Alpine Pastorals #3 -- Perfect setups. A hand of paint.

And when I came out of my solitude, and for the first time passed over this bridge, then I could not trust mine eyes, but looked again and again, and said at last: "That is an ear! An ear as big as a man!" I looked still more attentively- and actually there did move under the ear something that was pitiably small and poor and slim. And in truth this immense ear was perched on a small thin stalk- the stalk, however, was a man! A person putting a glass to his eyes, could even recognise further a small envious countenance, and also that a bloated soullet dangled at the stalk. The people told me, however, that the big ear was not only a man, but a great man, a genius. But I never believed in the people when they spake of great men- and I hold to my belief that it was a reversed cripple, who had too little of everything, and too much of one thing.
Just a short quote while thinking about the ghettoes of photography. I'm not a great fan of Magnum but I have been really interested by some passages from the interview with Martin Parr linked in the last post.

Specialism in photography has several declinations. It may be an interesting study tracing them back to the origins.

An interesting case is the one that, conventionally, goes under the umbrella of the "New Topographics". To be honest the thing is so specialized that it is even impossible to circumscribe it without resorting to a rather long sequel of caveats, too many for a blog, partially covered by the never enough praised recent re edition of the exhibit catalog: "New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape, held in 1975 at the International Museum of Photography" edited by Steidl.


Alpine Pastorals #2 -- Suggested views


I have already written about the question of the subjectivity pervading any kind of picture making. Objectivity is, in this conceptual frame, a kind of rhetoric artifice, obtained following some rules in the making and reinforced by a normative set of rules derived by an external, to the image, context by some authority as it is the case of a jury for a contest.

One of the rhetoric artifices, in this area, is the placing, inside of the image, of an ersatz viewer. This create a short circuit between the (real) viewer and the place holding one. I think that it operates exactly on the relation between the viewer and photographer, a relation based on substitution.

An other artifice, that I recently encountered studying XVII and XVIII century Dutch painters, is the placement of a curtain over an inner frame that is supposed to be the real image. There are some nice tales about competitions among painters where the game was to paint an extremely realistic curtain so that the viewer was tempted to remove it.

But to close this post let me point you to this interesting interview with Martin Parr that made me think a lot about the whys and whats of photographic expression.