ArtspeakThursday, March 29, 2018
Today I read this fine review of a Geoff Dyer ( a favourite of former book seller Celia Duthie) book by Jenniffer Szalai called The Street Philosophy of Gary Winogrand.
Winogrand famously said:
“I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed,”
I don’t believe that Dyer ever met Winogrand. As a photographer I do object (lightly) to art speak on an artist’s work or a book like this one when a non-photographer pontificates on the meaning of a photographer’s photograph after the fact.
How would Dyer comment on this photograph?
I don’t have the talent for artspeak so I cannot imagine what he would say of this snap that I took of dancer Sandrine Cassini last year.
Would Dyer guess at my intent? Would he have a philosophical explanation for the almost half moon ring on the top? Would he guess that the woman was going through a personal struggle? Would he know if this is a genuine cyanotype or an imitation?
Is that at all important?
I believe that photographs speak for themselves. Any photograph that is accompanied by an explanation for me is a failure. Portraits have to stand on their own.
And yet only recently in a an Arts Section of the NY Times I found out that the reason why a Van Gogh self portrait looked odd was that for a year he became obsesses with all things Japanese. The essay is here.
|Self portrait 1888|