Isabella Myers' Archive

Archive Module 10

Posted on: April 30, 2010

5 images

Bernd + Hilla Becher, Leige-Seraing, Belgium 1980

Bernd + Hilla Becher, terre rouge, esch-alzette, luxembourg 1979

Bernd + Hilla Becher, duisbourg-bruckhausen, germany 1995

Bernd + Hilla Becher, homecourt, lorraine, france 1980

Bernd + Hilla Becher, terre rouge, esch-alzette, luxembourg 1969

their black-and-white images are all taken in the same
clinical manner: a front and profile angle provide a clear
and objective documentation of each structure,
the building is placed in the centre of the frame
and isolated from its environment. the mass of photos are
made coherent through categorisation into typologies,
revealing the vast diversity of objects all with the same
purpose. non-identical, yet uniform –
the idiosyncratic differences and similarities become
fascinating.

the becher’s describe their subjects as
‘buildings where anonymity is accepted to be the style.’
presented collectively, their images transform these buildings
into objects worthy of interest, if not admiration.

the typological approach to photography has historic
as well as aesthetic significance. we turn to photography
because it is a rich means through which to represent –
and interpret, reality – and the documentary aspect to the
bechers work has been widely appreciated by engineering
and architectural historians.

Text and images from http://www.designboom.com/history/becher.html

1 song

The Stillness is the Move by Dirty Projectors

1 video

1 new artist

Sally Mann

Sally Mann was born in 1951 in Lexington, Virginia, where she continues to live and work. She received a BA from Hollins College in 1974, and an MA in writing from the same school in 1975. Her early series of photographs of her three children and husband resulted in a series called “Immediate Family.” In her recent series of landscapes of Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, and Georgia, Mann has stated that she “wanted to go right into the heart of the deep dark South.” Using damaged lenses and a camera that requires the artist to use her hand as a shutter, these photographs are marked by the scratches, light leaks, and shifts in focus that were part of the photographic process as it developed during the 19th century. Mann has won numerous awards, including Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Her books of photographs include “Immediate Family,” “At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women;” and “Mother Land: Recent Landscapes of Georgia and Virginia.” Her photographs are in the permanent collections of many museums, including The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

“Untitled (#1)”
1998
From the “Deep South” series
Tea-toned gelatin silver print, 38 x 48 inches

“One of the appropriate metaphoric things in this whole process is that I found out from a doctor that collodion was used in surgery during the Civil War to bind wounds, and I thought ‘Oh, how fitting that I should be taking this process to the deep South.'”
– Sally Mann

“Untitled (#30)”
1998
From the “Deep South” series
Tea-toned gelatin silver print, 38 x 48 inches

“Untitled (#34)”
1998
From the “Deep South” series
Tea-toned gelatin silver print, 38 x 48 inches

All images and text found at http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/mann/index.html#

I’m not sure what draws me to these images, perhaps that they are contemporary landscapes that are absent of contemporary imagery, and completely absent. If I were to see these images without knowing who took them or when they were taken, I would assume they were archival images from the 19th century. I feel like that is important to what I am investigating in my work, because it becomes a dialogue about context of imagery for me. How you clue your viewer into what you are getting at through technical choices. How do I give a subject context through these technical choices, when otherwise they are anonymous. With both Sally Mann’s series titles and her oldfashioned style photographs, I can begin to understand that her photographs are focused around history of the south, perhaps civil war, and from there I have some sort of common ground with her. Otherwise, without this title choice and the choice of using old methods of developing and taking photographs, I could come up with a number of possible concepts that Mann could be working from. I imagine I would take contemporary issues and add them into the situation, even if I were to assume that these are southern landscapes, I may draw ties to contemporary events like Hurricane Katrina. Mann has the ability to use technical choices to hone in on her topic, and I want to work out a way to do this because so much of my work involves technical choices.

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