Thursday, February 16, 2012

Henry Bond

          YBA artist Henry Bond began his artistic life creating photographs in London that quickly came to be noticed by Nicholas Bourriaud. His work was lumped into the concept of relational aesthetics, because his photography and video work was accessible and highly interactive with the public. In my research, I was able to see how Bond's artistic career morphed from a social critique on Londoners to that of an almost-psychoanalyst who heavily researched crime scene photographs. His series The Cult of the Street in 1998 was his first look at how London society was overly obsessed by consumerism and fashion. He took the photos in such a way that they could have easily been mistaken for snapshots, but were ultimately too well composed and structured. I found his photographs to be visually compelling for the most part, although some of them are very plain. I had a large struggle with the fact that very few of his images are unavailable online, even with heavy digging. Such is the way with modern artists at times.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"The Keeper of Retinal Memory"

          I was, very excited to hear Nick Olson's lecture earlier tonight. A young photographer practicing outdated photographic techniques? Yes, I would love to hear about that. I know I'm already a bit in this vein, preferring to stay away from digital photography and focus on black and white film, but I did not even think about tintypes being a legitimate option for regular photographic practices. Olson discussed his world views, which related directly to his photographic practice. He used the phrases "slow down" and "do things deliberately" multiple times through his presentation, which shows how important these ideas are, both in his life and in his art. He focused a large portion of his presentation on his choice to live in a self-sustained environment, very close to nature, both as an apprentice and an artist in residency. I appreciate the idea of taking a step closer to your work and slowing down to truly understand the machinations of things, though I do not believe everyone needs to go live in the woods to do it. That is not to say Nick Olson was suggesting everyone go to the woods. He did, however, raise a valid point for any artist.
          Nick Olson discussed several of his bodies of work, two of which involved a sort of re-photographing of tourist locations to show how people inhabiting them have changed the landscape. In this way, he is able to take a 19th century art practice and bring it to light in the modern age. By using the same technology as those who made the original images his concept is drawn from, he meshes the past with the present. Old technology in a modern digital world.