Photography: 1990s until Today
When looking at photography made after 1990 you might find it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the traditional categories of “documentary” and “art” photography. This is, in part, due to the sophistication of photographers’ equipment (camera and software) and education. In the blurring of the boundaries between art and documentary, interesting “thought projects” arise in the serial work of photographs, whose work you’ll read about this week. How do these projects compare/contrast with photos on Instagram and other social media sites? Let us discuss in class.
Read about Catherine Chalmers’s work and answer the questions below:
1. What does Catherine Chalmers’s photo series Food Chainshow?
2. How did Chalmers come around to the idea of making Food Chain?
3. Why does Chalmers think a food chain—depicted as art—-wouldn’t have been relevant 200 years ago? And why does she think it’s relevant and interesting now?
4. What does Chalmers want to say about our relationship to animals?
5. Do you think Chalmers’s photography makes people more aware of something? Explain.
Listen to Suzanne Opton discuss her work and answer the questions below:
6. Where were Suzanne Opton’s Soldiers series first seen?
7. What kind of photographer is Opton?
8. How did Opton have all the soldiers pose in her series?
9. What was Opton’s intentions for photographing soldiers in this style?
10. Why does Opton think photography is flattery?
Read Art and Photography: 1990s to the Present and respond to the question below:
Douglas Eklund summarizes photography in the 1990s in the last fragment of his last sentence: “theatricalizing the universal experience of technological and information overload upon an endlessly fractured, constantly regulated and diverted consciousness.” How do you understand this dense yet poeticpassage? Choose a photograph from the article or from the images above the article and write a visual analysis (i.e. careful observation) of it in 2 paragraphs. After you describe it, state whether you think it characterizes Eklund’s passage or is a reaction against it. And why.
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