PARIS LA 11: PHOTOGRAPHY HERE AND NOW
Photography Here and Now
112 pages in color
In this age of Instagram, everyone is a photographer and any cliché a photograph. Does this push photography toward its end? In his short book La Chambre claire/Camera Lucida (1980), Roland Barthes made the association with death by writing that the subject photographed is rendered an object, dispossessed of itself, thus becoming “death in person.” Of course, those with neither the time nor the inclination to philosophize see it completely differently, and see the photograph as proof of life eternal.
From the beginning, photography has been a science in continuous evolution. American artist Catherine Opie has heretofore perpetuated a classic approach to photography through the exploration of community and an interest in documentary. In a stimulating conversation she attests that, “we now know that the photograph can exist beyond the notion of it being a document.” It is important to underline that Opie’s most recent work is a beautiful series on abstraction. And if the purpose of photography is no longer just to document, one can readily understand artists and photographers using the medium today in various abstract, sculptural, conceptual, and even philosophical ways.
Brendan Fowler combines piles of framed photographs crashed through one another and hangs them together on the wall. Writer and art critic Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, in her energetic and amusing text “Collisions Ahead,” strongly advocates for this physical disruption of photography. In the photographic essay “Still Life, and Mask,” Hanna Liden provides a more formal example of photography’s echo with sculpture. Born in Sweden and based in New York City, Liden addresses the medium directly and opens up a dialog, in much the same way that Robert Mapplethorpe did in the 80s with fashion. Our portfolio “Through a Glass, Darkly” presents some of the lesser-known images of Mapplethorpe’s œuvre.
Then there’s the famous California photographer John Divola, whose primary interest resides in the “process.” Whose creative mind nevertheless manages to initiate amazing interrogations with painting, sculpture, and philosophy—as a young Norwegian artist Marius Engh attest in “Out There”, his conversation with Divola on the making and meaning of a photograph, and the exploration of art. And photographer Torbjørn Rødland—also from Norway— and American writer Andrew Beradini give us “Pervession in Bliss”, an ingenious piece of conceptual double-meanings, a bedtime story on its head.
So, everyone’s a photographer these days. That doesn’t mean everyone is good at it, or has interesting things to say, or even has an interesting approach to it. Since its invention in the 19th century, photography has proven to be an important artistic medium. And when used with good sense, amazing and unforgettable bodies of work have been created. Finally, in the 21st century, I’m happy to see that photography’s beautiful life also has a beautiful future.
Paris, December 31, 2013
Cover: RON, 2013 by CATHERINE OPIE
Poster by JOHN DIVOLA
PERVERSION IS BLISS
ANARCHY IN THE BELLE EPOQUE Anarchy in the Belle Epoque
THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY: A MAPPLETHORPE PORTFOLIO
STILL LIFE, AND MASK
Centerfold: CHANEL SUMMER 2014 AD CAMPAIGN REMIX by PFL