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I have to take 6 pics that all deal with theoritical issues. please help...

what is post-modernism?

thank you!! rebeca

-- rebeca paz (classicmovers123@aol.com), May 22, 2002


Look at the works of Edward Weston, Man Ray, Hockney for starters...

Also look at artists like Feitelsohn, Lichtenstein and Rauschenberg...from their work you may make a comparative analysis with photography..

-- Per Volquartz (volquartz@volquartz.com), May 22, 2002.

Hi Rebecca. The post-modernism movement is based on the unfortunate belief that the most important purpose of art is to deal with theoretical intellectual issues. So, following in the footsteps of the post-modernist painters, post-modernist photographers take un-creative badly-composed, crappy-looking photographs of mundane subjects, and print them with tricky edge effects and other gimmicks (such as enormous size and cutesy frames) to hide their pathetic lack of substance, and then stand around in their hip haircuts and black turtlenecks waxing eloquent about all the grand intellectual theoretical issues that their great works supposedly raise.

And, if you ever make the fatal mistake of admitting that you don't "get it", you're instantly relegated to the masses of lower beings who aren't smart enough to understand real "art." What a sad state of affairs! I've personally never seen a post-modernist photo that I'd hang on my wall if it were free.

What this movement misses is the tremendous capacity for art to carry an intuitive message that speaks to our spirit on a primal level which cannot be reduced to bland intellectual concepts. Just think of Bach's fugues, and think of how silly it would be to sit around and talk about the theoretical issues they raise. To anyone willing to show up with their soul, the meaning of Bach's fugues is obvious and profound, and no amount of intellectual discussion would ever convey their meaning to someone who didn't get it directly from the music. That's what all of great art was about for 4000 years or so, until the modernists showed up and turned art into a self-aggrandizing sales pitch based on intellectual intimidation. Happily, that movement finally seems to be coming to a close (for some wonderful articles on this, check out http://www.artrenewal.org/).

So my recommendation for your theoretical studies assignment would be to go out and take six richly beautiful photographs. This will take a lot of creativity, really hard work and dedication, perseverance through many false starts and failures along the way, and personal sacrifice and introspection--things the post-modernists know nothing about; they would prefer to frame a piece of feces and call it a "photograph" and discuss all the theoretical issues it raises. Then, print your photos with technical competence and virtuosity and write a short essay to the effect that the meaning in these photos is not contained in any accompanying words and theories, but rather it's right there in the photos, available to anyone willing to show up and sit through them.


~chris jordan (Seattle)


-- chris jordan (cjordan@yarmuth.com), May 22, 2002.

to understand what post-modernism is first you need to really understand what modernism is, to put it simply (very simply) modernism is about purity, see the writtings of clement greenberg. Post modernism takes in modernist theory and adds history and an anything goes nothing is better than anything else attitude. Check out a book called post-modern currents, I can't remember the author off hand, also some good pomo info can be seen in arthur dantos' book on mark tansey called vision and revision, and lynn gumpert's book on christian boltanski, also look for a book called the rebirth of painting. Theory can be art if done correctly look at joeseph kutsuth work from the early 60's piecees like one and three chairs. If you have pictures that deal with theoritical issues they may or may not be pomo.

-- doug (doug@ajedna.com), May 22, 2002.

Chris Jordan (Seattle) has hit the targer...dead center. Nice work Chris. Perhaps the original question, is a reflection on why most loarge format landscape photography is so damned boring! Landscape photographers would do well to study some of the work, and meaning, of the images of W.Eugene Smith, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, and others....and attempt to transfer some of that energy and meaning to their work....in landscape photography. Great photographs are MADE...not taken. Richard Boulware - Denver.

-- Richard Boulware (boulware-den@att.net), May 22, 2002.

Narrative and storytelling are a big part of postmodernism. This would fit in well with your assignment of six photographs. Read this short book: Jean-Fracois Lyotard, The PostModern Condition, University of Minnesota Press, 1979. Do a google search: Lyotard Post-Modernism. Take a quick look at: http://www.stevedenning.com/postmodern.html

-- Donald Brewster (dpbrewster@prodigy.net), May 22, 2002.

