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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Old 07-11-2011   #41
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The only way what Rickard is doing could ever be considered his photography is if Google street view was a live camera feed, which it's not (maybe some people don't realize that). Then it wouldn't be directly copying an image created by someone else. This is nothing like saying that a photographer is plagiarizing Leica when they take a photo with a Leica. This isn't that complex of a situation. It's a guy making a direct copy of an existing photograph. How would you feel if someone went online, downloaded one of your photographs, and claimed it as their own? That's what is happening in this situation. This isn't an argument about art, it's about someone copying photographs and claiming them as their own. Also, for anyone that says "well no one actually took the photos," technically, that's not true, and how is that different than buying a photo at a flea market and claiming the anonymous work as your own? You didn't take the photo, but because no one can prove it's theirs, it's yours by default? This project is interesting, but it's not Rickard's work to display, claim, or sell. People are really stretching to give this guy undue credit.
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Old 07-11-2011   #42
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Rickard's art is not created by the act of photographing. The art comes from the selection of the images, and the concept of using this publicly available material as art, Just like Warhol's Campbell soup can. Warhol didn't design it or even alter the design, he just recontextualized it, and in doing so created an art icon. Same with Duchamp and his urinal. While this would be considered photography, I don't

He isn't claiming the photographs are his own, he gives Google due credit on that. But he is claiming that the selection of that resource is a creative and beautiful exercise, and in that I fully agree with him.

I think it would require both anticipation, intuition, and creativity. He still has to find these images, just as the photographer has to find his subjects.

Did those of you who don't like the concept like the images?
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Old 07-14-2011   #43
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its kind of like writing a research paper. everything is already there, you just need to find it, structure it in a way that makes sense and sufficiently cite your sources. i think that we are truly running out of things to show in museums. this work is aesthetic and beautiful, they are good images made by google that someone found, nothing more nothing less. save us the bs descriptions moma, better yet, someone save us from modern art!
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Old 07-14-2011   #44
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I welcome this "art", as it opens excellent possibilities. I can now borrow various photography books, and with an informed and deliberate eye, find and decode these previously photographed scenes of urban and rural decay or historical importance, re-photograph the images as they appear on my books, freeing them from their printed origins and elevating them to a new documentary plane, revealing the devastating effects of an increasingly stratified American art gallery world. The recycled images that I'd favor would have a dissolved, painterly effect, and would be occasionally populated with cats who acknowledge the camera, but whose faces are blurred by a slow shutter speed for the practical purposes of masking their identity. The photographs are thus imbued with an unexpected, surreal beauty and visual power.


Jeez. H...
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Old 07-14-2011   #45
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its kind of like writing a research paper.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfjFnjWjDOI
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Old 07-14-2011   #46
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I think it to be pointless to regard this as fine art ot not.

It's not painting, it's not drawing, or sculpture or photography.

Therefore, what the **** is it?
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Old 07-23-2011   #47
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Thank you RayPa. I had never heard of Doug Rickard and so I googled him (irony in there somewhere) and got to look at his web site(s) and read .

This work in question , New American Pictures, is very interesting and challenging on many levels for me. I have mentioned before that my wife, an artist, has, and is, educating me from a cloistered view of art and what isn't art (in other words my bigotry) into accepting the challenges.

Some of the images are very powerful indeed. What I'm about to say may have my pilloried but I stand by it:-

What is the difference with the mindset that will not open up and the mindsets of the people who lynched the Negros, because they are not like us? (see Doug Rickard - These Americans)
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Old 07-26-2011   #48
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These images are I think powerful and arguably innovative. Warhol was original and innovative. Where would we be without Warhol? Where would we be without the surrealists of the inter-war period? Surrealist ideas influenced the development of documentary photography. Read "City Gorged With Dreams", a book about surrealism and documentary photography in inter-war Paris. It's about the exploration of a real-life surreality encountered on the streets of the city, in this case Paris but it could be any city. Isn't this the essence of street photography? Isn't this why we drag ourselves round cities day after day?
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Old 07-26-2011   #49
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this is sterile stuff, a crafty gimmick at best, done by a fellow too lazy to get out and chase light for himself.
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Old 07-26-2011   #50
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Where would we be without Warhol?

