I bought this book in response to a post I have written about Nan Goldin and her work ‘The Ballad of Sexual dependency.’ While researching I found that Goldin’s biggest influence was the work ‘Tulsa’ by Larry clark, she stated in an interview, “Larry Clark’s book that was published in the 70’s called ‘Tulsa’ and, that had a huge influence on me because he was shooting and publishing work from his own life, And there weren’t people doing that at that time.”

Below book blurb taken from Amazon’s introduction to the book:

When it first appeared in 1971, Larry Clark’s groundbreaking book Tulsa sparked immediate controversy across the nation. Its graphic depictions of sex, violence, and drug abuse in the youth culture of Oklahoma were acclaimed by critics for stripping bare the myth that Middle America had been immune to the social convulsions that rocked America in the 1960s. The raw, haunting images taken in 1963, 1968, and 1971 document a youth culture progressively overwhelmed by self-destruction — and are as moving and disturbing today as when they first appeared. Originally published in a limited paperback version and republished in 1983 as a limited hardcover edition commissioned by the author, rare-book dealers sell copies of this book for more than a thousand dollars. Now in both hardcover and paperback editions from Grove Press, this seminal work of photographic art and social history is once again available to the general public.

Amazon.co.uk

‘Tulsa,’ Clark’s photography book, was published in 1971. Between 1963 to 1971, Clark photographed his own and his friends drug use creating harsh documentary images that showed their activities such as domestic violence, drug misuse, holding guns and even death of a baby.

These images were so controversial that Tulsa, where the images were taken, refused to hold an exhibition of them because they didn’t want to be associated with such negativity and drug use.

The book itself is intriguing and graphic, should I like these photographs? Should they make me go “Wow!” Does that mean there is something psychologically wrong with me if I think these high contrast, film like images are actually artworks created with true feeling and meaning?

The harsh darkness of the images have a film like quality, in fact on opening up the fist couple of pages I was reminded of James Dean, those iconic photographs of him and the amazing film, ‘Rebel Without A Cause.’

The Book – Tulsa

The cover was printed on some very soft black smooth like paper however this became easily marked with finger prints and scuffs. After bending back the spine a couple of times a page fell out, spine quite cheaply put together unlike some previous editions which were sewn together.

It has 64 pages in total with around 56 images depending how you would classify some of the pages with sequences.

Unfortunately there is a very strict copyright for this book so I cannot post images but I have found a YouTube video that shows the pages within the book which can be found below:

Tulsa by Larry Clark, uploaded by CAMERA

I have taken a few notes from the above video and added views and information of my own from reading about Larry Clark’s Tulsa and viewing my own copy of the book. My notes can be read below:

I would recommend this book the images as portraiture, as narrative, as sequences are an excellent source to learn from and they are just beautifully shot, the contrast and the grain is amazing.

The above YouTube video was inspirational because it shows you how, on the 40th anniversary of the book ‘Tulsa’ a group of artist showed the work in an abandoned ballroom in Tulsa. Tulsa would not hold an exhibition of the work because they felt the negativity would be bad for them, drugs and guns isn’t a good image for a town to have.

Those that put the exhibition on, blew the images to poster size and pasted them to the dilapidated walls. The outcome is truly amazing and suits the images well, you can see from the stills from the YouTube video below the expressive outcome.

I would love to have my street art exhibited this way in the town/ place the images were taken – brilliant concept!

The completed set up for the exhibition

I have found this book has moved me quite a lot. It is truth, life, living, death and victims of drugs. The images haunt you, entice you to want to know more and give a story of lost hope. As the youngsters life story unfolds, the images go from happy go lucky, strong friendship groups with love and laughter to a desolate, argument, drug filled isolation. The impact on the group and individuals is shocking to see especially with the death of one couples baby.

But it shocks me in another way. It shocks me because the images are beautifully shot. They are reminiscent of old black and white teen films with handsome men and beautiful women. The contrast in the shots add to the feeling of Hollywood film stills helped along by the grain present in some of the shots.

