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Photogs / Photo Exhibits This is the place to discuss a particular Photographer (work, style, life, whatever), as well as to post Gallery and Museum Photo Exhibitions and your own impressions of them. As we march on in this new digital world, it is often too easy to forget about the visual importance of the photographic print, as well as their financial importance to the photographer. It is also interesting to remember that some guy named Gene Smith shot with lenses that many lens test reading "never had a picture published in their life" amateurs would turn up their their noses at, as being "unacceptable."

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What's so great about Franks 'The Americans'?
Old 06-03-2009   #1
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What's so great about Franks 'The Americans'?

I have many photography books, many of which I like. I also have the seemingly obligatory copy of Robert Franks "The Americans" and I just bought "Looking In" as well. I'll try to keep the question simple, - I love Ginsberg and Kerouac - and I really do like photography, so why don't I like Frank? It's not dislike, either, it's just that I don't see why this book is so great. I do see that it was revolutionary in it's time, but is that it?

Please keep in mind, I'm really not trying to be an ass. Just curious.

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Old 06-03-2009   #2
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I kind of felt the same when I bought it (and still do I guess). But it is a classic and has some interesting historical aspects.
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The Americans
Old 06-03-2009   #3
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The Americans

It pointed out the hypocrisy of the times. David
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Old 06-03-2009   #4
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It pointed out the hypocrisy of the times. David
That, to a certain degree, but it's often more interesting to see yourself as an outsider sees you. I doubt that any American at the time could have shot that particular road trip because most of the things Frank found interesting in America would not have been considered "interesting". Consider the african-american man & his wife on the motorcycle, as an example; even had it been shot by an Amerian photographer it would have never been acceptable to exhibit it.

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Old 06-03-2009   #5
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I went and picked my copy off the shelf and sure enough for me its still great. Somethings can't be explained but its all there espcially the humanity. Hey I can't stand Frank Zappa but others think different .

So many great images.....page 131, 149,11 so many even the last one in the book.

Just move on if its not for you.
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Old 06-03-2009   #6
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In addition to taking pictures I also greatly enjoy photography books and seeing how other photographers created their images.

The Americans is one of my favourite photography books.

Why is that, for some of the reasons cited above. However more significantly the book and it's images really "speak" to me. It is how he captured his images, the emotion in the images, the story, the feeling and so on. The perspective (ie point of view) is often brilliant.

I can understand why not everyone feels the same way. To elaborate on that point let me give you names of two other photographers who are considered as icons and their images just don't resonate with me. Those are Eugene Atget and Walker Evans. I can see why people regard their images to be very good, but the style doesn't appeal to me.

So to some extent it is a personal thing. In other words what images speak to you personally..
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Old 06-03-2009   #7
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It really is a landmark work in photography. There are many reasons why it's great, most of those reasons have been discussed and elaborated upon. I'm not going to try to rehash all the reasons. One could summarize it any number of ways, because there are many themes and point of views within the work. It's easy to view the book multiple times and get more out of it each time (or a slightly different reading).

For me, right now, I really enjoy the book because it is more than just a loose collection of photographs. I like the structure of the book, how it's broken into parts and themes. I also like that while the book contains some outstanding images that can stand on their own, a lot of the images are mostly successful within the context of the book (the old sum > parts). The concept that every image does not have to be a knock-down zinger and that individual images are stronger when juxtaposed with other images or when collected together thematically is useful to anyone who has tried to collate and bring a group of images together into a cohesive presentation.

Besides all the obvious and overly discussed reasons, 'Americans' is a great study for a photographer who might be interested in presenting their photographs, particularly in book form.

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Old 06-03-2009   #8
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Ahem...now that you mention it, I have never found the book very interesting or exciting. But I was afraid to say so. Thanks for breaking the ice.

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Old 06-03-2009   #9
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Walker Evans hated it also when it was exhibited.
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Old 06-03-2009   #10
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I like how the book works as a whole, without many "iconic" images. Its a very thorough photo essay with a lot of depth.
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Old 06-03-2009   #11
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To understand why it's great and why so many establishment photography people really hated it when it came out (it was even called "communist" but of course everything was), you have to understand the times, which is hard if you weren't there or haven't studied them. The book is a remarkable indictment of 1950s America; if you want to understand why all hell broke loose culturally/politically/socially in the 60s, "The Americans" is a good place to start.