Oh no - not Pomophobia again...

I think the reason so much "rocks, lakes and trees" landscape photography is boring is because it has never moved beyond a certain pictorialist/classical/romantic outlook. Give me the visual challenge of Lynn Cohen or Gabriele Basillico or the Beckers any day.

-- tim atherton (tim@kairosphoto.com), May 22, 2002.

Tim, your comment is interesting-- it suggests that all there is out there is pomo and calendar landscapes. I think there's a lot inbetween. I wouldn't have considered the Bechers to be pomo artists, any more than Kenna, Misrach, or Andreas Gursky. Those are my favorite photographers, working in what I consider to be the aesthetic tradition of photography while doing work that is relevant and contemporary and personal. When I think of pomo I think of photographers like Cindy Sherman and Robert Heinecken (who never owned a camera), whose work is all about fiddling with the medium instead of producing images with depth and substance. Maybe I don't know enough about pomo though; I'd welcome your thoughts.


-- chris jordan (cjordan@yarmuth.com), May 22, 2002.

Do you start with an image or an idea? Much "graduate school photography" I can only describe as ideas in seach of an image. I still believe the best art of all kinds comes from being immersed in one's medium-light and shade, color, texture, shapes, division of space-if that is done honestly, elucidation and illumination will follow. If the former fits the post-modernist shoes, let them klop around in them. Thanks, Rebeca, for starting a great discussion. We all have artists we like. A good exercise might be sitting down and explaining why we DON'T like someone. But with the best photography, one needn't say a word-or explain it to others. Good job, Chris, in exposing the opposite.

-- David Stein (DFStein@aol.com), May 23, 2002.

Just a post script. I had an exhibition years ago. One peice was of a chunk of snow and ice, taken on a frozen salt marsh. My aunt, who I dearly love, but has absolutly no artistic perception, at least none that I could see, said that the photograph reminded her of a HUGE PIECE of lemon merangue pie! Now the form of the ice is triangular, the configuration of a piece of pie, and I LOVE LEMON MERANGUE PIE! (any correlation to Weston's peppers, did he enjoy stuffed peppers?)

The morals of the story, when contemplating modernism, the meaning of art, remember to have a good meal and good drink before hand.

-- Rob Pietri (light@narrationsinlight.com), May 23, 2002.

"I wouldn't have considered the Bechers to be pomo artists, any more than Kenna, Misrach, or Andreas Gursky."

I'm with you there, Chris, if you substitute Thomas Struth for Gursky. Gursky's digital manipulation is just so heavy-handed, deleting and adding major portions of the subject for the sake of emphasizing the idea he's trying to convey, that I think of him (like Cindy Sherman) as more of a pomo artist who chooses to use a camera than as a photographer recording a real-world reality in the pre-postmodernist sense of the term (ala Bechers, Kenna, etc.).

Interesting discussion!


-- Terry (tcdvorak@aol.com), May 23, 2002.

I guess it depends where you are coming from - my direction being more from architecture rather than the plastic arts and painting. In that sense I really see the Struthsky's, Basilico, Bechers etc (Possibly Misrach, but not Kenna - he's a Romantic) to be much more post "Learning from Las Vegas" than Corbusier. In architecture, pomo tends to have a slightly different meaning than in "art".

But then I also believe that photography has only a tenuous link to painting and drawing and is much more closely linked to poetry and possibly architecture (especially with it's combination of technical and aesthetic).

So it's probably more to do with perspective

-- Tim Atherton (tim@KairosPhoto.com), May 23, 2002.

people like Chris Jordan are a deterrent to the evolving of art . How can you be so sure that only your view of "how and in what direction photography should evolve" is the right one?

Why don't you put some of your bitterness and anger in your work?

-- domenico (applethorpe@earthlink.net), May 24, 2002.

Relevant to critique of Post-Modernism: Quote from Sir Herbert read, eminent Art Historian; "Art is about feelings. If one has ideas to express, the proper medium is language."

