemented by an electronic flash hidden in the refrigerator and triggered at the moment of exposure..."

For his uniqueness for photographic method, In viewer and director view both can understand the same meaning for the photo, because Philip-Lorca di Corcia's picture and photo is only added and adjust light. Normal people can understand and feel the beautiful of colors he did and just the wonderful color of photographic method he discovered.

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Their approaches

Post  Dolhathai on Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:11 am


Jeff Wall’s approaches to subjects in his street photography works are different than traditional street ‘snap’ shots. Wall is “particular interested to this chapter of concern”, which involve “the relation of mimic to the convention of traditional street photography”.

From New’s discussion “using people to act like they were there in daily life, because if you not understand the content about his concept, you cannot easily understand what he does.” I have understand it differently, I don’t think you don’t needed to know that it was all “set up” this “decisive moment” are already “too good to be true.” People are cautioning in their mind as these “snap shot” seem nature but cliché. “There is political claim, the theory about relation of certain sort of spontaneous aggressive micro-gestures to the social a political totality of late capitalism.”

Wall said he wanted to achieve this non-gesturing very small but compulsive, it a slight human reaction that yet very powerful to the eyes of viewer. The actor and actress would have to practice and practice till Wall achieved the most precise moments.

Garry Winogrand, who mingle with the crowed and “genius capture off-balance moment.” “His subject’s unawareness of the photography is merely one index of more global state of mind.” “He stood directly in their paths and shot at fairly closed range yet he seems to have done this so quickly and unobtrusively as to forestall all sense of posing on the part of his subjects,” by the time they notice he will be almost finish. Winogrand street-capture were to play with shape and culture of the typical times in early 70’s in NYC, he the true street photographer as his subject can be found on the path walk of NYC avenues.

Unlike Philip Lorca-di Corcia, who is more observes in everyday life, he believe that there “no such things as snap-shot,” while Wall said, “many street photographer manage to snap these very moment.” P.L illuminated his subjects with harsh flashlight, “absorptive ideal of subject’s obliviousness” of his brother “hungry-self.” There thought and dedication with each of his photography, they were recreation of the real moment with exposed hidden means. This adjust lights lit the contents of his subject that seem to be banal and ordinary to be something to be interest of.

Therefore even Wall and P.L may not agree on some certain statements, but their works reflected sociality and the underestimated of human’s gesture power.



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Re: Photography After Modernism -

Post  tempuraa on Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:15 am

For Jeff Wall, I also like his style of photography that "The action of the picture consists in a gesture" and I like his thoughts that it's hard to wait for the precise and great moment
to take one great picture, and he think the gestures can communicate the feelings or emotions though the picture. For example of Mimic picture, 1982 by Jeff wall. A bearded man making a gesture as pulling up his eyelip and raise his finger up to the corner of his eye so as to mock the slanted eyes to the Asian man. This picture involved with the social problem also.

In my view of Jeff Wall, I really like the way that he can see the important of the moment, feeling, and the composition of the picture. As the example above, it's the moment that happen so quickly that most people don't aware or think about it, but he does see this point. Otherwises, the way he used people to act like the daily moment can gives photographer have the pictures exactly that want it to be. If they want a picture of a girl sitting under the tree, they can let the model act like that also.

For Philip-Lorca, I like the word "The subject of picture is utterly ordinary but the photograph was carefully planned" like in the picture that he took a picture of a man in front of the refrigerator by installed a camera on a tripod and he hide an electronic flash inside the refrigerater. As we see from this picture, we can see that Philip focus on the light that not come from nature. He also take a picture in short distance and play with the light. He still stand on his point even some people said setting up flash is not give true feeling.

In my view, I think his process and method of taking picture is very cool and become important in nowadays. The way he use the technique of light from electronic flash is very success and give a different tone apart from natural light. I think there are many benefits of using flash because when we experiment the flash, we can determind or control the tone of colors by ourselves.

For comparisons of two photographers, Jeff Wall and Philip-Lorca, they both quite same style of picture that taking of daily things, or the happen around us. The different is only process and the way to communicate though their pictures. Jeff Wall's method might useful and great when the photographers want the real tone by nature, or the tone that quite focus by real light. In the other hands, Philip-Lorca's method is quite interest and useful when photographers want the pictures look more detail and the photo that hard to control the light.
So, we can see that the two of photographers have their own style, and each style is very useful in different situations and different purpose. No one is better than the others because it's depend on the person.

