Monday, September 30, 2013

Phillip-Lorca DiCorcia and his Rorschach-like pictures

The intent behind Phillip Lorca diCorica's work is explicitly left open to the imagination. This perhaps comes from his habit of constructing suggestive, and often familiar, scenes, while omitting certain key information, leaving the viewer to fill in the blanks. ‘The more specific the information suggested by a picture,” he says, “the less happy I am with it”.

His cinematic style of work became poignant in his Hustler series, where he photographs the L.A's rent-boys, who are cast in the shadows of Hollywood’s bright lights.

As always, the pictures are meticulously constructed by diCorcia. However, he opts to title the photograph with: the name of the subject, his age, home town and the fee he was paid for the photo - a few words, suggesting a rich but un-elaborated narrative that is left to the audience to construct.

Similarly, in his recent collection ‘The Storybook life’ ,diCorcia assembled a broad swath of photos from across his career.  By arranging the work in a seemingly unrelated order he believes “ the content can constantly mutate according to both the external and internal condition of the viewer”

Reflection on Photography (work by Robert Frank and Lee Friedlander)

Robert Frank. New York City 1947

Lee Friedlander: Mannequin 

Lee Friedlander. New York City, 1966
One of the first Robert Frank’s photographs in the United States, captured the reflection on the street after a summer heavy rainfall near the Central Park. This photo is composed upside down to emphasize the building reflection on the puddle, while also showing a glimmer motion of activity on the street.

Using a hand-held 35mm camera, Lee Friedlander photographs of mannequin have a weirdly odd composition that manipulates the reflection on the storefront windows with mannequin as the main object. The photographs are intended to reflect the notion of sex, fashion, and consumerism in the big city lifestyle.

 The last photograph is another work by Friedlander using shadow reflection as an important of his composition. The picture was taken in New York City in 1966 when he captured his own shadow on a woman’s back. I like how he uses things that are less “valuable” objects into the main piece on his photography composition.

Joel Sternfeld. McLean, Virginia, December 1978

Joel Sternfeld. McLean, Virginia, December 1978

A photo by Joel Sternfeld at McLean, Virginia in 1978. The frame captured a ghoulish photo of a fireman shops for pumpkin and a burning house on the background. However, the burning house in the background is in fact a firefighter training house, Sternfeld successfully uses photography as a tool of manipulation to create his own narrative composition 

Nicholas Nixon: Friendly, West Virginia, 1982

This apparent family portrait appears in the 'depictive' section of Stephen Shore's book 'The Nature of Photographs'.

'... a photographer solves a picture, more than composes one.'

Shore inisists that Nixon's photo 'solves' the scene it captures. He seems to be suggesting that a photograph recreates the world as a more coherent version of itself; a photographer doesn't simply 'compose' its elements into a certain arrangement, but selects the ideal point of view. In the case of Friendly, West Virginia, Nixon's photo is clearly referencing Walker Evans' photos of the victims of the Great Depression. We duly make the comparison between depression-era sharecroppers and the poor of Nixon's own time. This perhaps makes the photo more of a complication of than a solution to the world it depicts.