It also broke down the gallery door for rough, snapshot-style street photography. It's hard to imagine Winogrand or Friedlander emerging if Frank hadn't cleared a path for them.

I'm going to see the show at SF MoMA tomorrow; I'll let you know if it changes my mind. :-)
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Old 06-03-2009   #12
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I'm going to see the show at SF MoMA tomorrow; I'll let you know if it changes my mind. :-)
it's an excellent exhibit. Advice: Once you get into the 'Americans' section pay attention to the flow of the presentation of the photographs. It can be easy to skip the order if you're not following the count on the placards.

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Old 06-03-2009   #13
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I enjoyed the show at the SFMOMA. Kerouac's intro drafts, the wall of rough prints and like Ray stated, it helps if you stay with the flow. I think Frank spent more time in certain places which felt more inspired in those locations than others. One of my favorite photos was of a shoe shine man in a Tennessee restroom surrounded by urinals. The photo looked like it was taken by an unnoticed outsider, but I wouldn't call it pedestrian. Somewhere it stated something like, his images are those that wouldn't be published in Life magazine (at the time). To those who are fans of Frank, I suggest seeing the exhibit. Also, I own the expanded edition of Looking In and think it was well worth the price.
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Old 06-03-2009   #14
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I like the cafe shot a lot. Plus it has a forward by Jack Karuac. What more do you want?
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Old 06-03-2009   #15
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I see these books, by the "masters" in two ways when I look at them. First is just the initial impact on ME, who I am, what I know... through MY filters. Somehere mentioned Walker Evans as someone they don't care for much. My initial response to him is the same.

However, there's the other just-as-important way of looking at the work of these people. They cut a path for us. Many of the things they did had not been seen before. These folk took big chances separating themselves from the tastes of the time. I sooooo appreciate that they did that. We are now freed up to take a MUCH wider look at our worlds. So, thanks Robert, Walker, and Eugene, and all the others that came before us. :-)
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Old 06-03-2009   #16
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What I find interesting about Robert Frank and "The Americans", is it lead to me to discover those "other" photographers who were also producing work during this time, such as Louis Faurer and William Klein.
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Old 06-03-2009   #17
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It may not be a GREAT book Now
BUT at 'The Time' it worked and stirred Controversy.....

Perhaps in this Age
were All abit Jaded....
just a Thought - Cheers-H
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Old 06-03-2009   #18
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I would be careful about being critical of someones work around here. I recently in the thread '100 eyes' expressed my lack of enthusiasm for the photographers ability that were presenters. Here is what I got:

Sisyphus: You are arrogant and your comments are unwarranted (whatever that means).

Le Vrai Rdu: You are quite arrogant.

Pablito: You must be a superstar compared to the presenters.

And the most constructive by Robklurfied (R, you really should try to expand your vocabulary, words are power): I am by implication an anatomical part in the rectal area that is odoriferous.

Sounds familiar; attack your critics.

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Old 06-03-2009   #19
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Even if you don't like the work in the book, maybe the style is not for everyone, don't miss the exhibit. It's one of the best photography exhibits, as it documents the execution of this body of work. Whether you like the result, it captures the methods and mindset that went into photograph taking and editing of that time.
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Old 06-03-2009   #20
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Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I would be careful about being critical of someones work around here. I recently in the thread '100 eyes' expressed my lack of enthusiasm for the photographers ability that were presenters. Here is what I got:

Sisyphus: You are arrogant and your comments are unwarranted (whatever that means).

Le Vrai Rdu: You are quite arrogant.

Pablito: You must be a superstar compared to the presenters.

And the most constructive by Robklurfied (R, you really should try to expand your vocabulary, words are power): I am by implication an anatomical part in the rectal area that is odoriferous.

Sounds familiar; attack your critics.
God you're arrogant, John.
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Old 06-03-2009   #21
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Thanks.........Something must be wrong, I have never been called arrogant before, now you are the third; strange all three times have been in reference to the '100 eyes' thread. I guess I'll just take it as a compliment.

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Old 06-03-2009   #22
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OK, I'll be arrogant. You have to look at things in the context of their times. It was the era of the picture magazines such as Life, Paris Match, Stern. TV was in its infancy. The picture essay was really a collaborative effort between writer (they had some text), photographer, editor, and art director. With the right synergy going great things were possible!

