What kind of photography is it? And is it art?


General Photography

Mark Sullo was kind enough to point out this following article (incl. the bits I’m going to talk about). The article, He finds beauty in the basic, is about Taj Forer’s Threefold Sun, and on the second page, you can find the following: “Forer’s work fits every definition of ‘documentary photography.’ His settings are found (not staged), his images are straight (not manipulated digitally) and his photographs feel intensely natural.”

And it continues “But as Forer learned last year, the label makes some gallerists uncomfortable because it conjures photojournalism and a tendency to prize story over aesthetics. […] Now he’s cautious about how he describes his work, but he also sees the debate as, well, pointless. ‘Every photograph is a document,’ he says. ‘It doesn’t necessarily take a huge set and a lighting crew and actors and costumes and makeup artists to make a very powerful image that we respond to on many levels. I think that a conceptual conversation can happen just as readily around a straight, found image.’”

I find this comment immensely useful, since it attempts to break down an artificial barrier between conceptual work and all the other work (I don’t know a good name for it, but I’m hesitant to call it “non-conceptual” for a variety of reasons).

I do think, that one could also break down the barrier coming from the other direction - as I indicated (somewhat cryptically) here, and in that light the assertions made by Tod Papageorge in this interview (“That said — too briefly — my argument against the set-up picture is that it leaves the matter of content to the IMAGINATION of the photographer, a faculty that, in my experience, is generally deficient compared to the mad swirling possibilities that our dear common world kicks up at us on a regular basis.”), just published by Alec Soth, don’t make as quite as much sense as they pretend to do.