We would be without Warhol.
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Old 07-26-2011   #51
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Quote:
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this is sterile stuff, a crafty gimmick at best, done by a fellow too lazy to get out and chase light for himself.
Perhaps it isn't about chasing light...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appropriation_(art)

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Old 07-27-2011   #52
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We have Leveraged Bond Funds, Leveraged Corn Futures, Leveraged Buy Outs and the concept has caught on in the gallery world. So, we now have a lot of Leveraged art.

So.. the next big thing is going to be "Art Futures"? Funny ... I like it. ;- )
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Old 07-27-2011   #53
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this is sterile stuff, a crafty gimmick at best, done by a fellow too lazy to get out and chase light for himself.
+1 on that, Paul. Poorly done, but still gets recognition.

Whatever floats their boat, but I would rather tread water.
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Old 07-27-2011   #54
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Did the gallery publish that ArtSpeak manifeto detailing the artist's working methods? Are they nuts, or just plain stupid? You don't want to ever do that, not for this guy or anyone else unless you're detailing classic approaches. That's like detailing how someone made a mixed media piece. Who cares?, and why even put up question marks in the buyer's minds?

They must rely on art grants from the government to survive.

The image you posted there looks really good.
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Old 10-04-2011   #55
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MoMA : New Photographers: "...The artists in New Photography 2011 approach image-making from very different perspectives, making for a truly dynamic combination."

I think the critical point in the group show "New Photography" is the quiet substitution of the phrase "image making" for photograph. This change allows the use of anything in any way to be used to create an image. Photographs are just one of the possible components to the "image making" process.

This used to be called "decoupage"... LINK 1 and LINK 2
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Old 10-04-2011   #56
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Ray,
I have similiar feelings about this work. I find the images striking and they remain in my brain.

Is it art? Silly to try answering that question, since there's an infinite number of definitions. Is it interesting? Definitely.

I think the most profound thing about this work is that it throws down a gauntlet (intentionally or not) of "Don't get too comfortable with the status quo, photographers." This is the same kind of challenge that Daguerre and others threw into the culture of Only-Painting/Sculpture-Is-Art.

To me, Google Street View images are just data sitting there waiting to be used by anyone. And should Google get a cut? Not in my opinion... unless they want to pass it along to we who've had our privacy yet again infringed upon. Buy, hey, that's the new world.
Great post. And to those who have been slagging Rickard as some **** sitting around in his underpants, he (1) is a damned decent street photographer in the more conventional sense; (2) is working solidly within an established tradition; and (3) runs what might be the best photo-crit web site on the whole internet (it's certainly in the top 5). I'll assume that you all know about it already and that if you don't, you know how to find it.
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Old 10-04-2011   #57
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it might be art. it's not photography.
Your comment might be nonsense.
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Old 10-04-2011   #58
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So, let me get this straight: if I go to the gallery, take pictures of this 'photographers' work and put them up for sale for USD 6,000 thats okay I reckon?

It's not that I am doing anything that he didn't do himself, and Google should be coming after him in the first place, not me, right?

Guess I'm off to snap some snaps then!
If you used miniscule fractions of the photos, comparable to the miniscule fraction of the absolutely vast Google Maps database mined by Sultan, that would likely be (or at least, should be) fair use. Just as Sultan's use of those images should be.
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Old 10-04-2011   #59
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I have no problem thinking of these simply as photography. How different is this really from taking your camera down to the Greyhound depot and getting on the 12:00 to the next town, and making all your photos from the window of that bus?