Often the photos were taken in rushed situations, horrid lighting, with pushed grainy film exposed through lenses that were neither crisp nor multicoated.

They were constructing "essays" and the photos were chosen because they could be put together and tell a story, not because they were great images. Alone some of them might stink but by themselves they were just building blocks, not buildings.

Go forth with a pocket full of Kodak Super-XX or maybe some DuPont Superior 2, a pair of Leica III-C bodies, if you were really lucky, maybe 35/1.8, 50/1.4, and 85/2 Nikkor lenses and a Weston Master III meter that could barely give a reading in livingroom light. Do better than those guys did.
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Old 06-03-2009   #23
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I hope you are not talking about me, Al. Because I look at things now, are they of good composition, are they developed well (or PSed well), is the subject interesting or and as Pickett Wilson says 'so what?' And by subject, I mean: does this image stop me and make me think; what is the subject feeling, thinking; or do I think or I do say what does the photographer want me to think or feel, if the latter, it is out. I haven't seen Franks book so I am certainly not talking about that, so I guess this is OT.

But if you were not talking about me, Al. It was a lot harder to take an image 40-45 years ago than it is now. And I don't think I'm being arrogant with my last statement. As you say: pick up a Leica IIIf and try it.

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Old 06-03-2009   #24
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I can understand that these guys broke ground. That makes them important from a social and cultural perspective. But any work that is so dependent on its social context to be appreciated can't be a great work of art. I was once walking through the Met and stumbled upon a Velasquez portrait that stopped me dead cold in my tracks for 5 minutes. I know nothing about the artist, his time, his society his milieu or the subject in the portrait. Now that's what a great work of art does to you.

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Old 06-03-2009   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I would be careful about being critical of someones work around here. I recently in the thread '100 eyes' expressed my lack of enthusiasm for the photographers ability that were presenters. Here is what I got:

Sisyphus: You are arrogant and your comments are unwarranted (whatever that means).

Le Vrai Rdu: You are quite arrogant.

Pablito: You must be a superstar compared to the presenters.

And the most constructive by Robklurfied (R, you really should try to expand your vocabulary, words are power): I am by implication an anatomical part in the rectal area that is odoriferous.

Sounds familiar; attack your critics.
Dear John,

You make reference to statements from several of us from another post without quoting the statements, which has the effect of removing them from any context. The statement that I made to which are referring is totally misconstrued. I intended no offense to anyone.

The quote was (and, I can't remember which famous sage I am quoting): "Opinions are like a--holes; everybody has one and most of them stink."

John, that statement refers to the WHOLE of the human race of which you and I are both members. Taken in context, what it means is that neither your opinion nor mine is anything but an opinion (ie, "IMHO"). Mine is as potentially "stinky" as yours.

The point of me sticking that quote into the 100 eyes thread was NOT, I repeat: NOT, to offend you or anyone else. Not my style. In fact, what I trying to do was cool the rapidly overheating rhetoric on that thread with some people throwing verbal darts at you and you throwing back. My commentary was about how quickly we ALL can descend into nastiness.

All the statements made by anyone anywhere about the quality of art are necessarily nothing but opinions. There are no facts when giving criticism and stating what we like and don't like.

I am sorry if you were offended. Not my intention at all.

That said, to drop into this thread some ill feelings you had left over from that thread without actually quoting what others would I and others actually said is sophistry -- a mere rhetorical trick.

I am sure that you are no more nor less an a--hole than anyone on RFF, me included. My opinion probably often stinks. (I rigorously avoid saying anything negative about anyone in public fora. If you read back at the 100 Eyes thread, I believe you will see that my statement was not directed at you.)

Anyway, if I offended you, please accept my apologies. I was as much annoyed at the way people responded to your opinion as I was at the tone with which you dismissed the link the starter of that thread had posted (you have to admit, you comments were pretty strong).

My own attitude is, if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything. When I see a post I like, I say so in a reply. When I see one I don't like, I try to avoid saying anything and move on to another post. I figure others would much rather hear encouragement than anything else.

I don't know enough to post on the critique forums here; I have opinions, but I'm no expert. I went to grad school to study film production. What does that prove. Only that I qualified for student loans.

