constructed # 6 / diptych # 217 ~ there and back again

big city cat nap ~ (embiggenable)

country store ~ (embiggenable)

In yesterday's entry I mentioned the cruel radiance of what is and my failure to have any of my submitted pictures selected for 2 juried exhibitions. The topics are closely related but let's start with the following 2 juror's statement from both of the exhibitions:

The images selected for this exhibition are poetic, evocative, and deeply interpretive. They masterfully capture some of the spirit of their subjects, rather than simply telling us what things look like ...
... in the case of the image that won the juror’s award, (a) construction of a magical vision that does not exist outside the mind of the artist.

In both of these statements, the juror's bias against pictures which are "simply telling us what things look like", is quite clear. In the first juror's statement it is also quite clear, upon viewing the selections, that "deeply interpretive" means pictures which clearly exhibit the application of effects which are intended to elicit a manufactured, in the words of the second juror, "magical vision that does not exist outside the mind of the artist."

As a counterpoint to those juror statements, consider this call for entries for an exhibition into which one of my pictures was selected:

As juror for this exhibit, what am I looking for in an image? In a word: everything. I want to see well designed photographs that have depth, strong structure, good light—and within them a spark of life ... What don’t I want to see? Images that are contrived, forced, synthetic or derivative. Images where software or hardware have made the picture.

The primary difference in the former vs the latter quotes is, iMo, rather simple. The first 2 quotes were made by juror's who could properly labeled as artists who use the medium of photography to create their interperative art expressions whereas the latter qoute was made by a photographer who uses the medium of photography to make photographs.

In a very real sense, this dichotomy is nothing more than a redux of the Pictorialists vs. Group f/64. The Pictorialists were focused on moving away from the early perception of photography as a merely mechanical means of reproducing what was pictured whereas Group f/64 wanted to promote a modernist aesthetic that was based on highly detailed images of natural forms and found objects.

Let me be perfectly clear ... I am not writing that either of these approaches to making pictures is superior or inferior to the other. What I am writing is that they are two entirely different kettles of fish.

The (let's call them) New Pictorialists are, like their earlier counterparts, dedicated to deconstructing a photographic image into an interpretive construction of something that does not exist outside of the mind of its creator. The Modernist Group f/64 practioners, much like their earlier counterparts, are dedicated to making photographs which deal in the coin of the cruel reality of what is realm.

As I have written, I am firmly rooted in the Modernist (or is it Post Modernist) Group f/64 so the chances any of my pictures being selected for an exhibition which is being jurored by a New Pictorialist are slim to none. It has happened but those times were exceptions which proved the rule.