Max Colson: Tales

Photojournalism MA student at the LCC

Posts Tagged ‘art

David Hockney & ‘higgledy piggledy’ viewing

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David Hockney's 'Pearblossom Hwy', photographic collage of a Californian highway from 1986 max colson

David Hockney's 'Pearblossom Hwy', photographic collage of a Californian highway from 1986

As I got a couple of books of David Hockney’s work for Christmas I’ve had the chance to dig his work even more than usual. In particular I’ve very much enjoyed reading through the conversations in the newly released book A Bigger Message: his thoughts on photography have been a good companion on my (nebulous, goddamn never ending) trip to working out what it is that I want to do and achieve with the camera. I’ve also found it really refreshing to read someone who’s less concerned with discussing photography as an obstacle to objective seeing and is instead more interested in the tenuous relationship that it has with the fragmented, higgledy piggledy way in which we actually comprehend what’s in front of us with our eyes:

“A photograph sees [The Grand Canyon] all at once, in one click of the lens from a single point of view, but we don’t. And it’s the fact that it takes us time to see it that makes the space.” p.143

“We think the photograph is the ultimate reality, but it isn’t because the camera sees geometrically. We don’t. We see partly geometrically but also psychologically. If I glance at the picture…on the wall over there , the moment I do it becomes larger than the door. So measuring the world in a geometrical way is not that true.” p.53

It’s hard not to be influenced with his work after seeing it. This is a photo collage of my girlfriend’s room that I made a few days ago for her birthday card. Click on the image for a bigger version of the design. It’s nice to play!

Max Colson photo collage david hockney documentary photography

Birthday card design

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Frieze 2011

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Frieze 2011 Max Colson Photographer Photography

I went to the Frieze art fair the Saturday just passed, which was quite an interesting experience. I didn’t go there to take pictures really, although I did bring my camera with me and fired off a few frames inadvertently. Mainly I went there to check out what new artists are doing and what’s out there at the moment. As there was so much stuff to see and I only had four hours I didn’t obviously see everything but there was definitely some great stuff there.

I just have to say this artist Walid Raad whose work I saw there was just brilliant. Maybe I’ll ask Santa to buy me some of his work for Christmas 🙂

Here are some other snaps from the fair:

Frieze 2011 Max Colson Photographer Photography

Frieze 2011 Max Colson Photorapher Photography

Written by Max Colson

October 17, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Made me giggle

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Har har har

tate modern satire art and culture government policy mayor of london

Written by Max Colson

September 26, 2011 at 11:15 am

Thomas Struth and Awesomeness

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I just checked out the Thomas Struth exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London: what an immensely brilliant experience.

To be quite honest I didn’t know a lot about the artist before I went to the exhibition but I can say that the retrospective really gives you a serious insight into the obsessions of this exceptional photographer. This guy is seriously ON IT. My favourite part of the exhibition deals with his investigation of things that we see to be worth looking at and not worth looking at.

The first floor of the exhibition is exclusively dedicated to the artist’s photographs of awesome constructions. These images are split into two parts: ones that depict the things that people queue up to wonder at, and the ones that show the things which don’t attract attention. Noticeably it is always the technological machinery that isn’t being looked at by anyone, whilst the the works of art and religious buildings are the objects that attract our most awestruck gazes. Here are some examples of what I mean:

1. Religious and artistic constructions:

Pantheon, Rome Thomas Struth

Pantheon, Rome (by Thomas Struth)

Thomas Struth San Zaccaria, Venice

San Zaccaria, Venice (by Thomas Struth)

Audience 7, Florence, 2004 Thomas Struth

Audience 7, Florence (by Thomas Struth)

2. Technological constructions:

Thomas Struth, Semi Submersible Rig, DSME Shipyard, Geoje Island, South Korea, 2007

Semi Submersible Rig, DSME Shipyard, Geoje Island, South Korea (by Thomas Struth)

Times Square, New York, Thomas Struth

Times Square, New York (by Thomas Struth)

Stellarator Wendelstein 7-X Detail, Max Planck IPP, Greifswald, Thomas Struth

Stellarator Wendelstein 7-X Detail, Max Planck IPP, Greifswald (by Thomas Struth)

As you can see, all of Struth’s photographs are incredibly framed. It’s really cool that the artist captures the technological constructions in a way that shows that they are as immense as the religious sites (just look at the image of the oil rig in South Korea!)

