Friday, June 12, 2009

"farther than the archetypes"

"In many ways, good portrait photography is about the transcendence of human nature. It is a narrative that connects the photographer with the viewer and the subject and then relates these individualities with the rest of the social influences that define them."

from exposure compensation

this guy's work presents some really thorny issues. what's interesting in the quote above is that i totally disagree w/the first statement about transcendence, while i totally agree w/the second statement about narratives. i think it has something to do w/my idea that "human nature" IS the narrative that the writer explicates: self, other, & social influences & the interaction between the three. my lapsed catholicism draws me to the triad but my hericlitean intuition demands interaction; my work w/richard rorty makes me doubt ideas about transcendence.

i'll take up the issue of photographic portraiture another time but what strikes me about this guy's work is his mix of caravaggio-like darkness, the inherent dignity of his subjects that just radiates from them, & the feeling i get engaging their gazes. i think of pound's "the enormous tragedy of the dream in the peasants bent shoulders." what these pictures do is not assert transcendence but present human immanence in all its importunate insistence. by engaging the viewer like this, the
pictures necessarily open out onto other larger political issues, especially since globalization has reshaped the body politic.

"I search for individuals that seem unclassifiable and timeless, suggesting that the play of human condition has been repeated over and over since the beginning of time." pierre gonnord

i usually don't pay too much attention to what the artist has to say. after growing up w/mailer, how can we? furthermore, all good literature students from the halcyon days live by a flexible adherence to the "intentional fallacy." antonin scalia should check that out.

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