it has to happen: the appreciation for an object of art transcends the cultural appropriation that has come before the object is first seen. in this case, a tomb’s artwork for the Famiglia Appiani at Staglieno (in Genova) has become famous through the use of a photograph by French photographer Bernard Pierre Wolff in Joy Division‘s second album Closer. like the point of view expressed in The Vanity of Grief, this particular work, at first glance, has to overcome the Vanity of Grief context, and that of the history for a beloved album. yet, the power of this artwork is that it quickly makes those two contexts vanish: there is so much immersion into this work’s layers, that preconceptions were vanished ever so quickly. apparent on the first visit (in May), and fully obvious on a recent second visit, is the many ways that, despite its testament to a Christian presentation, the work catapults away from this context and works from any point of view. for example, it is simple to ignore the two auras, and consider the four women as the same person in stages of grief: disbelief, acceptance, sorrow, and sufferance— for example. personally, the appreciation of an artwork has to transcend the artist’s (or customer’s) intent, and in this case, beyond the cultural appropriation and/or the modern view of elaborate tombstones. this one, personally, is the magnum opus of such work.
a second visit to Milano’s Monumentale, and this phrase still rings as the best description. the first visit was 6 hours, until I got kicked out, and this one was still 3 hours. the impact is still there, and unlike appreciating all the statues at a museum like the Louvre. for obvious reasons, despite the vanity of these burials, the emotional impact is quite subjective, regardless of the family that executed such pieces of art for their loved ones. it is the case that every visit is peeling at the layer of the impressionable collective arrangement, and revealing a personal connection to a few graves at a more intense level.
I have been pursuing a project in Instagram, under Kerteszian, to bring simplicity onto a photograph with a sense from André Kertész‘s The Polaroids. a kind of emotional Haiku in a simple photo, be it made to look like a Polaroid or BW. the main thing is to reduce the visual noise when looking, before a photograph is taken. aside from the simple composition, there is André Kertész‘s use of shadows. while he was more graphic in the use of shadows, as in not necessarily used to obscure or create a negative space, my use is more into the negative space use of the shadow. none of this quite in the dominant language from Saul Leiter, as his negative space seems to be derived from obstructionism of other objects. (I think that both photographers also strive from that emotional Haiku.) however, it seems that in using too much shadow, the photograph (as shown below) goes to some place between André Kertész‘s and Saul Leiter‘s signatures. (NB: this is not an allusion to a similar quality, as that is not the point of my photos, rather to have an incomplete description as “photograph= photographer1 + photographer2 + « je ne sais quoi » “)
[ link ] Kerteszian on Instagram
[ link ] fernand de Beauvoir on Instagram
« […] Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to (discover**) get to know the ice. » — Gabriel García Márquez‘s first sentence on 100 Years of Solitude. this came to mind as I took my daughter to get to know the French garden trees, which are manicured like hedges. for me, they bring to mind the variations of Claude Monet‘s haystacks, with many photographic possibilities. the amount of time I spend looking at them, examining for the time of day, and the changes with seasons is unlike many other repeated themes in my photography. as my friend Peter Keyngnaert (@peterkeyngnaert) mentions on a reply: « Well I guess you HAD to show [her] those! », but I think in the end it was an excuse for me to visit the park at St. Germain en Lay and know that I have to return for more photographs at different times of the day, and seasons.
** why is “discover” used in translations, when the word used by GGM is “conocer”? I can never be sure. there is “descubrir” in Spanish for “discover”. such a translation robs the first line of much of its magic. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
link: typically, I photograph them as lone, singular, creatures and present them in varying effects, like this other version in the same park [ link to Instagram]
Venice has re-kindled some ideas on photography. there was a philosophical view that Venice developed in a very different way to the European cities that I have been able to visit— or let me say, any cities I have visited outside of Japan. there is also the sentimental search for a replacement to Old San Juan: a bubble that has an insular growth and texture to experience. (worth noting that both are small islands next to a their metropolitan mainland.) one of the photographic ideas to seek, out of many, is the projection of light due to the way the location was built. from the strong usage of light/shadow by Hungarian (André Kertész) and Czech (Jaromír Funke) photographers for Still Life, it is easy to extend this concept to the Still Life of a city, and its many variations due to the time of day and the consequences of people’s actions. the part that is not easy is that, as it is well-known, there is the beauty of Venice— photographed a million times over— and one having to look elsewhere. this is not about seeking something new, but to find some comfort in what has become familiar through other locations.
link: other examples posted to my Instagram account, starting with the first photo, and working forward in time from it.
being an autodidact in the age of L’internets is quite interesting. mainly, the outlets are photo-social networks, and the development is quite influenced by what one sees there (to accept or repel), and the urgency to acquire the social currency— such as comments and likes. when I think back on the days of flickr, and Instagram since its inception, there is no doubt that I could not divorce the social from the photographic attempts. however, I like to think that there is a big difference these days to be able to find out what is possible with owning a camera (or two): 1. I photograph what I want, and thinks develops a language and not a style; 2. photo-social sites are just a sharing mechanism, which is to say, more social than photographic**. while previously I would search for a photo to take that would give me currency at the sites, and develop by mimicking others (famous or not), these days I just search for something that connects, and use a camera to record it. one such interest is that of chairs at Parisian parks. I like to go in the afternoon, if possible, and find their arrangement as left by peope, and think “a conversation happened here”— even if, like this one, it looks like someone needed to rest their feet— and try to give them a conversation context via composition. the photograph, indeed, is an artifact, and its judgment is as much divorced from the art as possible.
** this is an attempt to not be overtaken by the grey goo.
link: “grey goo” in PressPlayPause [ link ]