-- Michael A. Smith (michaelandpaula@michaelandpaula.com), May 24, 2002.

I'd have more truck with post-modernism if the title itself weren't an oxymoron that shows utter contempt for, or total ignorance of, language and semantics.
I think this is at the very heart of the controversy. Are these guys deliberately challenging the very fabric of convention, or just talentless twats who are so egotistical that they think they're the only ones on earth to have discovered that life is trivial/short/brutal/ironic/whatever? Who knows? The work itself usually does nothing to enlighten anyone.
Until the proponents of this movement become literate and articulate enough to express their ideas clearly, in purely visual terms, and without some art-theory self-appointed guru printing a thesis beside every work, then the whole movement deserves all the contempt that it gets.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), May 24, 2002.

The site Chris cited crashed my computer, but before it did, I saw enough to be sure that while I agree with some of his points, I'm sure not in agreement with him about what constitutes "good art." In fact, if it's narrative and storytelling that characterizes postmodern art, then the stuff at that site should fit perfectly, along with 19th century art photography that tried to replicate pre-Raphaelite painting. The main difference I see between any of the above and postmodern art is that the earlier work is marked by sentimentality and the more recent by irony, detachment and cynicism, which are the opposite side of the same coin and equally inimical to the creation of meaningful and lasting art, in my opinion. I wish I could remember where I read it and who said it, but in the last few days I've read a quote something to this effect: "Remember, postmodern art is the first postaudience art."

Also there was an interesting piece in the New Yorker a few weeks ago about the studio art department at Harvard, which suggested that art departments are starting to rethink their theory-laden programs and lean more toward studio programs.

-- Katharine Thayer (kthayer@pacifier.com), May 24, 2002.

Post-Modernist theory, although it originated as an architectural movement, was meant to be a criticism of the dominant 'paradigm' of Modernism. The way we think about photography and art is a product of Modernism, we look to the painting, photograph, what-ever as a piece of ‘truth’ which is expressed by an individual. PoMo theory would suggest that there is much more expressed than an individual’s take on the world.

I wonder how much PoMo theories have changed the way we think about art and photography; do we still believe (or did photographers ever believe) that a photograph is 'the truth'? I am hardly a Post-Modernist, but I think that to simply reject PoMo theory or art is a mistake, there are some insights offered by PoMo theory--perhaps even by photographers and artists-- which, IMHO, are useful and quite reasonable. Roland Barthes’ book (ok, he is actually a Post-Structuralist) Mythologies (1972) is a great place to begin.

-- jason (sanford@temple.edu), May 24, 2002.

It took a little searching on my part to find out that "pomo" is short for "postmodernism." I was wondering what this had to do with a tribe of native Americans.

Coming from a poor white trash perspective (yes, my truck IS bigger than your Volvo), a lot of it looks like "the emperor is butt-nekked and there's a dog humping his leg." Most of the argument for it looks to me like a bunch of ad copy for crappy products.

From the Merriam-Webster dictionary, modernism: "3 : modern artistic or literary philosophy and practice; especially : a self-conscious break with the past and a search for new forms of expression"

Now if we prefix "post-" to it, that would mean that the search for new forms of expression is over. Looks like they haven't found anything of value, and have wound up face down in the ditch.

The "rocks, lakes, trees" bunch are also post-modern, having skipped modernism altogether. While their product is derided because it graces calendars, it IS there BECAUSE it's worth looking at for a whole month at a time by a large mass of people.

Now then, Rebeca, as to what you might photograph: How about taking concepts such as truth, beauty, honesty, love, virtue, and integrity, and showing how they AREN'T found in postmodernism?

-- Brian C. Miller (brian.c.miller@gte.net), May 24, 2002.

When 42nd Street was waiting to be turned into Giuliani's Disneyland, there was a cinema marquee displaying 'Art is either revolution or plagiarism'. Think about it. By the way, the Seattle photographer who posted this really funny message, might also be a little open to the suggestion that beautiful, decorative images have their own role, which need not be 'art'. Most photographers are not artists, in particular many LF ones, who pick other people's brains about 'good locations' to make the so-manieth shot of that rock or what have you...

