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Author Topic: Duane Michaels  (Read 6899 times)
wolfnowl
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« on: August 12, 2008, 04:31:49 PM »
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There's a good interview with photographer Duane Michaels, here:

http://www.pixchannel.com/flash/index.html

A couple of quotes:

"Photography fails constantly, and the bigger the photographs become, the bigger the failure is.  These large photographs to me are a refuge of small talent.  If the only solution to your creativity is to make it bigger, then really we're in deep trouble.

<snip>

People in my generation, we began working in the fifties and sixties.  When we became photographers we came to photography with a great passion for photography.  There were no rewards.  There were no museums except for MOMA and maybe Chicago and Eastman House, and maybe San Francisco.  There were no museums... there were no galleries.  You could go to the Limelight Gallery in the Village coffee shop, in the back room, and they had a wall where they put up Ansel Adams for $5.  So we became photographers not to make money, because there was no money.  We became photographers because we had... we were mad for photography.  We loved photography.  But now that photography's an art, and now that the photography schools are spewing out all these "artist" photographers, now that there's a museum, every museum, now that photographs are going for $600,000, $300,000 for a piece of shit... it's not about photography anymore, it's all about money.  And it's sad, but that's where it is.  It's a fact."
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
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My Flickr site / Random Thoughts and Other Meanderings at M&M's Musings
Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2008, 11:00:16 AM »
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There's a good interview with photographer Duane Michaels, here:

http://www.pixchannel.com/flash/index.html

A couple of quotes:

"Photography fails constantly, and the bigger the photographs become, the bigger the failure is.  These large photographs to me are a refuge of small talent.  If the only solution to your creativity is to make it bigger, then really we're in deep trouble.

<snip>

People in my generation, we began working in the fifties and sixties.  When we became photographers we came to photography with a great passion for photography.  There were no rewards.  There were no museums except for MOMA and maybe Chicago and Eastman House, and maybe San Francisco.  There were no museums... there were no galleries.  You could go to the Limelight Gallery in the Village coffee shop, in the back room, and they had a wall where they put up Ansel Adams for $5.  So we became photographers not to make money, because there was no money.  We became photographers because we had... we were mad for photography.  We loved photography.  But now that photography's an art, and now that the photography schools are spewing out all these "artist" photographers, now that there's a museum, every museum, now that photographs are going for $600,000, $300,000 for a piece of shit... it's not about photography anymore, it's all about money.  And it's sad, but that's where it is.  It's a fact."
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=214671\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]




Growing up in the same era, I have no choice but to agree from the bottom of my worn out soul.

Without naming and risking libel actions, I reserve my contempt for two people in particular: a certain German person whose contribution to photo art is gigantic prints of apartment blocks - so now, so cool, so bloody boring and pointless; the second, a female whose oeuvre consists of large, dull pictures of awkard adolescents on beaches...

Perhaps it has to do with large digital printers: they exist, so one might as well use them, regardless of how appropriate or otherwise they might be to the subject. And why or how do such subjects become legitimate art? Long live bullshit.

On the other hand, wasn´t it the same Duane M who got all that coverage for old Playboy magazines riddled with bullet holes?

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 11:05:27 AM by Rob C » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2008, 11:22:09 AM »
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Forgot to say: thanks for the link - have popped it into Favourites. An interesting site quite new to me.

Rob C
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jecxz
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2008, 12:16:36 PM »
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There's a good interview with photographer Duane Michaels, here:

http://www.pixchannel.com/flash/index.html

A couple of quotes:

"Photography fails constantly, and the bigger the photographs become, the bigger the failure is.  These large photographs to me are a refuge of small talent.  If the only solution to your creativity is to make it bigger, then really we're in deep trouble.