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Re: Photography After Modernism -

Post  anniet on Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:06 pm

I do agree with Tem that both photographers are vey interesting. They both, Jeff Wall and Philip-Lorca, have the same interested but the technique are the one that present who they are.

Jeff Wall is a photographer who was not “being by not photographing”. It is quite surprise that he interested in human gesture and it starts to become his main subject for his whole career. “I am not necessarily interested in different subject of art, but I am interested in different types of pictures” He said. He sets up the scene for his model to act what he thinks that is missing at the particular time. In the other word he tried to present the important moment that everyone of us forget or miss it. He basically “concern with antitheatrical values goes back earlier, as if that picture is ideally to be understood as making visible, hence accessible to analysis, a distinctly modern kind of micro-gesture that in crucial respects would otherwise escape sustained attention”. The emotion, feeling and gesture that he sets is still remain the sense of human’s natural. As he said “in my pictures, there is a lot of non-gesturing, or very small, compulsive gesturing, what i call ‘micro-gesture’”. The light that he using is natural light. This is because he wants to make his photos look more natural as possible. “The conspicuousness of the light box apparatus, together with the more or less self-evident stagedness.”

Philip-Lorca is another photographer that use human gesture as his subject. However, the way he present his work is different from Jeff Wall. Opposite to Jeff Wall, Philip-Lorca shoot at the realtime but apart from setting people he sets the light instead. “The way he use the technique of light from electronic flash is very success and give a different tone apart from natural light.”, quoted from Tem, I do think that what Philip-Lorca did with his technique is very personal, as he likes experimenting with light and the result is very successful. “

In conclusion, both photographers are using the same subject but not the techniques. I think it is the uniqueness for both of them and make they become successful in their career and inspired other new generation of photographers in the future.

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Re: Photography After Modernism -

Post  warut lek on Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:07 pm

According to VrTech's statement "In point of viewer, You may think of a random people capturing around footpath like what we do nowadays. Without knowing content, this is very absurd for all normal people because all people think all the same which is can be easily capture this kind of photo everywhere." I'm kind of disagree that this kind of photograph has no content. It has its own content that has small points as Jeff Wall said "There is a lot of non-gesturing, or very small, compulsive gesturing, what I call 'micro-gesture'." Like his photo, Mimic. if we look only overall of this photo, we will see only 3 people are walking toward camera but its content is their actions in micro-gesture. Jeff Wall's photo is not randomly taking people along the street like Garry Winogrand but He set it up with actors. His photo looks like it's randomly capturing but it's really hard to capture the gesture of people who walk around the street doing something like that. Wall said "I thought of it happening so quickly that nobody in the picture is really aware of it" and "I don't think it's accidental; it's determined by the social totality, but it has to come out of an individual body." I like Jeff Wall's style that he tried to express these tiny movement of human through photo. He made a photo that looks like normal photo but full of narrative with a little change on a person.

According to Dolhathai's statement "There are thought and dedication with each of his photography, they were recreation of the real moment with exposed hidden means. This adjust lights lit the contents of his subject that seem to be banal and ordinary to be something to be interest of." About Philip's photo I think this statement supports "The inexorable description of the static tableau is a psychological vise that tightens our attention on the unexplained drama. Looking at a man searching for a snack, we see a man confronting his failures and longings." His style of photo is like Winnogrand's that it's like a snapshot but with set-up scene and additional lighting. the expression of micro-gesture like Jeff Wall is also in his Phillip's photo but it's emphasized by his lighting technique. The different from Jeff Wall and Garry Winogrand is he had only one person that being photographed. It's kind of mistake that Mario in second photo in year 1978 was unaware the camera that was photographing in front of him.

Jeff Wall and Phillip-Lorca diCorcia were in the same style that trying to convince the audiences to believe their photos is happened in reality and feel like easy to find this kind of moment. They used different technique but still has the same message in their photos.