Anyone here who doesn't think their own sh*t stinks is probably fooling himself/herself. Me included. Mine stinks. Yours does, too. No reason not be friendly here. We're all human

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Old 06-03-2009   #26
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In the context of the times (Steichen's Family of Man exhibit with its "feel good" notions that "hey we're all people united in our humanity"), Frank's book was (and remains) important for exposing how far from that ideal America remained, showing the persistence of racism, disaffection, alienation, political demagoguery, etc., etc. I simply cannot imagine that his image of the New Orleans train car could be bettered for showing the racist realities still governing life in the US. It is a masterpiece image that can stand all on its own.

Not all of them are masterpieces or powerful on their own, though, and paradoxically, that too is why I view "The Americans" as a model photobook: it is far, far more than a collection of "perfect" images ... for all the reasons Ray articulated above. It needs to be read not looking at each image singly, but looking for connections between images and groups of images -- the mundane ones grow in expressiveness and meaning by the other images they are grouped with. It has a deliberate structure in a way very similar to a story or poem, a narrative, as Al noted. Putting that together is of an order of magnitude harder than throwing technically fine images together at random. Frank wasn't the only one to do this of course ... Nan Goldin's "Ballad", while completely different in subject matter and of a later period, is similarly ambitious ... but I submit that he pulled it off wonderfully and the book's reputation is completely deserved for that reason. Frank wasn't trying just to make pretty pictures but to say something he felt was important.

But if the message doesn't "move" you, it doesn't move you. As the old saw goes, "there's simply no accounting for taste."
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Old 06-03-2009   #27
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I still feel you were refering to me, Rob. But no hard feelings.
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Old 06-03-2009   #28
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Its already been said: the cultural separation between the photographer and the subject (American culture) works very well, affording Frank what the poet Philip Larkin would have called 'clear sighted realism' that can only come from being outside peering in.

I agree that there are very few images that blow me away, but seen in the context of a somewhat disturbing commentary on American culture, it was a remarkable landmark body of work. It took guts to do it, but I suspect once he started his vision was instinctive and energised by a perpetual sense of amazement. In some respects, visitors to the US experience similar surprises. Having been away from the UK for a good few years and away from civilisation as a whole, it is remarkable how foreign certain aspects of my own homeland (Britain) appear to me. Everything becomes so much clearer and I find myself riled by things I would perhaps not have noticed before. I have the same experience setting foot back in London. Although I was never a city boy and never liked London much, going back after being in sandy places feels like being a tourist wandering one of those mocked up Wild West ghost towns for tourists.
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Old 06-03-2009   #29
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I always liked "The Americans".
Sort of took away that Leave it to Beaver, Daddy Knows Best vision of America.
A vision so loved and promoted in the 1950s USA by americans and their news media.
I liked the photos and that is good enough for me.
They were photos taken by a "european Walker Evans".
An America that is always on the move like a Lee Harvey Oswald in a used 53' Mercury.
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Old 06-03-2009   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I would be careful about being critical of someones work around here. I recently in the thread '100 eyes' expressed my lack of enthusiasm for the photographers ability that were presenters. Here is what I got:

Sisyphus: You are arrogant and your comments are unwarranted (whatever that means).

Le Vrai Rdu: You are quite arrogant.

Pablito: You must be a superstar compared to the presenters.

And the most constructive by Robklurfied (R, you really should try to expand your vocabulary, words are power): I am by implication an anatomical part in the rectal area that is odoriferous.

Sounds familiar; attack your critics.
Please quote accurately or disclose you are editing the quote. What I said was:

You must be a world renowned superstar then, so much better than these slackers:

# Contributing Photogs «

* Alan Chin
* Christian Als
* Donna Ferrato
* Ed Kashi
* Frank Fournier
* George Georgiou
* Steven Shames
* William Coupon
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Old 06-03-2009   #31
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I can understand that these guys broke ground. That makes them important from a social and cultural perspective. But any work that is so dependent on its social context to be appreciated can't be a great work of art. I was once walking through the Met and stumbled upon a Velasquez portrait that stopped me dead cold in my tracks for 5 minutes. I know nothing about the artist, his time, his society his milieu or the subject in the portrait. Now that's what a great work of art does to you.