<snip>

People in my generation, we began working in the fifties and sixties.  When we became photographers we came to photography with a great passion for photography.  There were no rewards.  There were no museums except for MOMA and maybe Chicago and Eastman House, and maybe San Francisco.  There were no museums... there were no galleries.  You could go to the Limelight Gallery in the Village coffee shop, in the back room, and they had a wall where they put up Ansel Adams for $5.  So we became photographers not to make money, because there was no money.  We became photographers because we had... we were mad for photography.  We loved photography.  But now that photography's an art, and now that the photography schools are spewing out all these "artist" photographers, now that there's a museum, every museum, now that photographs are going for $600,000, $300,000 for a piece of shit... it's not about photography anymore, it's all about money.  And it's sad, but that's where it is.  It's a fact."
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We stand on the shoulders of those before us, who stand on the shoulders of those before them. Each generation can be critical of the next.

The blind fail to see the chain that connects us all together.
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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2008, 01:44:09 PM »
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We stand on the shoulders of those before us, who stand on the shoulders of those before them. Each generation can be critical of the next.

The blind fail to see the chain that connects us all together.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=214820\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]




Well, yes and no: today´s world is not the same as the earlier one and neither are the photographers. Come to think of it, many of today´s bunch are not so much standing on anyone´s shoulders as lying under their boots.

Neither do I think that it takes a generation gap to see what is good and what is not. One of the big things that time does do is allow third parties the opportunity of latching on to somebody else and to turn their work to their own financial advantage. Frankly, that´s about all that the galleries and museums have done. Speculation and cynical manipulation. You can, of course, believe otherwise, but I do not.

Rob C
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jecxz
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2008, 07:26:51 PM »
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Well, yes and no: today´s world is not the same as the earlier one and neither are the photographers. Come to think of it, many of today´s bunch are not so much standing on anyone´s shoulders as lying under their boots.

Neither do I think that it takes a generation gap to see what is good and what is not. One of the big things that time does do is allow third parties the opportunity of latching on to somebody else and to turn their work to their own financial advantage. Frankly, that´s about all that the galleries and museums have done. Speculation and cynical manipulation. You can, of course, believe otherwise, but I do not.

Rob C
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Rob,

We're very much in agreement. I suppose my statement could have been taken to mean that this generation is "higher" than the preceding (because of my “standing on shoulders” metaphor); not at all in my mind. My metaphor was meant to be similar to stones in a house—where the stronger stones are the ones at the bottom.

What it means is that each successive generation has, as the foundation, the previous, and in a way, relies on the previous generation. The new generation does not see the lessons learned from the same vantage point as the pioneering generation.

Nonetheless, I don’t disagree with you at all, I just recognize that we cannot judge another until we’ve walked in their footsteps – and neither me, you nor Duane Michaels knows anything more than our own experiences.

Additionally, I do not find joy in photographs of urinals, trash on the street, shopping wagons, or similar “new age” subject matter (I think that is easy to tell from my photography) - but I am not, and will never be, qualified to claim that such is not art.

I hope this clarifies my position and my prior post. Be well.

Kind regards,
Derek
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BFoto
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2008, 09:08:42 PM »
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oh man....

have you heard this before...if i get it correct

"Arrogance is the ability to believe that once you've shown somebody the world the way you see it, they will never see it the same way again"
by...Jay Maisel

Thats what photography is.

Yes, some is crap. But i think it is off the mark completely when its said that we are in for the money and not the photography..

However, who are the idiots paying for it? Where there is a market, something will sell. Maybe, the state of play that Duane talks about is more about a true reflection on our society as a whole!
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mrleonard
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2008, 12:01:07 AM »
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However, who are the idiots paying for it? Where there is a market, something will sell. Maybe, the state of play that Duane talks about is more about a true reflection on our society as a whole!
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Yes..I think it's more a comment on our consumerist society as a whole. Duane Michaels is the first photographer that got me really interested in photography(my dad had some photo books...his work from the 70's).

Though he may have come into it for a love of photography, at least it was easier for him to stand out in a new ,emerging art market. I think it's harder now with all the media..and artists clamor to hear their voices heard..by just shouting louder. A lot of these 'loud voices' don't stand up too much repeat scrutiny.

Besides..it's as if the 60's and 70's NEVER happened...we are in a greater,more crass, diabolically engineered, CONSUMER society... more than ever. Most people today HAVE to spend at least $150 on a pair of dungarees..er, jeans..because we now WANT to spend more money than we need. It not only goes boyond any common sense...it's kind of sad really. Today's kid's are getting rebellion sold back to them, instead of when there were actual voices challenging this consumerist status quo. And they all seem so happy about it(brave new world..lol).

Don't get me started..lol.

Great link! Haven't heard Jerry Uelsmann's name in a while.His work SO blew me away in the 70's and now to this generation, it must just look like  it's all just ..so...'fantastic art' looking photoshop work. A victim of modern technology I guess.
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mrleonard
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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2008, 12:32:47 PM »
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Great link! Haven't heard Jerry Uelsmann's name in a while.His work SO blew me away in the 70's and now to this generation, it must just look like  it's all just ..so...'fantastic art' looking photoshop work. A victim of modern technology I guess.
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I take that back...I just had a re-look of his work...and even his more recent stuff manages to transcend that 'fantastic art' photoshop stuff I dislike. Im not sure how he incorporates digitial into his work now, but his images are always very organic looking and poetic. Brilliant really.
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dkeyes
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2008, 01:51:07 PM »
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Great interview with Duane Michaels, especially the part about wonder. I don't agree with his point that the photographers now are just in it for the money. That's a gross overstatement that I often hear from earlier genereations in every aspect of endeavor, from sports to law and medicine. It really is different than the 50's, 60's and 70's, there is potentially more money to be made in every field of work and due to our connected world, more hype as well. Look at pro sports, in the 70's, you could make a living doing football but once your were done (in 5 or so years) you had to get another job. Today, even the lowest paid player can retire for life after they are done. Does that mean they are just in it for the money? For some yes, others no. Why would anyone like Brett Favre want to keep playing? Because they love what they do more than the money.

I also find it boring that people like Duane think anything big, conceptual or more about the idea than the image call it crap. Every generation is jealous of the nexts ability to garner recognition and their use of the previous generations ideas. What's new?

I find Gursky's images interesting, more so than Duane Michaels, Ansel Adams, etc. Why? Because they're not caught up in the romance of beauty or fascination with light and shadow. Gursky is interested in contemporary discourse, things like power, consumption and globalization.
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nokinq
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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2008, 05:46:10 PM »
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Has there ever in the short history of human kind been a generation who didn't believe that they were better in every way than the generations that follow them ? don't think so!!!
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2008, 10:11:07 AM »
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I find Gursky's images interesting, more so than Duane Michaels, Ansel Adams, etc. Why? Because they're not caught up in the romance of beauty or fascination with light and shadow. Gursky is interested in contemporary discourse, things like power, consumption and globalization.
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Potato, Po-tah-to.
It's all in what you like. I personally find post-modern self-referential cleverness tiresome, and my eyes glaze over as soon as I hear the word discourse. I ascribe my reaction to Derrida/Foucault poisoning. To me photography as art is all about beauty and the play of light & shadow, and the way it makes me look more closely at everything around me. But the universe of art is huge and has many subcultures.
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Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2008, 12:40:30 PM »
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Couldn´t agree more, Geoff, and perhaps some of that will show in the few links I just posted over in Art of Photography, Discussing Photographic Styles.

Trouble is, much contemporary stuff (in my opinion, of course) has not a lot to do with photography per se, but a whole lot more to do with iconoclasm; it not so much adds something better as destroys - insofar as it can - what has gone before.  In art, this might be dealer-driven; in magazines and advertising, I think it reflects the desperate need to be seen to be different, at least for the next five minutes.

Having said that, there will always remain a core of enthusiasts who remember what went before, some of it great and also some rotten, and who will be able to take from that and stay with what they know/feel has personal, to them, worth.

One can´t really ask for more.

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 23, 2008, 12:42:13 PM by Rob C » Logged

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