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Re: Photography After Modernism -

Post  giff.tizzada on Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:25 pm

I agree with ann's statement that “the way Philip-Lorca present his work is different from Jeff Wall. Opposite to Jeff Wall, Philip-Lorca shoot at the realtime but apart from setting people he sets the light instead.”

As jeff wall said “ there is a lot of non gesturing, or very small compulsive gesturing, what i call ‘ micro-gesture’ ” which is the gesture that happening so quickly that nobody in the picture is really aware of it. it is not accidental but it’s determined by the social totality. For example in his works ‘mimic’ the picture of a young asian and a young Caucasian man who holds the holds the hand of a young caucasian women who are walking along the street. the action of the picture show that gesture in which the Caucasian man raises a finger to the corner of his eye as to mock the slanted eyes of the asian man. Every action looks a fleeting moment in a more complex narrative. The viewer can realize that the picture want to show the segregatioin between them. Before taking this photo, wall need to set the scene of actor and actress. they should be practice feeling and taking photos many times until Wall achieveD the most precise moment with the best micro-gesture.

Back into the 1960s when Garry Winogrand became famous in street photography. he added his own copious oeuvre to the street photography tradition by captured persons unaware of being phtographed. as as jeffrey Fraenkel said “ if someone perceived that he was being photograped, Garry by that time would almost always be finished. When they noticed, his demeaner was such that his subject rarely felt ill-used” it’s showed that he bagan the style of the true street photography.

Another talented street photography Philip-Lorca diCorcia who began to discover his personal artistic voice and his distinctive photographic method. He can transforms the prosaic incident into an enigma by the light that can see in his work ‘Mario’. Mario is a candid photograph. that is one taken without the sitter being aware of the photographer. In action picture, Mario stands in the center of composition and sideways to the picture-plane as he gaze into a refrigerator. diCorcia use light techinque for taking this photo by use the lighting from an electronic flash which was hidden in the refrigerator to make a light hit to Mario’s face to make it stand out. He trys many ways to adjust the lighting and also made several Polaroid test shots with different leveled camera to see the visioned result. it was showed that diCorcia is really give important about a system of flash-lights.

In conclusion,even wall and diCorcia use the different personal style to create street photography but they also have the same thing is they also need to set the scenes before taking any photographs which is called a staged photography.


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Photography After Modernism -

Post  atom on Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:46 am

“I am not interested in different subjects in art but I am interested in different types of picture.” I like the style of Jeff Wall that "The action of the picture consists in a gesture" Many of Jeff Wall’s images are staged and refer to the history of art. Jeff Wall’s works look like cinematography because he created his works by arranging many actors, and objects on location and then continued to shoot at scene. My favorite image is “A Sudden Gust of the Wind” based on a famous Hokusai print. This image amazed me because I wanted to know how Jeff Wall could capture a sense of frozen time while at the same time faithfully recreating the composition of Hokusai. Also, Jeff Wall’s image shows three-dimensional space and the relationship of the plane and contains the illusion of deep space. “A Sudden Gust of the Wind” looks like such a spontaneous shot.

According to the quote that Varapong picked  “In my discussion of Jeff Wall's work in Chapter One, I called attention to an internal division in his art. On the one hand, starting in the early 1990s, he has often depicted absorbed persons, and more broadly has devised scenes that in one way or another may be seen as seeking an antitheatical relation of viewer. On the other, the conspicuousness of the light box apparatus, together with the more or less self-evident stagedness of many his images..." I like the style of Jeff wall as his images shows many things for example the history, social interaction, Conceptual Art  and also visual perception by using huge size and light boxes. His large-scale format as well as his use of light boxes is very unique his images are as high as the human body because he used the principles of design such as scale and proportion from his images. The images show the relationship between the objects and the space within the frame. Many of his photographs' compositions are referred to historical artists like Velázquez, Hokusai, and Édouard Manet. In my opinion Jeff Wall’s works are successful because he can build all of his images effectively especially cinematography to create his concept. I love his ideas because he can create spontaneous and imaginative shots at the same time.

