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Pseuds' Corner
Old 10-04-2014   #1
lawrence
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Pseuds' Corner

Photography discussion has for a long time been inundated with drivel that deserves a wider audience and so, stealing the idea from Private Eye, isn't it time we had a Pseuds' Corner here on RFF? Or is this too cruel?

Anyway, my nomination is something I read today in 'Contact: Theory' published by Lustrum Press (p.118):

'A contact-sheet could be termed the sequential authentication or dramatisation of what the photographer makes in the space of time allotted to him during a given occasion. It is a sequential enumeration of emotive similitude. The contact-sheet is evidence of the photographer's subjective perception of an occasion which constitutes a series of sequence of seized moments. The contact-sheet of these seized moments exists outside the stated piece of time and yet re-invents time by recording it as a referential to visual notation'.
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Old 10-04-2014   #2
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Scary stuff.
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Old 10-04-2014   #3
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Deary, deary me. The only problem with Pseuds Corner is that it can be too easy to take something out of context: I live in fear of a sentence or two from my Amateur Photographer column being quoted. But with whole paragraphs like the one quoted... Nah, let's go for it!

Off to do some research...

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Old 10-04-2014   #4
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I am sure Hollis Frampton was not the worst offender or someone who didn't have some good ideas, yet he was the first to come to mind. Here's an excerpt from a thought experiment:

"...Time intercedes with its familiar mercies. A generation passes. And then an obscure doctoral candidate stumbles upon a hypothesis that electrifies the scholarly world. Kneeling in the gloom of a subcellar in Rochester, New York, leafing through a crate of Atlantis' leavings, the young man glimpses a pattern of coherence in its contents and leaps to an insight that startles him half out of his wits.

Reasoning from an imperfect analogy with the mysterious culture of porpoises and whales, who abandoned the encumbrance of physical objects when they returned to the sea and embraced instead a bodiless oral tradition of music, literature, and argumentation, our scholar postulates an Atlantic civilization that expended its entire energy in the making of photographs...."

(Hollis Frampton, "Digressions on the Photographic Agony", On the Camera Arts and Consecutive Matters: The Writings of Hollis Frampton, p. 10)

PS. Perhaps it's time again for the ArtyB******sGenerator: http://www.artybollocks.com/#abg_full

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Old 10-04-2014   #5
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I fear Mr Puts will feature here before too long ...
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Old 10-04-2014   #6
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I imagine we would ( or will) see a lot of academic/MFA theory in this thread. Most art departments no longer grant terminal degrees for studio work alone. One has to show written evidence of critical thinking, and while there's nothing wrong with that requirement per se, the devil is often in the details: students absorb jargon, cant, ideology, twice-baked third-hand critical theory-- all sorts of conceptual wankery-- and are required to produce something similar, i.e. derivative, in their own degree essay or artist statement. Some students outlive it and get on with their art, but academia (in terms if publication and citation) tends to reward those who can spin vocabulary-about-art--and in this way, another generation of academic teachers gets credentialed to spread the gospel of the ivory tower of babble at state schools, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges.

If we can read the stuff, though, with appropriate skepticism--I'm thinking of 'the Emperor Has No Clothes' paradigm--then we can laugh, and that's probably the healthiest response to artistic follies.
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Old 10-04-2014   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhl-oregon View Post
I imagine we would ( or will) see a lot of academic/MFA theory in this thread. Most art departments no longer grant terminal degrees for studio work alone. One has to show written evidence of critical thinking, and while there's nothing wrong with that requirement per se, the devil is often in the details: students absorb jargon, cant, ideology, twice-baked third-hand critical theory-- all sorts of conceptual wankery-- and are required to produce something similar, i.e. derivative, in their own degree essay or artist statement. Some students outlive it and get on with their art, but academia (in terms if publication and citation) tends to reward those who can spin vocabulary-about-art--and in this way, another generation of academic teachers gets credentialed to spread the gospel of the ivory tower of babble at state schools, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges.

If we can read the stuff, though, with appropriate skepticism--I'm thinking of 'the Emperor Has No Clothes' paradigm--then we can laugh, and that's probably the healthiest response to artistic follies.
Dear Robert,

I credential, thou credentialest, he, she or it credentials...

The existence of the word "credential" as a verb is good evidence of the steepness and stoniness of the path ahead of us.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-04-2014   #8
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Originally Posted by rhl-oregon View Post
I imagine we would ( or will) see a lot of academic/MFA theory in this thread. Most art departments no longer grant terminal degrees for studio work alone. One has to show written evidence of critical thinking, and while there's nothing wrong with that requirement per se, the devil is often in the details: students absorb jargon, cant, ideology, twice-baked third-hand critical theory-- all sorts of conceptual wankery-- and are required to produce something similar, i.e. derivative, in their own degree essay or artist statement. Some students outlive it and get on with their art, but academia (in terms if publication and citation) tends to reward those who can spin vocabulary-about-art--and in this way, another generation of academic teachers gets credentialed to spread the gospel of the ivory tower of babble at state schools, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges.