-- Marcus Leonard (marcusleonard@yahoo.com), May 24, 2002.

The problem I've always had was that po mo seemed (to me) as just a game to see who is more clever or more strange. I've seen some "stuff" that to me was just junk, and had several paragraphs of more "junk" that tried to explain how good or important the picture is... usually with lots of five dollar words and obscure references to other five dollar words. I got the feeling that the "artist" was just trying to convince us that he is smarter than we are. If a photo can't sell itself on its own merits without pages of "newspeak", then it's crap.

-- Steve Gangi (sgangi@hotmail.com), May 24, 2002.

Respectfully, Steve, 'on its own merit' does not exist. It is always the viewer's choice.

-- Marcus Leonard (marcusleonard@yahoo.com), May 24, 2002.

the fallacious concept that "art is either revolution or plagarism" is the tragic core of the modern and post-modern movements. art students are taught today that to create "real" art, you have to completely redefine your medium with each piece.

In fact, art history teaches that every great work of art, music and literature has been influenced by what came before it. for example, many people consider Bach to be the greatest artist who has yet lived, but by current postmodern standards his pieces would have been scorned as highly derivative of those of Vivaldi and the whole Baroque movement that had been going on for quite some time before Bach. Bach didn't re-invent anything--he worked within the structure of his time and applied his genius in a way that raised the bar slightly on everything that had come before him. So with Shapespeare, who worked within the poetic structure of his time (iambic pentameter). Until postmodernism, that's all any artist aspired to.

That's not to say that great works of art are COPIES of preview works; the concept of copying (plagarism) is vastly different from working within a tradition and accepting--welcoming--influences by other artists. Otherwise, by rejecting all influences and craft as being "plagarism,", one is stuck trying to create a revolution, with no tools that are considered legitimate (because to use them would be copying others), no craft that is accepted as legitmate (for the same reason), and no aesthetic standards (for the same reason). The result of this is that the post-modern artist is forced into a state of primitivism. And hence, by no surprise, the product sucks.

David, your comments were wonderful-- I'll carry a couple of your nuggest around with me to pull out at just the right moment.

and, hey domenico, i'm most definitely NOT sure that my view is the right one; it's just my own opinion, which is always open to change based on well-considered discussion. how about you-- do you have any opinions or well-considered comments, or are you satisifed with random sniping at the opinions of others? your approach to date appears most un-european; i know you can do better.

now i think i'll go have a piece of lemon meringue pie while i don my asbestos jacket...


-- chris jordan (cjordan@yarmuth.com), May 24, 2002.

It is no wonder that the rise and influence of pomo in photography parallels that of television and now the internet. The public has less attention span and less time to interpret images. the way you get the attention is to produce shocking, in your face sensationalist images. Nothing is about substance and content anymore. Once you get past the facade of many of these images there is nothing there. They are souless attempts at attracting eyeballs and appealling to the lowest common denominator.

The popularity of these images as evidenced by their predominance in many galleries and due to the fact that most of the buying public s wants that same shock value on their walls to show others and pretend they have some knowledge about photography.

I have seen pomo work at galleries in Chicago and New York, and I don't remember any that I would want to return to ever see again, let alone hang on my wall to see everyday.

Most of the work is so pretentious it screams, "it's all about me!" And just in case you can't figure that out, there is always a essay or piece by the photographer that explains how bad his life sucks or how much of a victim he is etc.

Of course there may be a few good ones out there. But IMHO most of it is simply the work of people who are to lazy to learn another medium, to lazy to understand and appreciate the history and foundations of art, and especially to lazy to learn how to use a camera.

-- James Chinn (JChinn2@dellepro.com), May 24, 2002.

Did someone wonder why I was amused at the propect of a POMOphobia discussion on here? well:

> If a photo can't sell itself on its own merits without pages > of "newspeak", then it's crap.

It was because of this kind of totally unconstructive knee-jerk response which comes up every time (funilly enough it nearly always includes the use of the word "crap" - as has been amply demonstrated in this thread).

