Tuesday, August 26, 2008

photos of photographers taking photos

yesterday, 'Young Curators, New Ideas' organizer Amani Olu forwarded me ArtCal's new review of the show. i thought it was interesting and that others might want to check it out too.

but i thought one of the reviewer's points was a bit strange:
"Charles Benton's Opposing Photographers presents a more conceptual bend... With two back-to-back slide projectors cued to trade slides of photographers, the work catches the viewer in a crossfire of sorts — an interactive, if less inspired, update on Janice Guy's seedier works."
in the 70s, Janice Guy took mirror self-portraits (see below), featuring reflections of the camera and her nude, reclining body. (i don't find them seedy.) it's an interesting link to make, because at first it seems purely visual: both works happen to have a camera in them. but it's true that both projects explore and poke at the dichotomy between subject and photographer.

i perceive Janice Guy as exploring the agency of the subject and the role of the feminine in art. her photos are purposefully sensualized, and also contain the mediation of the mirror as a reminder of the question of vanity (and gaze).

Benton's work (above) is also concerned with the line between photographer and subject, but is even more interested in the troubling third: the viewer, placed in the middle of the volley between the two. the curator's statement says the piece aims "to experience not just the gaze of the photographer towards his or her subject, but also to reflect that gaze back and enable the viewer to experience both subject and object simultaneously." a bit grandly stated, perhaps, but cool to think about. my take on the slide presentation was that it was cute and fun, and did something interesting with the snapshot cliché of folks with cameras taking photos of each other.

what do you folks think? are there links to Janice Guy that i'm not thinking of?
(also, are there actual seedy photos of hers that i haven't seen? — oh, do send them on.)

otherwise, one of Guy's photos was in the New York Times yesterday too...but wait, haven't i seen that in the Times before? oh yes, last year. gee, they sure love sticking that photo at the top of their arts reviews... see below. i thought it was interesting to see the different tones/contrast in the Met-supplied image vs. the White Columns-supplied (2007) image.




Charles Benton said...

As you say, my installation is concerned with the 'position' or viewership of a photograph's observer inside or around the photographer/subject relationship. I think that Guy's photos do this, but more politically rather than temporally/spatially as in the installation.

Though I believe my work also touches on a number of the issues which are more immediately apparent in Guy's photographs... I think ultimately Guy's photos and my own project (which extends beyond the installation in question) are two sides of the same coin.

lexi said...

thanks so much weighing in! i'm so interested to hear that you do consider them two sides of the same coin.

i'm guessing there are a lot of other photo projects, too, that show the photographer 'caught in the act' with the camera, as it were... (perhaps this is worth a post in itself...)