/T
lol, that's just because people are different. does everybody stop dead in their tracks in front of that velasquez? no. does that mean it isn't great art? no. same goes for the americans.
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Old 06-04-2009   #32
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lol, that's just because people are different. does everybody stop dead in their tracks in front of that velasquez? no. does that mean it isn't great art? no. same goes for the americans.
With that kind of relativism, there is no great art. Only different reactions, all equally valid. That's why we have art criticism, to help us understand why our reactions are what they are and that maybe they aren't the final measure of a work's worth. So far, I have read pretty weak justifications for why "The Americans" is a great work. Can't anyone do better than that?

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Old 06-04-2009   #33
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It was a reality check, cultural dissonance if you prefer, it confronted a cosy image the US had of itself with the reality.

Naturally that shock only works the once for that generation, and is easy to misunderstand today, if one lacks the imagination to see that; and as Al said, try doing better technically with the same equipment.
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Old 06-04-2009   #34
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With that kind of relativism, there is no great art. Only different reactions, all equally valid. That's why we have art criticism, to help us understand why our reactions are what they are and that maybe they aren't the final measure of a work's worth. So far, I have read pretty weak justifications for why "The Americans" is a great work. Can't anyone do better than that?

/T
Surely these opinions are the same ones that are responsible for the existence of any kind of consensus appreciation. Most opinions are in the minority, but when there is some sort of positive consensus along common lines within that minority then it is hard to dispute its significance, whether one agrees or not. People are prepared to pay to own it or to see it, either in a book or gallery, which says something too (I know this is thin ice).

Maybe its just easier for a foreigner to feel the work in a raw form than for an American, for the reasons mentioned. An understanding from an academic perspective does not have the same effect. I can completely see how this work was lost on many Americans at the time and still is now. This is about being an outsider and seeing what insiders have become habituated to.

I don't find it the most aesthetically appealing body of work, but I do feel its significance as a body of social documentary work and think it is important not to remove it from its historical context.
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Old 06-04-2009   #35
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Pablito, if you will notice there are zero quote marks in my post except for '100 eyes', therefore, it is my version of what was said. If you feel the connotation or denotation of your statement was incorrect feel free to remedy.
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Old 06-04-2009   #36
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Originally Posted by Tuolumne View Post
With that kind of relativism, there is no great art. Only different reactions, all equally valid. That's why we have art criticism, to help us understand why our reactions are what they are and that maybe they aren't the final measure of a work's worth. So far, I have read pretty weak justifications for why "The Americans" is a great work. Can't anyone do better than that?

/T
Oddly, though it is you that is standing on your relative reaction and decreeing that because of your personal opinion Frank can't be great art. Art critics and the institutions of art in our society (museums, galleries, book publishers, the buying public) have a consensus of sorts that Frank is great art -- this is an established fact. You disagree with their assessment, which is fine, but don't then expect that because we cannot "convince" you that the art is somehow suspect. Frankly (pun intended), I doubt that you would be convinced no matter what argument is presented. And that too, is fine by me, because in the end art isn't only about appreciating something intellectually, it's about experiencing it on a visceral level. It is ludicrous IMO to expect that everyone everywhere (or even most people in most places) would have the same experience of any work of art. I suppose somewhere there are people who read Shakespeare and do not consider it to be art and would not do so even were they presented with the most eloquent arguments. Does that change one iota greatness of The Bard's work?

It seems self-evident to me, that one essential part of art is always relative: the individual experience of it. You're looking for universal standards where none exist: no one can give you the experience of Frank's work that would change your opinion, you have to have that experience for yourself. If you cannot, then that is proof enough that your dreaded "relativism" in art is an inescapable reality. :-)

Critics and museums are not any more able to hold an objective position than anyone else, of course. But the consensus of the "art world" on many artists and pieces of art is an established fact and hence not really relative at all. What this fact means, however, is debatable as the art world and its consensus can be dissected in all sorts of ways that have nothing to do with whether or not a piece of work is "great art" or not (i.e., market / economic; class dynamics; etc., etc.).

Your appreciation of Velasquez, while you say it was pure and context-free, was precisely embedded in a very real (in a physical sense even) context: a museum. Even though you knew nothing about it, that you encountered the painting there in that physical and social space validates it in a very rich (almost overpowering actually) social, political and historical context. That you stood awestruck before the painting in that hallowed context, while the next fellow walked on by with hardly a glance captures precisely both the objective and relative aspects of art: the museum validates, collects, displays, and informs the public about many items of "great art" (an objective reality based on a large and complex social and institutional assessment of the art's 'worth'), but the experience of the art is still an individual and capricious thing (a relative appreciation based on the idiosyncracies of the individual viewer).