Probably down to a phobia or fear of something unknown or incomprehensible to the individual. But, to dismiss work as "crap" just because you don't or can't get it - it's just laziness really.

I'm enjoying the constructive discussion, but if we just want to throw the term crap around - hey, lets look at some Adams stuff or maybe Kenna or whoever...! Wow, that's sure easy to do - end of discussion. you can't argue with that statement now, can you.

Okay - just kidding about the latter two.

-- Tim Atherton (tim@KairosPhoto.com), May 24, 2002.

hey Rebeca, what are your thoughts/reactions so far?

-- chris jordan (cjordan@yarmuth.com), May 24, 2002.

"3 : modern artistic or literary philosophy and practice; especially : a self-conscious break with the past and a search for new forms of expression" .....That includes any and everybody who decides to take up photography or the Arts or whatever. Everybody beleives they can be a little different and somehow bring a new wrinkle to the party.

Picasso or whoever the hell it was said that 'everybody steals, it's just that some people disquise it better than others', there is no art that is brand new or totally different, it's all connected.

I admire Shakespeare as a playwright, but nobody talks that much during lovemaking.

All this macaroni about classifications, the only classification that means anything is whether it's good or lousy, regardless of whether it's Classical, Jazz, Pop, Pictorialism, or the abrasion process.

A 'Blank Canvas' and flicking splatters of paint onto a large canvas spread out onto the floor is not Art. One has nothing in it, and the other has absolutely no frame of reference, a lot of people produce stuff, they don't have any more of an idea of what it is than whoever's looking at it, unlike the best abstract Art which always had something you could latch onto.

-- Jonathan Brewer (lifestories@earthlink.net), May 24, 2002.

postmodernism - comes from architecture! an interpretation of old styled buildings in a new way - somtimes with no function. it´s over for round 10 years. marcus schwier

-- marcus schwier (photo@marcus-schwier.de), May 24, 2002.

Dear chris, Please tell me how an "european approach " is supposed to be like, my snobbish friend. You tell me that all i do is to snipe to the opinion of others, what i tell you is that i cannot stand gratuitous destructive critique of other artists work if the source shows ignorance and a certain lack of open mindedness. Further on i have only been sniping at you only , Chris, at nobody else..

I get outraged when i see people criticising other people effort to express themselves. Just say that you don't like their work, don't be so pretencious as if you were the torch bearer of the right approach to photography. Remember that photography itself in the times of Daguerre had been seen as an heresy.... You say that what you state is only an opinion and that you are ready to an open debate of some sort ... If it is only your opinion how can you tell Rebecca all that , as if it was carved in stone? I am not interested to change your mind with a debate , because yours is an attitude , not a position where you place yourself in the artworld. You show not only ignorance but an underlying frustration as an artist ..... \Grow my friend, grow

-- domenico (applethorpe@earthlink.net), May 25, 2002.

"Quot capita, tot sensus" (There are as many opinions as there are heads.) --Terentius

Domenico: If a person states an opinion then states their perspective, they're free to do it. Personally, I only get riled when the person stating another opinion doesn't also state an alternative. I like to hear about alternatives, and especially a short, concise statement of philosophy. If you want to really take a look at Chris' own photography, take a look at his website, and then see how what he says here matches with what he prints. As far as I'm concerned, that's the real test.

One thing I have found out about photography: I almost always think to myself, "why oh why did you point your camera that way?" When I view a number of modern photographers, I think to myself, "Wow! What a shrewd marketing genius this person must be!" or else "What a load of crap!"

I think that artwork should invigorate a person. If it invigorates me as much as my home-roasted coffee, so much the better. I don't see that with "postmodern" photography. I don't like the idea that a photograph should leave you feeling violated or drained. I call it as I see it: garbage. I really think that the people who produce that drek know it for what it is, and then they spend their time writing their ad copy to sell it.

-- Brian C. Miller (brian.c.miller@gte.net), May 25, 2002.