These pictures got me thinking of the many previous photo projects made from cars, from Robert Frank's bus pictures to Friedlander's, America By Car. And in between, Meyerowitz, Winogrand, Wessel and probably many I don't know about.
Bingo. Photography is about editing, choice, selection, inclusion, exclusion, description, composition, perspective, light. All of those elements are present in Rickard's project. I find it interesting how tightly circumscribed the views of many forumites here are, how vast the terrain that would be excluded from art in general, and photography in particular. It is somewhat dispiriting.
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Old 10-11-2011   #60
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What this guy has done is no different than having him go through your or my stock images, picking the ones he likes best and claiming them as his art.. as it was his taste that picked them. Most curators draw the line in any art with "human intent" in the creation.
This is quite different from sorting through already-curated 'art' (a set of stock images) - he combs through Street View and essentially composes the 'photographs' himself. That's the conceptual basis and defining element of the work.

Is $2500-6000 for a print, in my opinion, obscene? Yeah, but that's the way of the art world. "The bourgeoisie have, after all, made it a scam."
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Old 11-19-2011   #61
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Another example of sourcing Google Street View.




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Old 04-01-2012   #62
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Thanks, GNS. I'm about halfway through this talk and it's just terrific.
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Old 04-01-2012   #63
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It's like street photography from the comfort of your own home. Come to think of it, Google should be classed as one of the great street photographers in history - I can't think of any other 'body of work' that has encompassed such a broad range of locales.
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Old 04-01-2012   #64
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This is interesting stuff, but (based on only having seen Doug Rickard's web site) I have to say that I find Jon Rafman's Nine Eyes of Google Street View to be much better; one of the most fascinating collections of photos I've seen in the past few years.
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Old 04-02-2012   #65
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^-- I did read your whole post. It in no way negates what you wrote in the last sentence, and that last sentence does not do you any credit.
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Old 04-03-2012   #66
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This is interesting stuff, but (based on only having seen Doug Rickard's web site) I have to say that I find Jon Rafman's Nine Eyes of Google Street View to be much better; one of the most fascinating collections of photos I've seen in the past few years.
I've seen / followed Jon's blog and posted about it elsewhere on the net. Interestingly he's a Canadian / Montréalais and his work (not just the curated google work) is very good
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Old 04-04-2012   #67
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Great post. And to those who have been slagging Rickard as some **** sitting around in his underpants, he (1) is a damned decent street photographer in the more conventional sense; (2) is working solidly within an established tradition; and (3) runs what might be the best photo-crit web site on the whole internet (it's certainly in the top 5). I'll assume that you all know about it already and that if you don't, you know how to find it.

Credentials don't make something "good" or "correct" ipso facto: Doctors in the turn of the 19th/20th century recommended smoking due to its "soothing" qualities and "proven good" effects on health.

Somebody may be the best tailor in the world, but once they start selling clothes out of cloth that cannot be seen by "those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent", one cannot help but point out that the Emperor is indeed in a birth-suit.
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Old 04-04-2012   #68
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Credentials don't make something "good" or "correct".
Who said anything about credentials? You quote my post but your response is orthogonal to it. In any case Rickard's previous work with cameras that he actually operated blunts criticisms that he has not gotten out and "chased" the light -- and the useful resources that he's assembled on the web demolish the claims that he doesn't know about photography in general or street photography in particular or the proper role of appropriation in art.

You don't have to agree with him, and you don't have to like his work. But to say or imply he's going into this project blind, or that he doesn't know what the relevant intellectual threads are or that he can't handle a camera (as several posters on this thread have done) -- these are not evidence-based positions.
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Old 04-04-2012   #69
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Who said anything about credentials? You quote my post but your response is orthogonal to it.

In that case, "is a damned decent street photographer in the more conventional sense" is a straw dodecagon.
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Old 04-04-2012   #70
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I'm sorry but there seems to be a lot of close-mindedness about this. The man came up with an idea, went ahead and executed it (no small thing; I suggest that you browse through Street View and see what you come up with), and produced something interesting.

This discussion in a not so distant past:

Person 1: I just heard about this guy who used his thingamajig to take "photographs" and he's trying to pass these "photographs" as art!