If we can read the stuff, though, with appropriate skepticism--I'm thinking of 'the Emperor Has No Clothes' paradigm--then we can laugh, and that's probably the healthiest response to artistic follies.
Well said Sir/Madam,
I too, could be teaching/preaching with/for the coloured Pencil brigade.
If only I could write such drivel.
Back in my day they stood out a mile.
Bib & brace overalls covered in Goulash?........
Or something like that.
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Old 10-04-2014   #9
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Eschew obfuscation!
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Old 10-04-2014   #10
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Actually, if you read and re-read it several times it makes sense. Consider if you view all the photographs from a single roll of film (or digital series) in sequence at a later date would that not meet the qualifications of that statement? I agree with the statement. It is not obscure.
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Old 10-04-2014   #11
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If you can beat Terry Ray Jones' contact you're on the right track.

"The contact-sheet is evidence of the photographer's subjective perception of an occasion which constitutes a series of sequence of seized moments."

Not sure about subjective, but TR-J managed to hit the money more times that not, I wonder how Garry Winogrand would stand up in comparison. . .
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Old 10-04-2014   #12
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In Lawrence's OP spirit, I'll stop ranting to look for a paragraph of 100 proof poppycock.
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Old 10-04-2014   #13
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From Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age, an artist statement captioning a presumably found photo of 4-5 story brick apartments with hurricane fences topped with barbed wire, to which the artist has added 2 computer-generated graphic icons in the foreground: a faceless gunman and a faceless prostrate victim, which clearly don't match the original photo (grimly banal and badly exposed).

"This project was one of the first leading to my exploration of the semiotics of the visual language of the photographic image. While I started using icons as image in this series, my exploration later led to the use of text as image. Text as photograph raises questions about the human thought process, the categorization of data, visual language processing, and our individual cultural/social conditioning. I am interested in the way the viewer contributes to the context and meaning of individual images."

Typing this makes my fingers weep. Yet it is a fair sample from a chapter titled "Thinking and Writing About Images."
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Old 10-04-2014   #14
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If only Woody Allen were a member of RFF. Maybe he is. I've seen a picture of him with a Leica. He could do a great parody a la his parody of Susan Sonntag (with parentheses, of course.)
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Old 10-09-2014   #15
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"Possible cogent responses to the show include naughty delight and sincere abhorrence. My own was something like a wish to be dead—which, say what you want about it, is the surest defense against assaults of postmodernist attitude. Come to think of it, death provides an apt metaphor for the pictures: memento mori of perishing vanity. Another is celestial: a meteor shower of privacies being burnt to cinders in the atmosphere of publicity. They fall into contemporary fame—a sea that is a millimetre deep and horizon-wide."

... Peter Schjeldahl
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Old 10-09-2014   #16
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How: how true those words are, even today...
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Old 10-09-2014   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twhittle View Post
If you can beat Terry Ray Jones' contact you're on the right track....

...Not sure about subjective, but TR-J managed to hit the money more times that not, I wonder how Garry Winogrand would stand up in comparison. . .
It would only matter if contact sheets became more important than finalized photos to museums, newspapers, book publishers, magazines, etc. And isn't it Tony?
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Old 10-09-2014   #18
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...which leads me to imagine a group calling itself Contact Sheet or just Contact, with a manifesto contracting members-followers to shoot and print nothing but contacts/thumbnails, no further development or enlargement (indeed, antidevelopment, anti-enlargement), focus on context and continuity rather than on the individual (image or photographer)...

Whether it began as a spoof or with deadly solemnity, it would gain adherents, journals, champions, dealers (of course!), 'discerning collectors', curators...running through my head now, a parade of labels like Dada, Dogma 95, f64, and all the isms with their prefixes (neo, post, anti, sur, pan) staking claims on abstractions like "real" and "modern"...

Wake up, Robert! Or rather Shut up and go shoot some pictures! ;-)
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Old 10-09-2014   #19
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...which leads me to imagine a group calling itself Contact Sheet or just Contact, with a manifesto contracting members-followers to shoot and print nothing but contacts/thumbnails, no further development or enlargement (indeed, antidevelopment, anti-enlargement), focus on context and continuity rather than on the individual (image or photographer)...

