The 13th Online Exhibition of
From the original Prospectus:
"The title for the show, of course, comes from that clever 1980s ad campaign for Oldsmobile (R.I.P.) - remember Ringo's spot, with his daughter, Lee?
"With all this in mind, let's see what we can come up with for "This is Not Your Father's Nocturne" shall we? We are not looking for you to go out and imitate your fave (tho', as they say, "imitation is sincerest form of flattery . . .") - but we would like you to put on your thinking caps a bit and investigate what influences inform your own work. And, we ask people to trace their influences, admiration, homage(s) to photographers, artists, and art movements of the past (or present?). It could be as simple as attempting to make a photograph that imitates the style ("sincerest form . . .") of an artist's work from the past - think Whistler's "Venetian Nocturnes." Or being able to see (and convey) an artist like Michael Kenna's influence on your own work - fine b/w printing, long exposure, inclement weather, low-light, etc. Should be interesting - might be fun!
"So. . . still not sure that your Nocturne is not your father's, or mother's? Look over this excerpt of an interview that Tim Baskerville did with Michael Kenna, in which he explains a little bit about some influences on his own work. Kenna admittedly lists Bill Brandt and Brassai as early influences on his work, and he even has paid homage to them by doing work in the EXACT LOCATIONS that these legends/heroes photographed - of course, he credits them and their influence by naming his works "Merci, Brassai" or "Bill Brandt's Snicket" (do a Google on those!), so there's no confusion as to the intent. But what a smaller, less visually-rich world it would be, if Kenna subscribed to the "it's all been done, already" theory! We don't think anyone would confuse a vintage Brandt print with one of Kenna's, or say that one diminishes the other.
"Also, have a listen to a recent "AudioBlog" by Juror Brooks Jensen (Publisher, Lenswork) entitled, coincidentally, "The Shoulders of Giants" (from February 14, 2005) in which he says not to worry too much about "making images that have been done before -- they've all been done before!" In another Blog (from February 3, 2005), Jensen strikes a parallel argument, decrying the lack of instruction in the History of Photography.
"If you subscribe to Aperture magazine, you might already be familiar with their endpiece entilted "PhotoEcho," where they invite readers to point out two very similar photographs, usually distanced in time. location, media, etc. The current issue features a bunker-like structure photographed in b/w by Lewis Baltz in 1974, juxtaposed with a similar 2002 color image by Frank Breuer - a sort of "separated at birth" for photographs!
"Now, look at your own work and try to decode it - map out its artistic DNA. A little 'trad' b/w master printer here, a little 70s conceptual 'edge' over there, mix in some rock'n'roll, and some postmodern irony sprinkled in for "spice." Could that work for you?
"For this exhibit, you can even go out and take this on as an assignment - just try to do what one of those pioneers of Night Photography (Stieglitz, Steichen, etc.) did - in your own neighborhood. Maybe the influential photographer is someone a little more contemporary - the same thing applies. Perhaps your work is informed not by a photographer, but a painter of the nocturne - Hopper, Whistler, O'Keeffe - try to convey their spirit of the night. thru a lens (channeling a nocturne . . . ).
"Your treatment of this topic can be an homage, or it can be parody;
full color interpretation of a black and white printing master; subtle
subtext, or an in-your-face unapologetic declaration of influence. And
again for this show, as in some of our previous ones, your images don't
need to be literally about the theme (in this case a historical Night
Photography figure) - it could just as easily be an "Homage to an
largely Unknown icon of Night Photography."