All of that is to say, trying to "convince" someone else of the greatness of a work of art as you are insisting we do (the implication being that if we cannot then you are correct in your assessment of Frank and we are mistaken) is pointless: no reasoned argument will suffice to give someone else a moving experience of the art in question. Such arguments can only be hollow because they remain outside the experience, at best they merely look back on it or point to it.
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Last edited by Papercut : 06-04-2009 at 08:37.
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Old 06-04-2009   #37
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Nice post Kevin.

Whenever people ask me to convince them about something- that this is art, that climate change is happening, or whatever, I always ask them to convince me that is not first.
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Old 06-04-2009   #38
RayPA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papercut View Post
Oddly, though it is you that is standing on your relative reaction and decreeing that because of your personal opinion Frank can't be great art. Art critics and the institutions of art in our society (museums, galleries, book publishers, the buying public) have a consensus of sorts that Frank is great art -- this is an established fact. You disagree with their assessment, which is fine, but don't then expect that because we cannot "convince" you that the art is somehow suspect. Frankly (pun intended), I doubt that you would be convinced no matter what argument is presented. And that too, is fine by me, because in the end art isn't only about appreciating something intellectually, it's about experiencing it on a visceral level. It is ludicrous IMO to expect that everyone everywhere (or even most people in most places) would have the same experience of any work of art. I suppose somewhere there are people who read Shakespeare and do not consider it to be art and would not do so even were they presented with the most eloquent arguments. Does that change one iota greatness of The Bard's work?

It seems self-evident to me, that one essential part of art is always relative: the individual experience of it. You're looking for universal standards where none exist: no one can give you the experience of Frank's work that would change your opinion, you have to have that experience that for yourself. If you cannot, then that is proof enough that your dreaded "relativism" in art is an inescapable reality. :-)

Critics and museums are not any more able to hold an objective position than anyone else, of course. But the consensus of the "art world" on many artists and pieces of art is an established fact and hence not really relative at all. What this fact means, however, is debatable as the art world and its consensus can be dissected in all sorts of ways that have nothing to do with whether or not a piece of work is "great art" or not (i.e., market / economic; class dynamics; etc., etc.).

Your appreciation of Velasquez, while you say it was pure and context-free, was precisely embedded in a very real (in a physical sense even) context: a museum. Even though you knew nothing about it, that you encountered the painting there in that physical and social space validates it in a very rich (almost overpowering actually) social, political and historical context. That you stood awestruck before the painting in that hallowed context, while the next fellow walked on by with hardly a glance captures precisely both the objective and relative aspects of art: the museum validates, collects, displays, and informs many items of "great art" (an objective reality based on a large and complex social and institutional assessment of the art's 'worth'), but the experience of the art is still an individual and capricious thing (a relative appreciation based on the idiosyncracies of the individual viewer).

All of that is to say, trying to "convince" someone else of the greatness of a work of art as you are insisting we do (the implication being that if we cannot then you are correct in your assessment of Frank and we are mistaken) is pointless: no reasoned argument will suffice to give someone else a moving experience of the art in question. Such arguments can only be hollow because they remain outside the experience, looking back on it or pointing to it.

Where's the Applause/Bravo!/Standing-O smiley?!


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Old 06-04-2009   #39
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There are plenty of "great photographs" that would never qualify as "great art".

The photo of the naked little Vietnamese girl running towards the camera engulfed in flaming napalm might well have been the turning point of public opinion about a pointless conflict. Great art? Hell no!

The photo of a pistol pressed up against a prisoner's head, I forget who or which war, while blood and brains fly out the other side. Good timing but not great art.

Perhaps Frank's mistake was in recording the mundane rather than the spectacular but people remember him for his body of work, not for just a single spectacular picture. Quick! Name the other two phographers!
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Last edited by Al Kaplan : 06-04-2009 at 11:53.
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Old 06-04-2009   #40
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Isn't this thread about Robert Franks? Why all the sniping? Come on guys, take it outside. It was probably inappropriate for me to even post my apology to John here (it should have been via a PM) as no one should be clogging threads with things so far off topic, let alone personal. Work this out off the thread. Or start a new thread. Differences of opinion and healthy debate are great things. However, debate about personalities and personal insults, both real and perceived, are better done elsewhere.
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