Also see Thoughts on progress: Objectivity versus Subjectivity.

Robert  suggested looking at the work of the following photographers :Andreas Gursky, Geert Goiris , Toshio Shibatu , and Hiroshi Sugimoto, who are all photographers of place.

Andreas Gursky

+ See Exercise 21, small & many 

His style of photography is defined as deadpan. I have been struggling to really understand what it actually means! Having read  Chapter 3 , Deadpan ,The photograph as contemporary art  Charlotte Cotton,  new edition, Thames & Hudson, London 2009.I am (very) slowly coming to grips with the concept .Deadpan images are undistorted by emotion or personal bias, the photographers personal feelings about their subject are unreadable, they are impartial and non-judgemental . The understanding of an image is not influenced in any way by the photographer. Gursky produces large scale images that although having “connected themes—  are not  primarily contingent on being viewed as part of a series”  pg 83,  people are frequently infinitesimal, he “often places us so far away from his subjects that we are not part of the action at all but detached critical viewers.” pg 84,Charlotte Cotton,  The photograph as contemporary art  ,  new edition, Thames & Hudson, London 2009. His compositions are  complex and framed with masses of visual information. Human subjects are included but without any emphasis on individuality, they provide a neutral look at how people  interact with the place they inhabit, the viewer is simply being asked to ” view contemporary life governed by forces that are not possible to see from a position within the crowd” pg 84 Charlotte Cotton,  The photograph as contemporary art  ,  new edition, Thames & Hudson, London 2009. 

Links below to images and info.

  Hiroshi Sugimoto

Sugimoto  used long exposure times of the sea creating  still and ethereal  images.His image of the interior of Cabot Street Cinema , was taken during a 90 minute showing of a feature film to a full audience , the exposure lasted the length of the performance. The audience and film being watched have vanished, time has been stopped. Is this the photographers way of showing time as it really is? I have no way of knowing simply by looking at this image, but can only  try to make sense of what I see and draw my own conclusion. Perhaps this exemplifies just what deadpan photography is all about, the photographer’s objective view of a subject  does not dictate how the photograph should be “read”  but leads to questions by the viewer.

 Geert Goiris

I had not heard of this photographer before and  had to trawl the internet to look at her images.  What particularly strikes me about much of her work is the subject matter, no matter what, is often grey, grim, and unsettling. Her world is not pretty or dressed up but shows it in all its glorious ugliness. Children’s Pavilion, Russia 2005 , is especially representative of this, an ugly building space quite at odds with its actual  use. Ministry of Transportation , Russia 2004 is another ugly grey building.

 Toshio Shibatu

 Looking at his images on the internet and reading about his work it seemed mainly to be large scale and for the most part uninhabited. However I came across the image in this link    and love how he has chosen to frame these 2 small boys and show them in their environment. I would guess he used a wide angle lens and positionioned himself lower than his subjects. Is this image about the boys or their location? I feel both play a part here, there is enough background detail to imagine their perhaps hard daily existence but he has captured the essence of what it is to be a small boy and how these two  inhabit their surroundings.


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