On the other hand, Philip Lorca-diCorcia’s images are also involve with cinematic production he has explored the intersection of documentary style the images are blending between a documentary mode with techniques of staged photography.  
“The way he use the technique of light from electronic flash is very success and give a different tone apart from natural light” quoted from Tem. He set up a system of flash-lights in the street and then stood several feet away, hidden from the view. Philip-Lorca diCorcia's photographs of crowded city streets of everyday he captures anonymous, unintentional of their facial expressions, body positions as they move. His lights created an effect on those who passed through them, when he captured it appeared just like those people have been selected from the crowd.

However, both Jeff Wall and Philip Lorca-diCorcia’s images are representative of the modern world. They both have carefully created staged and conceptual photographs with complicated productions.


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Re: Photography After Modernism -

Post  OhBigz on Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:44 am

According to Varapong’s post "In point of viewer, you may think of a random people capturing around footpath like what we do nowadays. Without knowing content, this is very absurd for all normal people because all people think all the same which is can be easily capture this kind of photo everywhere."Philip Lorca-diCorcia’s did not limit his subjects to his nearby surroundings, but rather traveled around the world making his series of photographs from everywhere.

“The way he use the technique of light from electronic flash is very success and give a different tone apart from natural light.”, quoted from Tem I think his technique of light is very unique for example he had hidden flashes in place, when flashes go off therefore the subject is captured and the photograph made. Philip Lorca-diCorcia has created a signature style through the use of highly dramatic, cinematic lighting and carefully composed photographs.


“The relation of mimic to the convention of traditional street photography”. Jeff Wall’s Mimic appears to be a documentary photograph. It appears to have caught a moment of petty racism. He staged the whole thing using actors, and filmed with a camera. Then he took a whole series and selected the one that best fitted his purpose. He wanted to create a piece of social art and it makes me think a lot about the roles and uses of photography.Hiss photographs are often carefully staged like scenes in a film with full control of all details. The formal elements of his images always show many planes, lines, color transparencies mounted in light boxes, and organic shapes. Jeff Wall is also and icon of modern photography. His works combine photography, film and painting. Some of his images appear completely spectacular.

Quoted from Natthaya “My favorite image is “A Sudden Gust of the Wind” based on a famous Hokusai print. This image amazed me because I wanted to know how Jeff Wall could capture a sense of frozen time while at the same faithfully recreating the composition of Hokusai.” I also like “A Sudden Gust of the Wind” I think the image gives a sense of life with nice lighting and interesting composition. This image captures a moment that cannot be recreated. There is a strong sense of flow and balance within this shot. It makes me feel like I was moving with the wind that is flowing through the photo.


Jeff Wall and Philip Lorca-diCorci are both inspiring photographers they have different styles and techniques. As I looked through their works it made me feel that the art of photography is very impressive and interesting.


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Re: Photography After Modernism -

Post  golfcommde on Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:48 pm

Jeff Wall’s Mimic is a really deep and interesting piece of photography. This photograph is a “staged” street photograph that looks quite natural as if being shot randomly on the street. I agree with VrTech that his way of creating photography is by staging people as if they’re in their daily lives doing what they normally do. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what Mimic was trying to capture until I read the description from the book; it is true that if I didn’t understand the concept it would be really hard to get what Wall was trying to do. It is, in fact, probably the purpose and the objective of the photographer himself as well, according to this quote “more often than not, the persons in such pictures appear unaware of being photographed”.

It is amazing how just a random picture, Mimic, can transcend into way deeper meaning that just a Caucasian mimicking an Asian and his physical appearance; it symbolizes non-acceptance of foreigners. The “micro-gestures” referred to by Wall himself confirms that these small gestures are planned in his photograph to result in a what seem to be accidental shot.

I agree with giff.tizzada that “Mario” is a candid photograph. And I think that can be said with Jeff Walls’ Mimic as well. These types of photograph are open and yet none of the persons in the photograph seem to notice the photographer. Once again, the same concept with Jeff Wall is presented, the photograph seems “utterly ordinary” but at the same time “classically composed”. “Mario” seems very ordinary, an old man opens the refrigerator in a dark room, looks inside, the viewers can only imagine what he is looking at or looking for.