It is an honest life story not a coffee table chat book but a life lesson, raw, beautiful and moving.

My hand written nots above contain more information.


31st January 2020

Research the sequences of Duane Michals online.

http://www.dcmooregallery.com/artists/duane-michals/series/sequences

OCA Foundations in Photography Course Folder pg122

I have written about Michals for my blog on the 21st November 2019 and you will find the research under the heading, Research point – Sequence: Muybridge, Michals, Arnatt, Hilliard and Ruscha, here.

I have just researched the above website address given to us by the Course Folder and I am now researching photography as a storytelling tool.

DC MOORE GALLERY below are some of Michals series taken from this website.

Death comes to the old lady, 1969
THE SPIRIT LEAVES THE BODY 1968
THE FALLEN ANGEL 1968

The above works all tell a story and this is enhanced by the works titles which lead us on a specific journey with the visual information. I actually really like how the composition of the images are laid out in the top section ‘Death Comes to the old lady, 1969’ because it reminds me looking on a filmstrip and deciphering the images in a sequence.


01st February 2020

Because I have already looked into sequencing by Duane Michals, I am going to research the art of photography and storytelling a little further.

Giving your photo a title or description is often a chance to give the viewer context. You can guide them towards the interpretation or meaning of the photo. You can also just flat out tell them what the photo is about, leaving little to the imagination. But how can you do this within the photo itself? Is there an advantage to one method or the other? That’s what we’re discussing today. Examples Shown in This Episode Dominykas Jasinauskas: https://www.instagram.com/dom.jas Immediate Family by Sally Mann: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1597112542/… Here for the Ride by Andre Wagner: https://andredwagner.com/herefortheride Family by Chris Verene: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1931885796/…

Matt Day youtube.com

Below: Zines = see notes, these images correspond with page 2 of the notes and are stills taken from the above YouTube video.

Below: Immediate Family, Sally Mann = see notes pgs 4-5, stills are taken from above youTube video.

Google search for Immediate Family, Sally Mann

The reason, I suppose, that this book is controversial is that it shows Mann’s three children, Emmett, Jessie and Virginia. The only thing I can see that would label these images as controversial is that she is opening up their lives for all to see, a bit like pimping them out to society. Shouldn’t your children’s lives be private?

First published in 1992, Immediate Family has been lauded by critics as one of the great photography books of our time, and among the most influential. Taken against the Arcadian backdrop of her woodland summer home in Virginia, Sally Mann’s extraordinary, intimate photographs of her children reveal truths that embody the individuality of her own family yet ultimately take on a universal quality. With sublime dignity, acute wit, and feral grace, Mann’s pictures explore the eternal struggle between the child’s simultaneous dependence and quest for autonomy—the holding on and the breaking away. This is the stuff of which Greek dramas are made: impatience, terror, self-discovery, self-doubt, pain, vulnerability, role-playing, and a sense of immortality, all of which converge in these astonishing photographs. This reissue of Immediate Family is printed using new scans and separations from Mann’s original prints, which were taken with an 8-by-10-inch view camera, rendering them with a freshness and sumptuousness true to the original edition.

Aperture aperture.org
Image taken from Aperture website aperture.org

The images are very detailed showing the children’s special and not so special times, very romantically portrayed in parts of the book and creative within the other. The images do not really touch me, I just see well composed children’s photographs, although I am finding it interesting to be nosey looking at what is happening in each image. Therefore perhaps Mann has drawn me in because although the subject of children bores me the narratives within the work have caught my eye.

Below: Here For The Ride, Andre Wagner = see notes pgs 5-7, stills are taken from above youTube video.

I love this book, shame there is not a way of buying a copy, so Google searched will just have to do. Apparently it is reminiscent of ‘Subway’ by Bruce Davidson.

