Monday, May 01, 2006

100 Views - 36

About 4 hours of coffee-induced internal mind babble while trying to fall asleep last night, most of it to do with photography.

From what I can remember:

The problem with the majority of bad art photographs is that there is too much photographer (too much ARTIST!) in them, blocking our view. If photography is about seeing, then a photograph should be a record of that seeing. That's all that's required. If we think of every photograph as a historical document (which is what they will eventually become, regardless) then it makes sense that the ones we will value the most will be the ones that are the most direct, unfiltered, un-mediated in appearance. Rather than dazzling the viewer with creative ability, the goal should be to step aside, to clear the image of your artistic static, so that there is room for the viewer to investigate, inhabit.
Thats what brings us back to Atget and Evans again and again, and why Stephen Shore's 'boring' photographs of vernacular americana grow more and more engaging with time.
Examples of this 'getting out of the way' in music: Chet Baker Sings, The Velvet Underground, Brian Eno's ambient albums.

The idea that over the course of a 2 hour walk, a city-dweller can place themselves within hundreds of completely different, unique physical environments is astonishing to me. That as a citizen, each of us has the right to walk freely through our downtowns, to enter buildings without any tangible 'reason,' to take the elevator up to the top floor of the library and enter the bathroom, or to board a city bus and ride it to the university and then enter the university and walk through the halls, through the classrooms! It just seems so tremendous to me, like a giant loophole in the world.

The photographs in 100 Views should aspire to the state of field recordings. There is something interesting about the lack of pretense in field recordings. When we listen to them, the information we are recieving is the result of only two aesthetic choices: What environment to record and the exact spot within that environment to record it from. Any further meaning that the listener might infer from the recording is of their own making, but somehow that is exactly what happens, the meaning is infered! Is it comforting or frightening, this realization that it's impossible to make something meaningless?