photography after modernism

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photography after modernism

Post  fern on Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:09 am

I disagree with New's comment earlier about understanding the content and concept in Jeff Wall's photographs. The way he uses the setting, and the characters in the images tells a lot already about what he tries to imply. Moreover, the position of the characters, and the gestures, define who they are, what they were thinking, and what was going on in the photographs.For instance, in the picture “Mimic”, the proximity of the characters gives us a clue of who they might be, two people holding hands, one person(foreigner) walking nearby; a love couple and a stranger.

It is pretty impressive that “Mimic” was a staged-photograph. Jeff Wall sets these people up, imitating a real life situation on the street.
“There is a lot of non-gesturing, or very small, compulsive gesturing, what i call micro-gesture” Wall said. “In my dramatization of it for myself, I thought of it happening so quickly that nobody in the picture is really aware of it.”
Two people were holding hands, one turned towards the asian, raising a finger to the corner of his eyes so to make fun of his slanted eyes.These tiny little details make the picture look more like it was shot accidentally, as well as giving a deeper understanding of the message. It portrays a non-acceptance of foreigners, reflecting Wall's social interpretation of the modern world.

Phillip-Lorca diCorcia, another street photographer did something similar. But instead of setting up the characters in the image, diCorcia focuses more on the light. He set up the scene the way he wanted his photograph to look, experimented with the position of the camera and light, and tested with several polaroid shots before he actually began shooting.

One of his most famous photographs was the series of “Mario” where diCorcia used his brother as the subject. Though the subject of the image was as simple as a kitchen scene with a man looking into the refrigerator, diCorcia managed to have composed it amazingly. Ironically, a normal kitchen scene was turned into something extraordinary. As stated in the text “Looking at a man searching for a snack, we see a man confronting his failures and longings”


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