Or, to quote that great Moral Philosopher, Larry Flint: "Opinions are like assholes- everybody has one". Or- Louis Armstrong on Jazz: "If you have to have it explained, you'll never understand it".

If you want to get enmeshed in sopme real post-modern(even the use of "pomo" is an example of Post Modernist morbidity) fecal matter, try listening to the justification of the Post WW 1 Vienese trauma of 12 tone serial music. Finally after 80 years of Webern, Berg and too many others, music is again an emotional expression to which we can sing dance.


-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (richard ilomaki@hotmail.com), May 25, 2002.

Art is the ability to view life differently through the inspiration of another, those who can provide that inspiration on a consistent basis are Artists and Artisans, although Art, and Artistry can come albeit accidentally from anybody. The Art of true friendship, the Art of love, the Art of living, all involve the inspiration gotten from another and/or their paintings, sculptures, writings, performance Art, or whatever conduit this inspiration travels through.

-- Jonathan Brewer (lifestories@earthlink.net), May 25, 2002.

This is a lot of fun.

Brian,everybody is entitled to an opinion, i agree with you, but when somebody asks informations about something that's all He or she Should get( in this case Rebecca) ,. She was asking for informations not opinions.

Brian,Why are you so interested in my opinion? why is so important to you? If you are an artist in the true sense of the word you should understand that there are no clean cut denominations, evrything blends together .

You say that Art is supposed to invigorate the viewer: invigorate,...it could be... Art has many different aims , it can caress people estetics, it can challenge people estetics, it can riaffirm people's view of life, but it can also challenge it. It can shake people beliefs, it can be a social commentarie, it can have a spiritual connotations, it can offend some people and and riaffirm other people views. Art can also leave you feeling crappy. Art , in its true essence is a huge deal, has a higher goal than that of hanging off your walls. If people want to break loose from stagnant rules that keep art as a mere rapresentation of form , without any substance to it , they deserve all my respect. Will i like it? It doesn't matter. If a work doesn't have depth, i will not tear the artist to pieces. I will hope that something will happen in his or her life to get in those depths where an artist can strive,

You cannot just generalize talking about PoMo how you call it, it is a simplistic way of hiding your ignorance. There are among what some of you call Post-Modern photographers, plenty of extremely talented ones. What you and Chris Jordan don't like , is the fact they challenge the idea of how a camera , or film or paper or any other photographic tool should be used. An artist should be free to get to his or her goal by any means necessary. You see , in art especially there should be no" shoulds". I . personally , don't like the work of Ansel Adams , but i own all his books because the man has done to photography such a service with his technical knowledge. Chris Jordan defines the work of PoMo photographers recognisable for the burnt edges in the prints etc, but maybe he is not aware that Durhkroop in the late 1800 was applyng "tricky edge effects" in his gorgeous bromoils. Also how can we deny the artistic value of works from people like Drtikol, Tomatsu, Rainer, Maar, Whitkin? There are so many more..... Why are we so adamant against the work of other people? Why don't we realise that it is really our problem if we are so outraged by it? How can we espect that the creative process should be dealt by other artists in the way we conceive it? I have given my view that you wanted, i could have been more specific , but as i said before i have no intention to change anybody's opinions. I will stand alone (sigh!), by my ideas in this ocean of "purists".

-- domenico (applethorpe@earthlink.net), May 25, 2002.

> The "rocks, lakes, trees" bunch are also post-modern, having > skipped > modernism altogether. While their product is derided because it > graces calendars, it IS there BECAUSE it's worth looking at for a > whole month at a time by a large mass of people.

And then, of course, happily dispossed of after 30 day. It's decor.

> and > print them with tricky edge effects and other gimmicks (such as > enormous size and cutesy frames) to hide their pathetic lack of > substance,

Why the issue with printing things big? I've always felt it rather strange that we always insist on printing things in minature?


-- Tim Atherton (tim@KairosPhoto.com), May 26, 2002.

> The "rocks, lakes, trees" bunch are also post-modern, having >skipped > modernism altogether. While their product is derided because it > graces calendars, it IS there BECAUSE it's worth looking at for a > whole month at a time by a large mass of people.

