2 August 2017
After a month off I am returning to my preparation for assessment with a review of Assignment 4. Here are the notes I made on the feedback given by my tutor in January.
Questions to ask myself and improvements to make for assessment
- Review the “Contextual Application” section and see if I can improve and/or clarify the practical effects brought about by the New Topographics exhibition.
- Trim the biographical details of Gohlke (remove the Ref. to Paul Caponigro and award details.
- Check Russell’s suggestion that I include a reference to Herbert Gleason – it may be pertinent.
- Check the image link provided by Russell for images of 1903 and 2012 showing construction work on the Sudbury River.
- Look at the “clean up” project links.
- Look again at Russell’s report. The Communication section’s suggestion is not clear. If I can’t make sense of it, email him.
- “Suggested Viewing/Reading” look again and Gohlke’s ideas and compare with Kandar’s Yangtze series.
- As suggested, consider why Gohlke presented his images cropped in the book and uncropped (i.e. rebate included) on his website
My thoughts on these improvements:
1 & 2 Contextual Application
In terms of the contextual application to my work, I think this is clear. What is needed in addition is a general appreciation of the effect of the New Topographics exhibition has had on Gohlke’s subsequent work and landscape photography globally. To evaluate this, I first re-visited the two interviews I research as videos. The first was here at the LACMA showing of the New Topographics in 2009: http://www.frankgohlke.com/Conversations/New-Topographics-at-LACMA the second was NEW TOPOGRAPHICS Landscape Photography Then and Now, a panel discussion held at the AIPAD show in NY March 20 2010 in which Frank Gohlke talked about his contribution to the original George Eastman House show in 1975 and the development of his work. https://vimeo.com/11716801
What has become clear is that the original exhibition at George Eastman House in 1975 was seen by relatively few people because of its limited showing. This became apparent from Gohlke’s conversations both in NewYork in 2010 and in Los Angeles in 2009. In 2010 he answered a question “What was the net effect of being in that exhibition on both your development and stature as an artist?” with “I didn’t notice much for a long time until a couple of years ago.”… “It [the exhibition] was not well liked, the way we photographed, and mostly what we got was flack from people who didn’t see why they’d have to look at this visual dreck.” He went on to say that he and the other artists exhibiting were, in their own way, interested in the landscape as a reflection of culture. From the NY discussion it was also apparent that the New Topographics, images of a Man Altered Landscape, marked a change in the perceptions of what landscape photography should look like, especially in the worlds of art and academia. ‘New Topographics’ appears to have become an identifiable style amongst contemporary artists. Looking at Gohlke’s subsequent work he hasn’t deviated much from his style of working since that time.
Having saved 70 odd words from my introduction I must now summarise the above to fit into the Contextual application section of my review as well as introduce Herbert Gleason into the mix if space permits.
3. I have compiled a series of links to the work of Herbert Gleason from a Google search:
Having read FG’s Photography and Place speech (2004) I can identify his affinity with the works of Gleason and of course Thoreau. He makes some interesting points on the definitions of Space and Place and explores both Thoreau and Gleason’s motivations in the meticulous exploration of the spaces and places surrounding them, in Gleason’s case, illustrating Thoreau’s work after applying the same rigour to his explorations. Having now spent a couple of days extending my research in to the topic of my Critical Review, I must now decide how much I should omit and include. As I only have limited space, I am going to try to include the as much of this new research as I can, perhaps trimming even more from the introduction.
4 & 5. This image link http://dmg-photography.com/blog/2012/09/oars-2012-river-cleanup is a blog by a Massachusetts environmental group who regularly clean the Asset, Sudbury and Concord rivers.
This link is to a photograph of a pipe arch bridge built over the Sudbury River 1n 1903. It is part of Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archive.
…and this image is of the same section taken from river level in 2012
It is clear that there is a lot of local interest in this short section of the river system, no doubt brought about by an awareness of history and environmental concerns, perhaps as an indirect result of the shift away from presenting landscape in an idealised romantic way.
6. I have re-read and now understand this section. I have amended the Contextual Application section of my review.
7. Comparison with Nadav Kandar’s Yzangsze series. Russell raised an interesting question about Frank Gohlke’s statement on his thoughts about the Sudbury River project in that his contained ideas could be applied to any river anywhere. Without sufficient time to go into this in any detail I am going to assume that he meant any small river system. Clearly there is a lot more going on in the Yangtze and Kandar has included a multitude of aspects in his series.
8. Again, I am going to guess that Franke Gohlke had full editorial control on his website and as a photographer, he wanted to include the rebates in his images to show that they were presented as taken, i.e. uncropped. A method of confirming that these were film images and his chosen method of working. In the book, I suggest that the book’s designer had the final say on layout once the images were chosen.