Friday, November 28, 2008

Images on my mind...

I've encountered a few images in recent weeks that have 'stuck' and need some text to lighten my mind.

The first is Thomas Eakins's Students at the "The Swimming Hole" which I saw in the documentary Black White + Gray.

This film filled a few gaps in a relationship between Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe that was explored by Patricia Morrisroe's book from 1995. Whilst I'm not that much of a fan of Mapplethorpe's work anymore, I still found the dynamics in their pairing very interesting and exploitive.

What is interesting about Eakin's image - a study for a painting - is the idea of a planned snapshot. This Albumen print from 1884 required a prolonged exposure time (anything from 5 to 15 minutes) so the casual poses or actions of the participants are in fact carefully composed and very much static.

The second image was a production still from Rear Window that appears in Aperture 192. The article discusses the image on page 53 and the various manipulated aspects therein.

I found the subtle - yet equally manipulated - image on page 52 more striking, in particular the reflection in the binocular glass. There are other stills from the same film where this is very overt but the image shown is much more covert.

The article discusses the lack of photographic truth in the film's interpretation of photography itself yet still raises other interesting points.

Whilst searching for the image I happened across a Vanity Fair project from February that recreated various stills with contemporary players - some more successfully than others. I particularly like the - deliberate? - distortion of the actors scale on occassion.

The last was a series of images - also in Aperture 192 - from Claudia Angelmaier. A sample of her work is on Galerie Kleindienst.

For those who can read German, there is an interesting piece on Leipziger Internet Zeitung.. The Hase work is very striking.

Her work speaks a lot to issues that the isolated encounter when it comes to the experiential. When we are hostage - through geographic, social or other constraints - to mechanical reproduction and the frame that the outlet provides, interpretation of that which surrounds us is very much compromised.

I would often have to disclaim - when people looked at me in disdain as I store blankly at the mention of this or that film - that how could we (in New Zealand) see/hear/experience that when the outlets weren't there to access.

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