And then, of course, happily dispossed of after 30 day. It's decor.

> and > print them with tricky edge effects and other gimmicks (such as > enormous size and cutesy frames) to hide their pathetic lack of > substance,

Why the issue with printing things big? I've always felt it rather strange that we always insist on printing things in minature?


-- Tim Atherton (tim@KairosPhoto.com), May 26, 2002.

I waited a while before replying to those who replied to me. It seems that anyone who has no use for postmodernism (me) is obviously ignorant or stupid. I still think most if not all of it is worthless self-posturing. There are many many photographs that need no words to accompany them and so they indeed *stand on their own*. Given a choice, I prefer the "rocks and trees" work. I prefer well made portraits also. It's not that I don't get it, maybe the problem is that I do get it. Let's say I decide to photograph road kills, and then write a lot of words about how it parallels the futility of life (a little nihilism for flavoring). Or, I pee in the snow and photograph it and then say it represents the fleeting nature of existence. Is it art? No, it is still junk. Now suppose I deliberately break all the "rules" of good composition and good lighting, and then for fun, screw up the development too. Is it art? No, it's garbage. Now if I buy a bunch of worms at the bait shop, dip them in paint and then drop them on a canvas to crawl around, someone will call it art and buy it (that really happened a few years ago). Another "expert" waxed poetic about a painting that was nothing more than the scrawlings of a chimpanzee. So what is art, and why do we have to like whatever the hucksters present to us???

-- Steve Gangi (sgangi@hotmail.com), May 26, 2002.

Steve, nobody said stupid. And i realized just now that when i said ignorant i was wrong , even though wasn't intended with malice. I take it back and i apologize for what i said , sometimes as a Mediterranean , i am too passionate, and let my emotions seep through. What i should have said was " afraid".

I think is a mistake restrict photography to thet raditional role that has had so far for the most part,, in a way i define myself a trditional photographer ,sometime i enjoy to break loose in my work, but for me composition, tonal values, and other important quality i are still vital in my images. I believe that when we reject new ideas, because they go against our s, we are just giving voice to our fears.

This behaviour restricts the potential of photography, which is truly vast. We have in our hands a series of tools that can give many different characteristics to our finished images... How many times has anybody had a voice inside that wanted to do something against the grain i n an image and refrained from doing it just because of self-censorship?

-- domenico (applethorpe@earthlink.net), May 26, 2002.

Not only has there been monkey business,.....there was a well documented case of about 20yrs ago of an Elephant making big money for his paintings. Everybody know from the start it was an Elephant and he still made money.

-- Jonathan Brewer (lifestories@earthlink.net), May 27, 2002.

So while everyone is going quiet around the dying fire I'll just shove another wet log in the coals(a few disapproving grimaces from across the settling cloud of sparks and ash). Ah-hem... Forgive my interrupting the cricket in the background, but I always thought that many forms of art(skills really) are almost like dots surrounding a ball, all connected to it in tentacles growing in size as it approaches the surface(pro-pomo people present will probably have no problem visualising this, alas in some randomly twisted way). If you are in the state of mind that places you at one(or many) of these points then you are a purist(a master maybe or trying to master a craft). A voyage towards the edge takes you further away from mathematical precision and closer to chaos, aka the ball, where things are rarely repeatable and often includes illegal substances (probably related). In there anything goes. Elephants painting, edge effects, digital effects(sorry), worms drowning in paint, hippy young people subjecting mediums(the points) and sometimes themselves to a variety of strange new experiences and generally pomo aplenty - much of which should bypass censorship all together and be plucked out of existence. Naturally those at the points will disapprove of those further down(somewhat akin to road rage when the 'assholes' drive faster than you and the 'idiots' drive slower). Fwiw, I personally don't mind those skimming at the edge, it makes for new art 'points' to be pulled out into outer perfection, the ball is after all where a lot of creation takes place(those pro-pomo around the fire are probably staring perplexed at the embers by now, the others are in various states of siesta and by the sound of it the cricket's still hoping he'll get a humpin before morning)

