Thursday, April 17, 2008

subject echo: the float

what is it about the float?

is it the subject's total abandon? are freedom, relaxation, abandon, fear of drowning, etc... feelings we are trying to capture in photographic work?

more practically, is it because we float during vacation or leisure, times when photographers are more likely to have their cameras handy?

is it a romantic meme gleaned from art history?

has the visual proliferation of floating images just reinforced that floating is something to take photos of, creating a reproductive cycle of float photos?

or am i missing the boat here?

comments, please, on floating the subject. (and more links!)

(the images above are by:
Davin Youngs, Doug Dubois, Jérôme Icardo, Mikaylah Bowman, Justine Kurland, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Dru Donovan, and Richard Misrach.)


Nicholas Calcott said...

Well, part of it might have something to do with water being a symbol of the unconcious... As photogs, this particularly dreamy, relaxed state of the subject floating in repose like they are asleep is echoed by the symbol of the water.

Me personally, I'm with you on this one.

Also, check out Francesca Romeo's floating picture.

lexi said...

don't get me wrong, i like the photos. i'm just curious. thanks for the link to Francesca Romeo's work -- i've never seen it before.

Rex Flex said...

It has become a quotidian, Dave Hickey word, gesture
that allows the viewer to escape from a final verdict of guilty morbidness to one of beauty as hopeful reality. It's like a switch that we can turn off the lights with and when we think it's too dark, we can turn it back on for our own safety. Look they're dead, oh no they're not , man it's kinda beautiful isn't it?

boliyou said...

Interesting selection of photos. I agree with Nicholas on this, although the first thing these photos bring to my mind is Ophelia.

subjectify said...

thanks, boliyou.

yeah, that's why i included those links to Millais' 1852 Ophelia and Delaroche's 1855 The Young Martyr...

Anonymous said...

I don't know, it just seems like such an easy and attractive situation to shoot. Even Crewdson has one and it's on the cover of his monograph Twilight as an obvious reference to Ophelia. I think it basically has to do with a meditative state, something primordial, as well as sharing a kinship with sleep. I'm always looking to find a way to shoot people without barriers and by this I mean, removing elements that might allow them to give me the artificial pose - introducing water into the frame seems a quicker way for me to do this, as well as nudity, or placing them on the ground. They are simple tricks but in some way I am looking to compromise my subject, even if these are fairly comfortable means of making them vulnerable. Um, and thank you Nick for not only printing my work, but supporting it. You rule. - francesca

Ellen Rennard Photography said...

Check out another floating person at David Prifti makes gorgeous wet plate collodion prints; he's one of the artists currently being shown in the DeCordova Annual Exhibition and has an opening at Gallery NAGA June 6.