There is some context at the front of the book and an index at the back telling the viewer information on the photographs and which page they can be found on. The actual pages with the photographs have no text on them so it is up to the viewer to build their own narrative. For me, I suppose the images appear my type of exotic, how America subways are portrayed in TV series and film. This means that some of the narrative I have gained is because of my preconceptions from fictional images and stories from the TV.

Looking at the images more closely, which includes in this work, the foreground, mid ground and background proves very interesting because of the wealth of information on the page. We have body language, facial expressions of people, the setting and the lighting all pointing the viewer into a narrative story.

Therefore the narrative really can be hidden in the details which give a far more complexed story than that which is gained at first glance.

Below: Family by Chris Verene = see notes pgs 7-9, stills are taken from above youTube video.

The set of images (above) that I have named ‘from wedding day to new boyfriend,’ begins with a wedding – loosing their jobs – day of the divorce – new house for the ex husband – new boyfriend for the ex wife. I have placed the series in the order they appear in the book and you can see how the images are sequenced and alternated on each subsequent page helping the viewer to see how the family life and circumastances have changed over time.

This book gives a lot of context to the viewer, each image has captions on top and below the image in a handwriting type which tell the viewers snippets of the events that are happening. At the back of the book is also information on the photography project, Verene states that he “… makes pictures of stories that anyone can understand these are natural images, not posed by the photograph but sometimes those in the photographs pose themselves emphasising what they are… I am present in the photos and my handwriting on them this is how I make my documentative photography.”

I believe that as a story teller we need to define how we are wanting the viewers to get the narrative from the images. The first way would be to carefully pre-plan the content and set a scene within the images. For this the image content would give clues to the viewers, content such as time of day, props, subject matter, and facial and body language. The second way to give a narrative would be to include text about the images somewhere which would feed the information directly to the viewer which leaves little imagination and working out of story lines.

I actually like the use of text. I also like how, when it is completed well, text adds an extra dimension to the overall visual aesthetic of the work.


27th November 2019

Youtube: The Art of Photography

For the exercise 3.3 Sequence, I have researched further and found this YouTube video which has some good basic information in it. The host also covers Duane Michals in depth, so I have taken detailed notes from the video which can be read below, some extracts I have added to.

Notes:

Photo sequence – a group of photographs that work together – they end up equalling a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Concept, illustration or a picture that doesn’t exist, it is suggesting that.

Eadward Muybridge in the 1870’s predates motion picture. He used complex systems of multiple cameras which would be tripped in sequence and he would end up with motion studies. People were not use to seeing photographs lined up like this and hadn’t experienced motion interpreted in this way.

Photography’s Eccentric Genius: Eadweard Muybridge. thedailybeast.com Photo: Courtesy Eadweard Muybridge via Sotheby’s Online. The link takes you to a very good article on Muybridge.

In the 1960’s a new conceptual phase began and Duane Michals is one of the photographers within this specific phase. He has thinking and concept behind the images.

Techniques he uses: Double exposure, slow shutter speeds allowing certain things to abstract in the image. He often incorporates his own handwriting into things.

Themes: Mortality, spirits, after-life, psychological undertones.

He is well known for image sequences that are more like story boarding – they tell a story. They are a sequence of images that unfold an event which usually is very simple.

Heisenberg’s Magic Mirror of Uncertainty

In the following text Duane Michals talks about the above photographic sequence, ‘Heisenberg’s Magic Mirror of Uncertainty.’

Duane Michals’ best photograph: French Vogue does quantum physics

‘I bought the mirror in Bath. It was the perfect way to illustrate Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle’

One day in 1999, French Vogue called me up to see if I could illustrate a feature on quantum physics for a special science issue of the magazine. I’ve always been interested in physics and I like trying to photograph things that seem un-photographable – rather than looking at reality, I aim to get deep inside it and explore. So I said yes.

When I was at school in Pennsylvania in the 1940s, our science teacher Mr Dunlap taught us that atoms had electrons, neutrons and protons, and that was pretty much it. But after the second world war, with the development of accelerators, much smaller particles were discovered: muons, quarks, gluons, bosons and others.