I know a potter who explicitly makes bowls, vases, plates and such mundane crockery to perfection. Asking her to make anything that vaguely falls below her standards is nothing short of an insult, and rightly so. She is a master at what she makes, anyone who ever saw her work would agree, whether or not it would grace the walls of some 'fashion museum', awaiting judgement. And that is just my point, if you make something and wish many other people to see it then you should be 100% prepared for criticism. But on top of that, if someone thinks it is post modern(again, it depends only on where on the tentacle they are stuck) then you'd better exchange yours for a QuickLight2000[TM] Torch instead(Or the XP version if you are one of those who are fooled by midnight commercials). Not exactly 2 cents, I suppose. If you're pro-pomo YMMV a lot. :)

-- Riaan Lombard (riaanl@prism.co.za), May 28, 2002.

Well put Riaan. I kind of nodded off at one point, but the rythm of your words was very pleasant.

William Blake condensed the essence of artistic and spiritual aspiration in the phrase "To see the world in a grain of sand".
I would hope that anyone with any artisitic leaning has their moments of sublime understanding, where that phrase expresses their state of mind and spirit perfectly. However, it takes an exceptional artist to convey that feeling in their work, and even more rarely does that work convey those same feelings to every beholder. The fact that there isn't always a direct connection between the artist and their every viewer doesn't mean that the whole process is wrong.
Yes, we all percieve a work in a different and individual way. But no, no, NO, that doesn't give the 'artist' the right to show us any old shit; on the understanding that we'll put our own interpretation on it anyway.
The difference is: between Blake penning a poem which expressed his feeling of spiritual oneness with the godhead and the universe, and him simply showing us a grain of sand and letting us draw our own conclusions.
One approach takes the courage to bare one's soul; the other doesn't even have the courage of its own convictions.

If art reflects life, then I suppose a post-modern movement is only to be expected. After all, we have a society which hero-worships and highly rewards some of its least useful members, and in which many individuals seek to aportion blame for every unpalatable aspect of their lives. We also have 'content free' theatre, television and politics. Why not a content-free art movement, where the artist denies any responsibility to their audience?

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), May 29, 2002.

A toilet seat has nothing in it until you supply the contents.

-- Jonathan Brewer (lifestories@earthlink.net), May 29, 2002.

Pete, I'm right there with you on those comments-- very well put. I agree that the postmodern movement was inevitable because art reflects the culture of its time, and this is what's going on in our time. But, to me that's a sad, pessimistic result. My own opinion and hope, is that artists view their role as ELEVATING, rather than merely accepting and reflecting, the state of the world they live in. So, if an artist believes we live in a disjointed out-of-focus soul-less society, than that's all the more reason to work harder than ever to change that by producing works of depth and character and substance, rather than simply taking disjointed out-of-focus soul-less photographs.

To me, the latter approach is a cop-out. It allows the artist (sadly) to sit back and passively accept and wallow in the negativity he perceives, without making the effort to discover and capture substance or beauty or meaning in the world (and in his life). If all artists followed such a path, then the result would be a slow downward spiral-- crappy culture leads to crappy art, which influences culture to be more crappy, and so on. That's the message I want to whisper in the ears of PoMo artists: art influences people, including your own self, so put out the effort to make yours good!


-- chris jordan (cjordan@yarmuth.com), May 29, 2002.

This is one of the good things of Art, it gives different impression and meaning to each viewer. What the previous poster sees as acceptance of the state of the world we live in i interpret it as a rebellion and critique and description of the alienation human being are experiencing.

What i see in many landscape photographer instead is a total denial of what's going on in and around themselves and use their craft as a form of self-masturbation. Having said this , i will also say that. probably both sides have a legitimate space. You cannot always be in owe of nature and you cannot always look at reality with a critical eye. The exhistence of both is necessary . The shame is that some individuals are not aware that at the end we are all working for the same purpose, and allow themselves to be so negative toward other people work. That's a shame.

-- domenico (applethorpe@earthlink.net), May 31, 2002.

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