Can the cryptic, strange, and disparate contents of government agency photography archives be art? Of course they can! At least when assembled by artists with the vision to think beyond the more conventional forms of art to realize that everything human beings create carries with it some kind of inherent artistic statement. The book that Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel assembled in the 1970’s, Evidence, did something like this:
All the wealth of information the photographs in Evidence provide, disrupted from their original context and placed into an intuitive visual essay about the ridiculousness of vanity and the pathetic loss of power, makes the pictures themselves essentially unknowable and inscrutable, and more strange and potent for it.
The article does a great job of explaining this. Check it out.
Is is any wonder that art is the only thing that makes any sense to me any more?
– via The Paris Review
Just a reminder that witnessing is a powerful act, and that recording what one witnesses can influence who’s voices are represented in history. This is why journalists are so important: they are our witnesses. In America, journalists are protected by the Constitution, which means at least they have a shot at fighting charges in court, but in Egypt, they walk a dangerous line between recording reality and being forced to pay for the fear that this reality engenders in the government. Mahmoud Abu Zeid, or “Shawkan,” is a journalist, a witness to Egyptian history, and for that, he is in jail.
– via Huck Magazine
Theres no question that modern photography has improved leaps and bounds in quality over its earlier incarnations. But though today we have ultra-high resolution and super-fast shutters, have we lost something genuine in the imperfections of photographs? After all, photography is art, and a camera is a manmade machine: perhaps the quest for the perfect representation on an object through an image is misdirected…
– via Hyperallergic