Person 2: What?!? How can it be art if he didn't actually sit down and paint it?? He just clicked a button?? Ridiculous, I say.
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Old 04-04-2012   #71
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This discussion in a not so distant past:
One of my problems in this discussion is using a circular concept (define the concept with the concept itself, and use it as its own defense). That in itself says nothing.

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Ah! Of course. Evolution of the English language etc etc etc, how dare you question the organic nature of the English tongue etc etc.


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One can grab a cat and call it a dog all you want, but a cat it remains. If it makes for a MoMA exhibit, that's great for the misunderstood genius behind it --nevermind that Magritte already flew that one. But please, calling it "thus a study in Veterinary Psychiatry" (because, you know, there's an nonhuman identity crisis there) is an insult to art, vets and psychiatry. Not to mention the viewer.
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Old 04-04-2012   #72
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The same exact type of exhibition (perhaps by the same "artist") was showing at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art 2 week-ends ago. I have a parallel Thread going entitled "Google Streetview 'Art'".

The guy has no life. He sits at home staring at Google all day. He takes straight, as-is Google Streetview screenshots, doesn't do anything to them, blows them up huge, puts them in a nice frame, and charges a fortune. Oh, and then he gets a gullible art gallery administrator to get someone to write a pretentious, artsy description to legitimize the whole thing.
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Old 04-04-2012   #73
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I photographed the tv screen once. This guy had a conspiracy view of things and was being interviewed just after the JFK assassination. I just couldn't get his face out of my head.

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Old 04-04-2012   #74
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The same exact type of exhibition (perhaps by the same "artist") was showing at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art 2 week-ends ago. I have a parallel Thread going entitled "Google Streetview 'Art'".

The guy has no life. He sits at home staring at Google all day. He takes straight, as-is Google Streetview screenshots, doesn't do anything to them, blows them up huge, puts them in a nice frame, and charges a fortune. Oh, and then he gets a gullible art gallery administrator to get someone to write a pretentious, artsy description to legitimize the whole thing.
Wish my life was so bad. I'm sure he doesn't spend every waking hour on google.

You could say, about any photographer, the same thing...

He simply points his camera and shoots something, doesn't do anything to them, blows them up huge, puts them in a nice frame, and charges a fortune. Oh, and then he gets a gullible art gallery administrator to get someone to write a pretentious, artsy description to legitimize the whole thing.

Sure, it's not that simple. However, he didn't force people to do anything for him. They bought into it because they liked his concept and figured they could make money off of him.

I have no issue with this work. Appropriation and the conceptual have always been a part of the art world. Sure, I don't care to look at it, but he (and a few others) found their gimmick and ran with it. I'm not going to hate.
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Old 04-04-2012   #75
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Seems to me that you can't really even start to talk about the question of appropriation in modern photography without talking about Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel's book, Evidence. Rickard was obviously aware of this work and it clearly influenced his thinking.

Here's a good 5-minute video on Sultan and Evidence.

Evidence is widely acknowledged as one of the more important and influential books in contemporary photography. How is the work under discussion different from Evidence? If it is worse, why is it worse?
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Old 04-17-2012   #76
Gabriel M.A.
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Gabriel M.A. is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Paris, Frons
Posts: 9,974
These people here thought Brian was one of the most important and influential people in contemporary spirituality.

Who is to question what a group of people think about what is "important"?

I believe the equation of P * (concept) = Irrefutable, where P = (# of people), is always held as an Axiom if one is invested in P.
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Big wig wisdom: "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" --Harry Warner, of Warner Bros., 1927

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Old 10-31-2012   #77
flip
良かったね!
 
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Mateo, CA
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I only recently came upon this. I am intrigued by the idea that he is redefining art for modern times as editing through the deluge of input. I don't think that's an earth-shattering idea, but Godspeed. If work like this influences others to edit what they post to the 'net, the world would be better for it.
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