Friday, November 14, 2008

wassenaar, and the almost-forced disregard for the viewer

i'm intrigued by the proliferation of new art photography magazines.  i just checked out Noel Rodo-Vankeulen's online magazine Wassenaar.  i was taken with Johanna Reed's thoughtful interview with Lina Scheynius, whose work i had not seen before.  there is a casual, messy raunchiness to her work (including her fashion work) that manages to feel more present and unique than it at first seems it should (especially after Goldin and McGinley and other snapshot confessionals).

of her more personal, confessional work, Lina Scheynius says:
"My favorite pictures are the ones I have taken completely without having a viewer in mind. When I work on my personal pictures the viewer doesn't enter my mind until I start the selection process for my website. And even then I try to not think about him or her. If I did, I think a larger section of my work would remain unseen, as a lot of it is extremely personal to me and not initially captured to be viewed by others, but more as you mentioned, to document. Or experiment. I guess that it is my almost forced disregard of the viewer that gives you the impression that I am fearless."

what do you think?  do you buy this explanation?  it's true that it is the apparently-offhanded freedom, the spontaneous grain of the images that feels refreshing.  but from my perspective, i would poke and question the idea of being able to disregard the viewer.  these images seem to me to beg for the viewer's participation.


Ian Aleksander Adams said...

I think you only feel that way upon viewing the image.

I totally understand what she is saying, I definitely don't take a lot of pictures with any kind of viewer or final placement in mind. Certainly some are already placed in a mental context (Hey, this moment is perfect for so and so), but my favorites often end up being the images that were taken almost in an automatic state, a trance, or practically sleepwalking. I swear I once woke up in a parking lot with my rollei, and no socks or shoes on.

Davin Risk said...

It's a game of semantics but any photo taken by a person (i.e. not a random auto-captured image) has an intended viewer. That viewer may initially only be the photographer but that still shapes the image greatly.

I very much agree that there are images taken in what seems like an automatic state. The photographer can often act upon intuition, taking photos with such rapid visual and mental judgment that they seem to be automatically created.

But on a basic level, simply taking a photo implies a viewer or else life would just be life experienced and put to memory and not reimagined in a framed static form.

Zach said...

I think it is possible to photograph without any real viewer in mind. But as far as the reason to photograph, isnt it ultimately to show someone? So in the end it is about the viewer and their perception of the photo.

Anonymous said...

Is it without regard to the viewer's reaction or is it being made free from any buffers or editing controls?

Thomas said...

even surveillance cameras and satellites make pictures with a viewer in mind. Photos/artworks made entirely for one's self are like masturbation (made with something in mind). But then, lots of pictures taken with a very specific audience might also be described as masturbatory. ha.

So I guess this ploy is just disingenuous, or it's a creative device designed to get the artist out of her own way, which is a tactic that would probably benefit anyone, on occasion.

I work with both techniques, obsessive engagement and intuitive responsiveness. Each has it's own advantages... t