Sunday, 21 June 2009

Weddings and Sunsets

There was a good deal of critical commentary towards the millennium around the idea of 'beauty' spurred on, in part, by the crisis in confidence in the then rapidly diminishing returns from the YBA and subsequent generations mining the legacies of Marcel Duchamp.  Quite how the discussions, often centred around the margins of post structuralist philosophy (and particularly focussed on post feminist texts, entirely misappropriated), turned out I am not at all sure.  Part of this is down to my dwindling interest in keeping up with the current chatter in the art mags and part - I suspect - to a confusion about exactly what contemporary art activity can be as we dig into the century for real.

The place of photography in all this is even more vexing - I have written before about the barely contained horror of one or two of my fellow students as regards sunsets! - where the cliche is hard to avoid if one moves into certain subject areas.  But why can't we consider weddings or sunsets as suitable subjects for 'art photography'? Are they simply to be excluded because of their ubiquity and staus as 'known' material - after all Avedon, for just one example, mined the frontal, b&w, portrait to the point of exhaustion - Tom Cooper and Sugimoto the oceans and so on and on.

These thoughts occurred to me as I shot endless frames from a friend's terrace recently and cropped up again when I took snaps at her son's wedding - along with everyone else naturally.  At least its a change of pace and problematics from the MA for a few weeks!  In The Inhuman by Jean-Francois Lyotard there's a quote that resonates with me - "The pleasure procured by the beautiful is not the object of research, it happens or it doesn't".

1 comment:

Simon Marchini said...

I think one of the problems with sunsets is that they are so over done in holiday adverts/romantic movies etc. All this proves is that people are not trying hard enough - perhaps not thinking slightly outside the box. The 'south sea' sunset is such a cliche but does it have to be? I believe that there is significant scope for new views of the sunset.

As for the wedding photograph this seems to be an area at the moment that is getting a real make over - mainly driven by comercial expediance - too many photographers chasing too few commisions. That being said many photographs still end up being very 'formulaic'.

As for whether they are subjects for an MA really depends on your relationship with your tutor and your idea. I supose the other limiting thing is that wedding photographs tend to be one offs - you don't get a second chance should you innovative idea not work