Then Werner Heisenberg, a quantum pioneer, said you cannot predict with any certainty the position or velocity of a particle – they interact in total chaos. That was revolutionary and it prompted Einstein to say he could not believe God would play dice with the universe. The notion that the fundamental expression of energy is something chaotic pulled the carpet from under a lot of thinking. How could anyone not be curious about that?

I bought the convex mirror in an antique store in Bath, on a visit to the Royal Photographic Society. I was so excited by its distortions, I brought it back to America. People on the flight must have thought I was the vainest person in the world – carrying a big mirror with me in the cabin.

I thought I could illustrate Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principlewith the mirror, which transforms everything in front of it. When my model moved it even slightly, her image changed completely. It was strange, liquid-like and very exciting. It seemed as if I was looking at her energy evolving and vibrating right in front of my eyes. Of course, we can’t see energy changing state at this level, but to see her distort into all these faces was still marvellous.

I made a series of shots and called them Dr Heisenberg’s Magic Mirror of Uncertainty. In the pictures, the models lips get bigger, her eye stretches and – in the last image, when I made her look at the camera – her cheek appeared in the mirror and there was no face at all. It was just a blank slate. That seemed the perfect way to end it – like pure white energy.

theguardian.com Interview by Karin Andreasson 2015

It is a series of images that show a women looking into a mirror – realism – duality – psychological undertone. It is not a time based study so it could be presented out of order.

Within this series, Duane is seen sitting on the right of the images.

Self-portrait, having tea with a friend. The story progresses from laughing to boredom to his friend falling asleep and finally in the last image they have left the picture frame, it is empty but their ‘set,’ cups etc…. It is a simple concept that has a beginning, middle and end. It is time based therefore the images have to be shown in order.

Chance Meeting, Duane Michals. Image from meero.com

Very simple, read from left to right, top to bottom row. You see how two gentlemen walk down the alley and there is a point in the middle where they are both together and one looks at the other, in recognition? and in the last frame the other gentleman looks back as though he has just remembered the other fellow? So you get a circle of the encounter.

What is being communicated in this set of images – What was the point of this encounter? So again it has a psychological undertone but it is up to the viewer to decide.

In this sequence time exists in a storyboard type format.

Image from Stony Brook University website

In the above sequence, ‘Things are Queer,’ you have to find your own relationship within the images because it is not a time based sequence but surrealistic.

Top left image: a bathroom scene with a picture above the sink that you cannot make out the content of.

Second image: we realise there are legs that are out of scale, out of proportion with its surroundings.

In the third image: we get to see the man in the bathroom.

Middle row left: we realise it is a picture in a book.

Fifth image: we see somebody is reading the book.

In the sixth image: The gentleman is moving down the hall.

In the bottom left image: There is a picture on the wall which we can see the details of which we find is actually image number six of the gentleman walking down the hall.

Eighth image: We get a reminder that it is the picture above the sink in the first image.

Ninth image: Finally we get the scene again from image 1.

This sequence does not suggest time, there is no traditional beginning, middle, end but we are seeing the surrealistic interpretation of what is the scene which is all inside of itself.

It is a complexed image sequence which is not time based but it is scene based.

In the time based sequences you get to see the set (constant background environment) it does not change. The sequence deals with how the actors within that set move within the scene and that is how we get the perception of time.

In the last example the set changes so it is two sets that live inside one another which creates the surrealistic quality and the loop.

If you are going to create a storyboard sequence there are two things to consider:

(A) The relationships of the images to one another eg do they have to be in a particular order, can they be taken out of order?

Another example would be Duane’s portrait of Andy Warhol which is four images of different parts of Warhols head, seen below.