It is stated in the text that, diCorcia commented, “the street does not induce people to shed their self-awareness. They seem to withdraw into themselves. They become less aware of their surroundings, seemingly lost in themselves.” This is certainly true as can be seen from his different photographs, from Mario both the first and the second one, and Igor. All persons in the pictures seem as if they’re all in a world of their own caring less about the surroundings. This fits with the quote that says “this goes beyond saying that one’s interiority is not perceivable on the surface”. Not everything is perceived as seen, sometimes there’s a little more to everything. For me, I think that “New York” is the picture that fits this description the most. The man, the preacher, feels careless towards the world outside.

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Re: Photography After Modernism -

Post  onwaraj on Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:48 am

I agreed with the statement that Ann points out, “the way Philip-Lorca present his work is different from Jeff Wall. Opposite to Jeff Wall, Philip-Lorca shoot at the realtime but apart from setting people he sets the light instead.” It's very clear that although both were into the 'staged' photography, they still have different style of setting up the elements

Jeff Wall photography style is very interesting, I didn't expect that it was set up, because he made it looks very street like. It could just be a candid shot during a walk. But instead what Wall did was setting up a scene, casts, and content. This kind of 'staged' photography by Wall is even more interesting with the 'micro gesture'. From his interview he said '' In my pictures, there is a lot of non-gesturing, or very small, compulsive gesturing, what I call 'micro-gesture' and 'In my dramatization of it for myself, I thought of it happening so quickly that nobody in the picture is really aware of it. This kind of micro-gesture that happened in the picture is very helpful, in order to enhance the mood and message behind it.

To compare with Garry Winogrand street photography style, Wall's pictures are more staged and rehearsed, seems like it had been over taken again and again. But Garry Winogrand pictures are truly candid, without the subject knowing, the result seems to be unpredicted but well thought. Jeffrey Fraenkel said that ''If someone perceived that he or she was being photographed, Garry by that time would almost always be finished''.

Phillip-Lorca diCorcia, another street photographer that employed light very well. His 'Mario' that was photographed in the kitchen, with his brother as the subject in the middle of the frame, and an open refrigerator, looks almost like a candid. But seems like with the helps of the hidden flash inside the fridge, the picture looks more …. As wrote by Andy Grundberg, ''Electronic flash illumination provides the unexpected shadows as well as unexpected highlights'', which I really agree on.

What I found really impressive is his technique, at first when I saw his work I didn't expect it to be a candid, I thought the subject was set up, but yet I didn't pay attention to the light that much so I thought it was all natural light. But from the text, it seems like his style is very unique (at least in my opinion), the way he hid the flash, wait for the right moment and right subject, press the shutter and the mood of the photo. Apart from that I like the fact that street photography is a caption of the unawareness of the subject and unexpected outcome.


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In my opinion

Post  parn.penpayap on Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:29 am

From VrTech’s opinion “How Jeff Wall created photography by using people to act like they were there in daily life, because if you not understand the content about his concept, you cannot easily understand what he does”. I disagree with this statement because I found that his work could be understand easily even the audiences didn’t know about the concept before. By using street photography style allow people to understand the content easily. I think it doesn’t matter how it was taken either set up scene or spontanous scene as long as it convey the message. In my opinion, I think that Wall’s working process is very interesting. The way he choose to set things up, cast all the people but the out come doesn’t look like it was set up but it look like something very common instead. This way, it allow to think and curious that is it really set up or he just accidentally capture this scene. It’s even make the photo become more attractive and mystery. Wall said "I thought of it happening so quickly that nobody in the picture is really aware of it" and "I don't think it's accidental; it's determined by the social totality, but it has to come out of an individual body." I was impress with his attitude that he like to capture and communicate this tiny movement of human through his work.

On the other hand, Philip’s working process was slightly different from Wall’s. "The subject of picture is utterly ordinary but the photograph was carefully planned”. He set all the light on the street to be ready for the right moment to capture. I think this one of the interesting way to make the work become attractive. All the object and action that was happened in the photo were spontanous but the only thing that was set up is the light. This way he get the unexpected scene with the best light condition.

In conclusion, even Jeff Wall and Philip-lorca diCorcia have different approach but the both have the same intention which is try to convince the viewer to believe in their photos and feel like this kind of moment they set up was so easy to find in everyday life. They both have their own unique style of communication.

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