June 8th, 2007

Chris Keeley

Betelnut Beauties

Betelnut Beauties

Betelnut Beauties at Flickr. "...Betelnut girls (Binlang Xi Shi) are a unique part of Taiwan culture. They sit in brightly-decorated glass booths wearing skimpy outfits, and sell cigarettes, drinks and betelnut to passing drivers. It’s a controversial trade but not actually illegal. The question of whether the girls are exploited is open to debate – certainly their own perception is mostly that they are doing a job like any other, and the less they choose to wear, the more they sell."

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tobie_openshaw/sets/72157594581621891/
Chris Keeley

Eniac Martínez: Camino Real de Tierra adentro

Eniac Martínez: Camino Real de Tierra adentro

Eniac Martínez: Camino Real de Tierra adentro at Zone Zero (50 b&w photographs). "...El Camino Real started as a fragile footpath four centuries ago. Spanish explorers etched it deeper during their expeditions northward to claim land and riches for the King or Spain. Thousands of migrants, miners, missionaries, and merchants traveled this very road throughout time. The trail that began as a scratch in the earth is now a bustling highway with cars zipping by and planes flying overhead."

http://zonezero.com/exposiciones/fotografos/mtzeniac/index.html
Chris Keeley

From Shore to Gursky"

From Shore to Gursky"

There's a two-part exploration and comparison of the works of Stephen Shore and Andreas Gursky (and others) at Artinfo (part 1, part 2). 

But if Shore and Gursky share a fascination in the deadpan, in other regards their work varies considerably. Shore’s style evolved out of a found photograph aesthetic, and the deliberate artlessness of certain images comes attached to an ironic smile. 

http://www.artinfo.com/articles/story/25152/from_shore_to_gursky_part_i





From Shore to Gursky, Part II


The deadpan comes out of a straight, or "objective," approach to photography; it minimizes the role of the photographer and asserts that the camera simply captures the world as it is. The theatrical, on the other hand, sees the photographer as a much more active creator. His tools include staged sets, subjects who participate in the making of the image, and all the tricks of darkroom and Photoshop manipulation.

You might say that theatrical photography stands in relation to the deadpan as Abstract Expressionist painting stands to Minimalism: it can be extroverted, loud, exaggerated, and performative. It proudly flaunts its artifice. And unlike the deadpan, which purports to document the world, it is beholden only to the photographer’s imagination.

Jeff Wall, the subject of a recent retrospective at MoMA, was an early proponent of this style. His images are staged, so that photography, in his hands, becomes an expedient means to create fiction. His photos look like film stills (and, in this case, a famous painting from art history, too).

But his work is subtle and quiet; whereas other practitioners of theatricality would move toward

 



Chris Keeley

Hippie Jim

In 1971 I saw Neil Young in acoustic set at the Cellar
Door--blew me away. The afternoon of his show, my
girlfriend and I turned the corner onto M St at 34th and
practically fell over him as he struggled out of a cab
[yes, a cab!--no limo; no hangers-on--except us]] with his
guitars for a sound check.  We helped him into the Cellar
Door with his stuff. We asked to stay and, to our enormous
surprise an pleasure, he said ok. We watched him roll
through almost every song on After the Gold Rush, in the
virtually empty space, until he was satisfied, while we sat
mesmerized in a corner. It was way cool. He was incredibly
friendly and upbeat. We got two tickets to the show that
nite, he gave us an autograph, we said our goodbyes. the
evening show was unforgettable.


Jim


Jim Hickey