Whether it began as a spoof or with deadly solemnity, it would gain adherents, journals, champions, dealers (of course!), 'discerning collectors', curators...running through my head now, a parade of labels like Dada, Dogma 95, f64, and all the isms with their prefixes (neo, post, anti, sur, pan) staking claims on abstractions like "real" and "modern"...
Or just put no film in the camera.
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Old 10-09-2014   #20
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Steve McQueen ... fights on to put Britain's war dead on stamps

... I don't consider Steve a pseud BTW
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Old 10-24-2014   #21
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OK, this isn't about photography but theatre. Just read it yesterday. The person who wrote this is the local postmodernist oracle for many years and the following is far from his deliberately very worst but it will do nicely for pseud's corner. Although it's fairly easy to understand what's he's saying, the self-congratulatory tone is typical of the desperation for attention. Here goes:

Quote:
"...My texts are an IQ test. Someone may try their intelligence, that is, one may try and see how much they understood but also how much they creatively misunderstood. Because that's what matters. What matters is not the degree of understanding but the degree of misunderstanding, the moment when the reader or the viewer enters the creative endeavour as if at that moment the writer should leave the stage..."

Υiorgos Veltsos, commenting on his experimental theatrical play "Empire (I Have Your Data)" -- transl. from Greek mine.

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Old 10-24-2014   #22
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The person who wrote this is the local postmodernist oracle[..]
I find his writing more lucid than most postmodernists (OK, I know we're measuring from a low base )

http://www.researchgate.net/publicat...ition_Networks

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Old 10-24-2014   #23
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I find his writing more lucid than most postmodernists (OK, I know we're measuring from a low base )

http://www.researchgate.net/publicat...ition_Networks

...Mike
The point he's making, related to the independence of the text from the author, is standard postmodernist fare and, possibly, interesting enough in its own right. He's not at his worst with this, I agree. Perhaps I am jaded reading it, simply by associating with earlier texts of his, curious little constructs of needless grandiloquism and deliberate obfuscation.

Quote:
"...My texts are an IQ test."
Yeah, right.

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Old 10-24-2014   #24
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Yeah, right.
Quite so: I wasn't disagreeing at all, more's the pity I think.

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Old 11-03-2016   #25
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Warning for those of you in morning time zone: Put your cup of coffee on your desk now.

The wandering couple coerces themselves towards enlightenment by consulting their unease through a distorted prismatic light, and hence gives their world a credence not found in the symbolic disorder of howling winds. They are shrouded in a blinding veil of illumination and their attempts at reason surpass their physicality. Tirelessly, they search for truth against the probability of physical calamity and ruin. They traipse wide the lands of rocky outposts and cobalt shores, inching closer and closer to a precarious balance between civilized behavior and epistemological destabilization. This endeavor for the average tribe is not dissimilar to cackling laughter drowned out by an audibly increasing hum and din of mosquitos so engorged with haemoglobin that they leak crimson plasma from their proboscis. It is a crushing discordance for the cochlear and the discourse that reverberates ominously challenges the perceptible atonality of life at its margins.... [and on and on]

Brad Feuerhelm, commenting on the photo by Inka and Niklas at the top of the link: http://www.americansuburbx.com/2016/...ka-niklas.html

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Old 11-04-2016   #26
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Wow! That opened my eyes...
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Old 11-07-2016   #27
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Eschew obfuscation!
Hmmm. You are doing it properly by eschewing it for 22 times before swallowing, yes?
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Old 11-07-2016   #28
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This tentative and discursive discussion would appear at first reading to be a post modern recapitulation and momentary derivative of Art Speak. I am acquainted w/ that language to some small degree, and look forward to joining in, to some extent, but not overly so, in such a fragmented and elliptical mode of Photo Speak if you will.

Compositional variances will be of some concern, as always, and there is certainly the expressive risk of two interrelated yet completely separate planes of linear modality intersecting within the frame work of diacritical thought, yet wholly owing to said variances, a compromise or breakthrough could occur in the photographer's work. If the photographer, or a light pole in Dadaesque surreal symbolism (sic), senses that the subject is attempting to voice their freedom of expressive actions through varying degrees of linear activity not unrelated to the ad hoc pictorial realm, then we MUST sense that something has fundamentally changed vis a vis the inner eye's non truthful projection onto the inner consciousness of desire(s).

Or, where's the Ripple and Velvitta, and what the hell kind of art opening is this?

Brad F, he da Man! I bow to the master. Thanks for the link, my eyes are about to fal out of my head reading the whole article.
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Old 11-07-2016   #29
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Bad writing about art abounds, not the least because:
a) much good art is beyond the grasp of the inadequate audience it finds
and
b) much bad art is written about by idiots.
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Old 11-07-2016   #30
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I have to repeat one of Brad's gotchas here

"Stretched out along this same horizon, a black mist does swell and does purposefully ejaculate its charred seed in front of subjacent man-made perceptions."

Pure poetry.

That's pretty harsh Sepia. I thought art was just about painting pretty pictures of sunsets and stuff :]
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