Saturday, March 25, 2006
Another artist who used photography to document his ideas and his more material works is David Smith (bottom). I'm thinking of looking at how conceptual artists used the techniques and the mode of production inherent to photography in order to think though their ideas as well as to leave behind a trace of that endeavor. There's a lot more I want to say about this, but for now I just want to throw this up here for future reminder. It also intrigued me to compare this to the early use of photography as a method of capturing both a traumatic historical moment and the artist's contemplation/overcoming of it. The photo on the top is by the 19C photographer John Moran. And here's an intriguing description: "Perhaps as an antidote to the Civil War that ravaged the American landscape and psyche, John Moran made this carefully constructed, idyllic photograph of the Wissahickon Creek, just outside of Philadelphia. He presents an artist, perhaps his brother, the painter Thomas Moran, quietly sketching the beauty of the natural environment. The artist´s central position and his reflection, perfectly mirrored in the still pool of water in the foreground, seem to confirm both his importance and his harmony with his surroundings. The ability of the artist to bring order to his world is further suggested by the delicate retouching in the upper left of the photograph to remove the jarring intrusion of a building into this bucolic vista."