Sunday, July 5, 2009

stars and stripes, again

... which is in some respects a continuation of the 4th July theme, of course, but in others a reaction against the stuff that I've been working on today (for a paper aimed at the NAVSA/BVSA conference in Cambridge in just over a week's time - panic has jump-started me into writing.   My piece largely focuses on people who have produced pastiches of Victorian photographic styles - Annu Palakunnathu Mathew, Tracey Moffatt, Clare Strand - and much though I'm enjoying writing about their carefully constructed work, it belongs to a form of narrative photography that I don't have much chance to practice, or even think about, when thinking about an academic paper.

More than that, I read an interview with Strand in which she was very down on the notion of photographing for the sake of it - she starts from an idea, researches it, thinks carefully about how such an idea would be best treated by what photographic approach, and so on.   Which I'm totally in accord with as a means of approach - and it's an approach, of course, which is quite inimical to the Daily Picture.    So the sparseness of the chair and its shadow, the two stars that somehow must have escaped and become bleached and dessicated from some Christmas wrapping or tree decoration, suddenly caught my eye as an antithesis to this way of going about things - in other words, this may look tranquil, an accidental image created and caught in one of today's rare moments of sunshine - but actually there's an element of the transgressive, or at least the oppositional, about it.

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