Andy Warhol. Screen shot from Youtube, The Art of Photography (above)

This sequence works because (1) FAMILIARITY with the subject – most of us know who Andy Warhol is and (2) we are seeing the parts which equal greater than the sum, they give you an image of Warhol. If these images were isolated you will not know what the whole image is. It relies on the relationship of the images to one another.

(B) You have to consider time within sequence work, it either exists or it doesn’t exist, they are treated very differently.

In sequence work it is usually between four and nine images that work together. They work better generally this way because the layout works with non-prime numbers 4, 6, 8, 9 etc…

Assemble as a set.

This link will take you to another post that discusses sequencing and with it Muybridge, Michals, Arnatt, Hilliard and Ruscha.


21st November 2019

Images in sequence

What defines a sequence, as opposed to a series, is the connectivity of the images in time or concept…

… Can you identify how each of these artists is using sequence differently? look for inspiration.

OCA Foundations in Photography Course Folder pg 102

I am looking forward to researching this exercise and looking at different ways that various photographers have used sequence within their images.

I have found that people often interchange the terms sequence and series photography. However these are two distinct types of photography. Sequence photography captures a subject while it is moving in such a way that to the viewer it conveys motion in a fixed image. Series photography however is a set of images on the same theme which are also edited in the same style.

Below in the grid is an example of each of the photographers that I am researching for this exercise. Top left: Eadweard Muybridge, Top right: John Hilliard and Ed Rushca, Bottom left: Keith Arnett, Bottom right: Duane Michals.


Eadweard Muybridge

Father of Motion Pictures

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aG5erS2GNG0

Photograph bottom left, Eadward Muybridge’s Camera Shed “(Original Caption) 5/20/1929- Stanford Muybridge Memorial Exhibit- Photo shows long shed which contained 24 cameras taking first motion picture by Eadward J. Muybridge in 1878 of trotting horse and sulky.” Getty Images

Photograph bottom right, “Muybridge customised electro-shutters, c1880. UNITED KINGDOM – DECEMBER 02: The front of the electro-shutters used by Muybridge in his experiments. Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) was the first photographer to carry out the analysis of movement by sequence photography, an important stage in the invention of cinematography. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

Bottom Photograph, shows Muybridge’s early work where the cameras ran alongside the horse. The cameras were situated as the photograph on the left shows us, in one long line.

Study of Horse, Muybridge. Getty Images
Muybridge race horse animated.gif


By Eadweard Muybridge – The sequence is set to motion using these frames, originally taken from Eadweard Muybridge’s Human and Animal Locomotion series, (plate 626, thoroughbred bay mare “Annie G.” galloping) published 1887 by the University of Pennsylvania, Public Domain, Link

In the photograph below, Muybridge placed cameras at the side and in the front of the subject so that two viewpoints were photographed.

Head Spring
circa 1884: ‘Head-Spring,’ a side view and front view stop-action series of photographs of a man performing a headspring, Muybridge. George Eastman Museum/Getty Images

The photograph below, shows us how Muybridge began to shoot his subjects from the side, front and back perspectives.

Woman jumping over barrier, 1887. sfmomo.org

Muybridge’s work is very similar to the stop motion technique so his work is an early form of animation. His sequence images work on taking six to twelve individual images of a moving subject in quick succession one after another, therefore showing the movement of a subject within a small time frame.


21st Novemeber 2019

Duane Michals

Duane Michals is an American photographer who creates narratives within a series of images and is not only known for this work but his photographic multiple exposures and text that accompany his images which give his work another dimension.

Michals began his photographic career when visiting Russia when he borrowed a camera from a friend and began to shoot portraits. Following on from this start he has shot in various genres from portraits, street photography connected with deserted sites within New York and onto the more structured photographic works which were narrative based multi frame compositions. He has written, painted and drawn on photographs as well as manipulated them, he does not settle on one specific style but continuously pushes his artistic boundaries.

