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'Our age gives the impression of being an interim state; the old ways of thinking, the old old cultures are still partly with us, the new not yet secure and habitual and thus lacking in decisiveness and consistency.'-- Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human
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'An aphorism, properly stamped and molded, has not been "deciphered" when it has simply been read; rather one has then to begin its interpretation, for which is required an art of interpretation.' -- Nietzsche, 'On the Genealogy of Morals'

Bernd and Hilla Becher: "industrial archaeology"   September 8, 2014

Bernd and Hilla Becher were interested in industrial form and use of industrial plants: refineries, furnaces, water cooling towers, wooden houses of relatives and friends of the area Siegerland. Subsequently, they decided to document these industrial forms , since the industrial enterprises and facilities of heavy industry, which for decades had been an integral part of the German landscape, had came under threat of demolition.

BecherBHKopertower.jpg Bernd + Hilla Becher Koper tower, Mine Hannover, Bochum, Germany, 1973

Bernd + Hilla photographed the architecture of industrial areas of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, UK and USA. The composition of these works is primarily intended to draw attention to architectural and design features of buildings, placed in the center of the picture. The objects are depicted in a frontal perspective and they are usually made in a neutral daylight. There is no place for people.

BecherBH blastfurnanceGermany.jpg Bernd + Hilla Becher, blast furnace, Siegen, Haynerhyutte, Germany. 1961

The Bechers were not attempting to flatter architects or approve of the design and function of the buildings they photographed, as is often the case in the classic understanding of architectural photography. The photographs are in no way a sentimental harking back to the past or a reassurance of German identity.

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| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:57 PM |
a deluge of images   August 13, 2014

The sheer quantity of photographs currently being made is stunning. The image is replacing text.

Marvin Heiferman says that it is estimated that every day, 1.3 billion photographs are made. Of those, 350 million are uploaded to Facebook. Google+ users, who are currently being offered some of the most advanced and easy to use photo-editing tools to lure them away from Facebook, are posting another 214 million a day. 150 million photos are shared through Snapchat, 55 million via Instagram, and another 1.4 million are added to Flickr. Many of them are just going to disappear.

In the analogue past people photographed Kodak moments---the special moments/events in their lives. Now, with the smart phone, people are taking the representation into their own hands and to confront, rehearse, perform, and then publish images that track where or declare who they are. The current uses of images in our everyday lives suggests that photography traditional definition as a hobby or career is been replaced by photography central role in our culture. We are all image creators now and we are taking more and more pictures of details: coffee, signs, painted nails, plates of food, feet.

Rather than being a universal language photography is multiple visual languages. People have wildly different contexts in which they use photographs — different criteria for assessing them, reasons for taking them, priorities when looking at and evaluating them. Photographs are useful to people in different ways than they are useful to others. That means we need a broader appreciation of photography as it comes to play an ever more central role in our lives.

The most sustained and promoted discourse around photography has taken place in the worlds of art and art photography, which has been preoccupied with images made as art or the handful of vernacular images that get upgraded to that status. This is a very narrow focus that excludes most photographs and when reading and writing alone longer define 21st century literacy in a world where images and language are intertwined and of equal importance.

The Marvin Heiferman, edited Photography Changes Everything argues that rather than concentrating on fine art and documentary photography, as is usually the case in serious studies of the subject, we need to see photography as the sprawling, kaleidoscopic thing that it is. Most photography has nothing to do with art or documentary work. Instead everyone from scientists and engineers to soldiers, anthropologists, social reformers, fashion designers, diplomats, poets, and pornographers have used photography as a tool of their trade.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:50 AM |