Yet Struth has also chosen to photograph these particular tech constructions mainly because no one is looking at them. As we can see in the oil rig image, there is no one queuing and both dock workers are fairly busy with other things.

Essentially Struth’s images show us power and the way it works in society by asking the simple question: why is it that we consider some things to be awesome and other things to be not? Or to put it more bluntly: these technological constructions are the ones that have been built by the powers that control our modern age (e.g. science, commercialisation and communications); why aren’t we looking at these at all?

Awesomeness. It’s a bit frightening isn’t it?

Priceless – TFL’s new ‘art’ advertising campaign

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TFL lost property

A poster for Transport For London's 2011 Lost Property Campaign

A great idea is a great idea. This one comes from the field of advertising. TFL’s (Transport For London) recent art exhibition for their lost property office is very nice. Let’s break it down.

Real World Problem: The issue that TFL had was that only a few people were coming to lost property to claim stuff because they had already assumed that their property was stolen immediately after they left it on the tube (I surmise).

Creative Challenge: How does one suggest that the above isn’t true?

Creative Solution: Create an art exhibition out of the art objects left in lost property (cos let’s face it all of the electronics and clothing articles would have actually have been stolen).

This campaign is very slick because it communicates the value of the objects that end up in the lost property in a way that will appeal to a broad range of people, whilst cleverly using objects that actually don’t have any financial value (ie which are the ones that are mostly left in lost property). The power of words like ‘exhibition’ and ‘curation’ are impressive here.  As is the way that we perceive art. If you would like to see exactly how these marketing techniques work you can now actually buy posters of this unclaimed art from TFL’s shop. It is very savvy.

But more to the point who in their right mind is really going to ever give two hoots about a lost property advertising campaign unless it’s sexed up like this?

Ohhh sexy, artistic lost property. It’s very well done.

The portrait of anonymity (post about Roderick Henderson’s work)

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I came across the work of Roderik Henderson after my MA coursemate Simon Bates flagged his work up. I’ve been looking through his work and I just wanted to do a little post about some of his portraits because I think they are really great.

His  series entitled Island is comprised of images which are taken of people from a community in Holland, and are set in the lifts that they use to go to and back from work.  If you look at the images you’ll see that what he has  produced is a series in which he has intentionally given the viewer  almost no insight into who the people are,  because of the location that he has decided to shoot his portraits in and because of the way that he has positioned his subjects in relation to the viewer. The cold, metallic surface of the lift is the perfect place to situate a series of portraits so scarce in personal information.

I just thought this was rather interesting given what I’ve been trying to do with the portraits on my current course assignment; I’ve chosen people with locations that will suggest something about them and what they do. But how much does this actually say about them as a person, besides the visually obvious? And when does this excercise become not worthwhile?

I thought Henderson’s intention was a provocative place to come, given my portrait assignment. It’s fascinating to see an artist who has worked so hard to make sure that what is visual does not actually give that ‘window into the soul’ that the portrait so often tries to convey.

 

 

Written by Max Colson

March 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Points of confluence

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I brought Taryn Simon’s latest project Contraband to the open tutorial session with Paul earlier this week. Basically Simon installed herself at two locations where contraband objects gather after being confiscated from passengers and packages before they enter the USA (these locations are the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Site and the U.S. Postal Service International Mail Facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York). It’s pretty interesting and you can check quite a few photographs from the series on this interactive web page here. Simon’s website also has a summary of the project here.

I find Simon’s identification of these locations absolutely masterful. Not only has she identified a point at which visually intriguing objects gather, but she knew that by cataloguing these items they would become symbols of something that is much larger than the physical situation in which they were photographed; I honestly find that kind of photographic perception to be as exciting as the photographs themselves.

Bird Corpse

USA American Viagra

Sala, Pork Fat

Perfume and Cologne (counterfeit)

Written by Max Colson

March 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm