If you haven’t seen it, check out today’s “Wanted in Iran: The Photographs” for a look at how the Iranian regime is doctoring photographs of street protesters to strengthen their own authoritarian grip. Grisly and chilling.
There’s been no better palate cleanser for me in recent months for all those photographs about nothing than Tod Papageorge’s latest two books, Passing Through Eden, and American Sports, 1970: Or How We Spent the War in Vietnam, and here, in an interview for The Nation (which, as of today, no longer password-protects its full content) Papageorge discusses his photographic whys, hows, and what the heck for.
“But with the success of the galleries, the defining energy became that provided by money. And so what do you see now when you go to a gallery that’s selling photography? You see big, huge color prints, most of which really aren’t about very much. They’re illustrations.”
Also seen here, yesterday.
In the interview, Meyerowitz says this:
“I’ve always been a photographer less interested in the academic and formal side of photography than for the feelingful side. I always opt for feeling. I think my pictures have in them–at the risk of sentimentality, which I try to avoid…nonetheless, I think people are suspicious of feeling and beauty. They’ve become sort of no-no’s in the modern, contemporary art world, and so if you make pictures that evoke some form of beauty, people are suspicious…and you see a lot of flat-footed, boring fucking photography out in the world today, that passes as conceptual or high-valued, art-world photography. I look at most of that stuff and I think, ‘these guys are boring, they have nothing to say, they’re walking around formulaicly making bands of modern life…industrial things or supermarkets….’ I don’t give a shit if it’s Gurksy or…any of the others who are playing that game. Most of that stuff bores the shit out of me.”
Here’s the clip:
It reminds me of that ages-old Stephen Shore interview, because both are well-respected photographers who don’t have anything to lose in calling bullshit on the trends of a self-obsessed art world (or flickr, in Shore’s case).
Sure, the world’s full of negativity, but I’m tickled whenever I see a photographer who calls it like they see it. Meyerowitz may sound bitter, but frankly, I’d rather hear his beef about how bad contemporary photography is than read another article in ART FORUM about Damien Hurst’s Skull. Go, JM!