Duane Michals, Chance Meeting, 1970 

Michal’s narrative sequences, for which he is widely known take on cinema’s frame-by-frame format and rely on the sequencing of multiple images to tell a story. In the above work, ‘Chance Meeting,’ the background stays static but the characters within the narrative change position within the frame. It is us, the viewer who has to decipher the story within the sequence. However we do know the title and the philosophical ideas that he works within – death, gender, sexuality etc… so we are pointed to a specific direction for us to unravel the hidden content. The viewer will need to pair these clues with those within the images, for example, the gender of the characters, their age, clothes that they are wearing, body language, poses and the environment they are within.

Due to the viewers individuality, we are still able to come up with slightly different outcomes largely due to the fact our life experiences are different from each other and these influences will direct us differently.


25th November 2019

Keith Arnatt Self Burial (1969)

Arnatt is a conceptual British artist and photographer who has influenced the likes of Martin Parr.

Arnatt was fascinated with works of art that are created in the natural landscape but leave no trace of their presence behind. ‘The continual reference to the disappearance of the art object suggested to me the eventual disappearance of the artist himself’, he wrote. This sequence of photographs was broadcast on German television in October 1969. One photo was shown each day, for about two seconds, sometimes interrupting whatever programme was being shown at peak viewing time. They were neither announced nor explained – viewers had to make what sense of them they could.

Gallery label, April 2009

tate.org.uk

Self-burial, Keith Arnatt 1969

Below are the stills for the above TV video. However please note the video plays the sequence backwards from an empty picture image to the full man, I am not sure why but I thought it intriguing at least to see the images moving.

Self-Burial (Television Interference Project) 1969, Keith Arnatt

Television Interference Project: Self-Burial was shown on German television in October 1969. Each image appeared for two seconds on consecutive days which left viewers intrigued as to what was happening and many thought they were watching photographs of a suicide.

I find this concept quite cool, especially that the television station supported this artistic project. It also reminded me of The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells and the reported event of 1938 when it was broadcasted over the radio and people were hearing the story and believed that there was really a martian attack happening.

Self-Burial depicts Arnatt in a sequence of nine photographs, where he gradually sinks and then disappears into the ground. When seeing them in grid format I am reminded of the stop motion technique again. In this sequence of photographs the background is static and the only movement is Arnatt’s body which is slowly disappearing. The viewer does not have to decipher any hidden messages although they can question, ‘Why?’ is Arnatt performing this act.

Photograph: Courtesy Sprüth Magers/© Keith Arnatt Estate. Guardian.com

John Hilliard and Ed Rushca’s Every building on Sunset Strip 1966

Video taking the viewer page by page through the work, ‘ Every building on Sunset Strip.’
Hilliard and Rushca, Every Building on the Sunset Strip. Reed College Art Department

The above photograph from the Reed college Department Website (link above) shows how the 54 pages, 25 foot length book is folded in an accordion style.

Rushca photographed these images while driving up and then down both sides of the street in his pick-up truck with his camera mounted on the back of it. The images show photographic views of the mile and a half section of Sunset Street and they are collaged together and labelled with their building number.

Maquette for Every Building on the Sunset Strip, 1966, Ed Ruscha, gelatin silver prints and labels on board with annotations. The Getty Research Institute

Rushca’s work (Every building on the Sunset Strip) is a sequence that records a journey. It is very similar to how google can view roads and buildings and you can actually walk up and down them. Although this sequence shows us a journey in a specific place and during a specific time I am wondering if it comes under the heading of ‘documentary,’ because it is documenting that specific period which becomes history.

The documentary aspect would be the fact that he has recorded buildings, cars and signs etc… of a specific era, yet, it becomes conceptual because of the way that he has presented the images in a fold out book which the viewer can travel from left to right or right to left as though taking the journey themselves, or indeed stopping and observing details and moving around the strip as they wish.

I actually love the book ideas that we are learning about, I have used them for my fine art practices but I have never presented my photographs in such a way. Something I will definitely look into.

This link takes you to further research on sequences and looks in depth at Duane Michals images.