Thursday, November 8

Who's The Artist Here?

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Walt Whitman, America's first savage poet wrote, "I do not doubt but the majesty & beauty of the world are latent in any iota of the world... I do not doubt there is far more in trivialities, insects, vulgar persons, slaves, dwarfs, weeds, rejected refuse, than I have supposed..."

Do you think it's true that when you photograph something, you make it important, at least to you? It seems as if the photographers who get into museums today rarely picture romantic or lyrical subjects. Instead the seem to focus upon the painful, vulgar, and plain parts of overlooked debris.

This statue sits in the entryway of the Papal Museum in Rome. It sits beside steps leading up to the museum shop. It's modern, colored, beautifully executed and a stylized representation of a modern messenger in business suit and tie with long red locks and as shoeless as the ancient prophets. I could have stepped back and shown it to you in a sort of visual stenography. I didn't, instead, trained by modern photographers, here it is in its astonishingly well executed parts. They may be iotas of the artist work, but unlike the trash cans which some photographic artists are showing in world class museums, I find these parts hugely moving.

Do you? Or should I have reproduced the whole work as the sculpture intended. But if I had, would this edition of ImageFiction be about my feelings, ideas, and conclusions - or someone else's? And does that matter? I guess it goes back to the question, what is photographic art?


Bill said...

"I find these parts hugely moving.
Do you?"

On first viewing, I would have to answer no, not moving, more like intriguing. The thing is, my first reaction was that you'd decided to post somethng not from your trip to Italy, 'cause this looked all new and plasticky whereas all your previous images exuded antiquity and grandeur. It was the middle image mostly that gave that impression. So, even though I enjoyed the image my reaction was not what you might have predicted.

After reading your text, I returned for a closer look and was able to appreciate the attributes you'd ascribed to this piece of work.

Looking forward to more.

advman said...

Moving? Yes, in a very literal sense. Oh how it moves :)

Actually, I have no idea what this statue could have looked like, but even if it was not really a piece of highest art before, it certainly is now.

Hmm ... gripping, I'd say. Especially the left side :))