Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A post on posts

Wondering what I could photograph that was new under the sun, or how I could present it, I decided to focus on a frequently occurring item in these parts: fence posts. And to succumb to the lure of the photographic typology.

In searching for a link to reference this particular photographic genre, I found this at a serious photographer's blog;

'While there are many great bodies of work employing this method, there is also a lot of crap. Let’s be honest, for people who have no real conceptual thinking in their work, the typology can become an easy trick. It gives work the illusion of cohesion and intellectual rigor.'

Well, that's me stuffed then.

In fact it was a very interesting post, I loved the year on year series of photos by Nicholas Nixon of his wife and her sisters that she drew my attention to.
(PS - As Fantastic Forrest pointed out in comments, the above link is to a general overview of Nixon's work, including the portrayals of AIDS sufferers. '25 years of the Brown sisters' his photos of his wife and her sisters, is shown here.)

I seem to be linking a lot lately. There's so much good stuff to be found...

(The posts might be worth enlarging...)


Lesley said...

Nice posts post :-))

Dave said...

The illusion of intellectual rigor, eh? This is a bad thing? I can think of far worse illusions to strive for.

What would be truly awesome would be to have an entire blog devoted to pictures like these: each day, another post.

A Write Blog said...

You do come up with some interesting links.

If time were infinite I would wander forever.

Alas, a snapshot or two will have to do.

Zhoen said...

Art snobs accusing others of lack of rigor?

I rather like themes and puns. Good posts.

Granny J said...

My late husband once noted that once you put a label to someone or something, you've put it in its place and can move on... I found your fence posts made a fine and interesting collection which, by the way, shows a slightly different approach to matters fencing than I see in our countryside. I think it's rather fun to collect photos around a particular theme -- it may not necessarily be art, but it is conversational.

herhimnbryn said...

Great links and photos. Coincidentally while walking with hound yesterday I saw a wonderful old weather worn post and went to grab my camera.....I'd left it home...bugger!

Fantastic Forrest said...

I like your fence posts, but I see where the typology could be used superficially by people unlike you, an obviously talented photographer.

The link you gave for Nicholas Nixon showed a variety of photos, but they weren't his wife and her sisters - the series was described as people on porches, although there were a lot that didn't fit that either. It was somewhat disturbing to see the extremely frail old people and a younger man who appeared to be wasting away. No doubt Nixon is a talented photographer, but these subjects were unnerving.

Can't wait to see how you illustrate Joe's poem!

Lucy said...


Lesley - I'll keep you posted.

Dave - another wittily post-modern idea, the post blog... as for striving for the illusion of intellectual rigour, fake it till you make it I say!

Write - I know what you mean. In fact I'm not sure how well my links were chosen, vis Forrest's comment below. I think sometimes people r=follow them up more carefully than I do myself.

Z - you have a point. Really, though, I didn't find her blog too precious or snobby, but quite accessible, and she clearly has a warm and genuine enthusiasm for the subject. I'd have left a comment to say so if I could have done so without signing in. I think, having come to the awareness and practice of photography late, talking about it as an art subject is simply unfamiliar ground for me. I like puns too.

GJ - thanks. I'm not sure, in fact,that the conversation and the art are that separate now. As much the point as process or product seems the be the talking about it. I like the narrative attached to the posts. They are for mostly single strand electric wires, for cattle, functioning in place of barbed wire... actually, I think I'll make a separate post about this.

HHB - wooden posts are actually interesting I think, as presenting the interface between natural form and human intervention on the landscape... yes, I am going to write a new post about this.

FF - thanks for your conscientious following of the links, which I think you probably did more thoroughly than I did. The Nicholas Nixon one was simply a selection of his work, I thought. There was probably more of the 'Brown sisters' series on Cara Phillips blog. I'll try to find a better link. On the question of typology, I think your right, it's very easy to produce the form in photography, with the apparent meaning that pattern lends things, but without necessarily much substance. Actually, I initially did the 'posts' thing for a bit of punning fun, as I thought, without much substance, but it has led me to think rather deeper about it...

I'm not in fact illustrating Joe's poems this time; we thought about that but decided against. It is a text only call-and -response type of thing.

leslee said...

This reminds me that posts are such are rural thing. I used to see them (and sometimes photograph them) when I lived in the countryside. Posts in the city are mostly metal - and generally lacking in character and charm like these.