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Black & White 5-day Challenge 14-12-08

Final day of the challenge. Today's theme is structures.

Doing this exercise has been instructive as it forced me to think in different ways about my subjects and exposures. But it didn't deter me from my original thoughts about the sterile debate some entertain between colour and B&W photography.

For me, art is art, whatever the media. Debates between oil vs watercolour painters, photographers vs painters, colour vs B&W or digital vs film photographers bore me. They're different media, but if the image, or sculpture for that matter, move me in a progressive way, then it interests me.

So what if photographers "just" capture a moment; they still have to choose the right angle, aperture and so on to realize what they have in mind. And contrary to painters, they cannot decide to just add or remove something from a scene (although it is possible up to a certain degree with digital photography, though it's not usually something that I do, by simple choice, not by any sense of superiority or whatever). And while some B&W photographer say that colour is easy, I beg to differ since mastering colour harmonies and contrasts is a never ending quest, and in B&W you never have to worry about a distracting blob of colour in the background distracting the viewer.

I think any self-respecting artists should not only accept the possibilities and limits of their own media, but also those of others, and then rejoice in the expressions of so many different perspectives that fellow humans share. I don't enjoy Magritte's paintings because they are paintings; I don't enjoy Rodin's sculptures because they're sculptures; I don't enjoy Adams photos because they're photos. I enjoy them because they are beautiful and engage me as a human, whatever brush, chisel or camera they used.


Black & White 5-day Challenge 14-12-07

I usually don't post family pictures, but today I was out with my eldest and decided to pick him as my subject. As you can see, I visit Erik at Viva La Mort and got a 3D t-shirt: only look at it if sober!


Black & White 5-day Challenge: 14-12-4

I got challenged by my friend at Viva La Mort to post 5 B&W pictures in the next 5 days. I had already received and answered this challenge before. This time, however, instead of digging in my archives, I decided to shoot new stuff everyday. I got a number of decent shots, here are the winner and two runner-ups (size should be a good indication of which is which, but click to enlarge).


Lost and Found

Found this one while searching for this weekend's Pecha Kucha Night Osaka. It won't be part of the mix, but a whole bunch of others will! Come and join the fun!


Gursky Exhibit at the National Museum of Art, Osaka

Yesterday, thanks to a free ticket given to me by a friend, I had the chance to visit the Andreas Gursky exhibit. Known as the maker of the highest selling print, I was impressed, yet a little disappointed at the same time.

Of course, he is a very talented photographer. My favorite three are probably Untitled XIII (2002), Beijing (2010) and F1 Pit Stop IV (2007). Untitled XIII shows a landfill with plastic bags flying in the wind above. Had there been no flying bags, I doubt the image would have been as strong, as they look like angels fleeing the garbage of the Earth below. A very powerful image in my mind.

I like Beijing because I'm a fan of architectural photography, and it showcases a large triangle in the middle, a favorite subject of mine recently. He desaturated most the picture, except for some red on the left side. This reinforces the composition, adding a very graphic sense to the composition.

As for F1 Pit Stop IV, what attracts me to the pictures are two race queens, one which may be a transvestite. They may have been photoshopped in, as Gursky does not shy away from using editing software to enhance his pictures. If it is indeed a transvestite, it certainly adds a bit of humor, considering how manly race car driving is.

The one thing that did disappoint me, though, was reading about him in the book of the exhibition. Part of his success apparently resides in the fact that his prints are very big. From that point of view, is success of a photographer only dependent on the size of the prints? If so, the art world is in a bad state; otherwise, it seems quite reductionist considering his talent.

All in all, though, I was very happy to have gone to the exhibit. It is worth going on weekdays if you have the chance to avoid crowds and really have time to let the images sink in. As most pictures are huge, it is worth staying for each a few minutes, moving back and forth and changing points of view.

Partly inspired by his work, perhaps, here are two shots I took yesterday. Large size, of course! ;o)

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PR-y: Cornerstone to Distortion

Thank you Maya for getting in touch with me to obtain a copy of the Cornerstone, and a bigger thank you as she waited for my reply over 4 months (I haven't blogged in a loooong time) and was still interested.

In the meantime, Distortion was recently released. Rob Walbers is the sole photographer for this one, and it features the artists of Atelier Yamanami in Shiga prefecture. It's available in selected stores in Osaka, and by mail order too. Check this link out if you are interested, the book is really beautiful.

Triangular: Recent Iterations

I haven&t blogged in months. No excuses, really. Who know when I'll blog next? Nobody knows. Particle Man.

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