Point of this project is to explore the power of photography and how an image can define a subject when it is extracted from reality This can be both useful and destructive so you need to be aware of how subjects define context and visa versa Look at artist’s that confront the viewer with their subject-matter head on and make us aware of how it is altered by photography.
Nikki Lee is a photographer that integrates herself as a subject into various contexts and makes herself appear as if she belongs. She s tudies various subcultures and ethnic groups, then transforms into a member of each group by adopting its style of dress, gesture, and posture.
Bleach-blonde Lee sits with an armed man beneath a rebel flag in a claustrophobic living room, before a bounty of chip bags and drink cans on crocheted cozies. The images are snapshots of Lee’s interactions with these groups She’s createing a sociological study.
Poses questions regarding identity and social behavior; Do we choose our social groups consciously? How are we identified by other people? Is it possible for us to move between cultures?
Lee believes that es sentially life itself is a performance.
When we change our clothes to alter our appearance, the real act is the transformation of our way of expression—the outward expression of our psyche Done with a completely straight face, right down to the red time-and-date stamp in the corner.
Lee's images are carefully composed self-portraits in the most downscale settings possible These ironic images erode the idea of a singular identity; they imply that identity is woven from many threads of social constructions.
Shows derogatory nature of people photographing the “savages” Shows the irony of this action and how it is belittling to American Indians
Her photographs and films examine the impact, consequences, and representation of war/tension between the natural landscape and its violent transformation into battlefields. Works between the formal traditions of documentary and staged photography
Instead of actual shocking events, she photographs places where war is psychologically anticipated, processed, and relived. Her series Small Wars (1999-2002) -reenacting battles from the Vietnam War in the forests of Virginia.
dramatizations of war—one a reenactment, one a rehearsal—one that is unexpected, removed, and revelatory Documentary=problematic traditionally- assumptions of commonly held values. Questioning how much we can really know from documentary photographs. asks us to reconsider the fictions that cloud the ways in which war is experienced, remembered, and represented
raises questions about the reliability of seemingly objective historical accounts such as news reports and photographs, which greatly influence how war is communicated and remembered.
widely regarded as of one of the foremost conceptual artists. Appropriates images from media/film to show how photo/film conditions us and informs our memory
Does photo-and-text works, irregular shaped and over-painted works.
He wants his work to be murky and troublesome, he comments on mass culture using text and images.
Has narratives in mind but wants viewers to invent scenarios, uses random order like how our minds store images from the media, spots give symbolic value to subjects shifting narrative from people to social types.
Wants viewers to fill in the gaps
Series that involves classical statuettes submerged in various fluids , mi lk, blood, and urine. Without Serrano's explanation, the viewer would not necessarily be able to differentiate between urine and a medium of similar appearance, such as amber Does not ascribed overtly political content to Piss Christ , on the contrary stresses their ambiguity. He has also said that while this work is not intended to denounce religion, it alludes to a perceived commercializing or cheapening of Christian icons in contemporary culture.
Serrano's work as an artist came to maturity when the human body -and more in particular AIDS, drugs, abortion and euthanasia- became the focus of political debates. Serrano deals with bodily fluids, religion and the aesthetics embodied within these subjects to create new meanings.
Explores his relationship with Catholicism and, more particularly, with the Church. Has own unresolved feelings about the Church, so chose to mix the sacred with the profane. Says; “R e ligion relies heavily on symbols, and my job as an artist is to pursue a manipulation of that symbolism and explore its possibilities”
An example of his early work is Pieta, 1985 (figure 1). The image shows a robed Mary holding a big slimy fish against a bloody, intense sky. The image looks like a biblical scene, but Serrano makes it difficult to pass the reality of the image by. We know the fish represents Christ but we cannot forget that we are looking to a model holding a dead fish, making the image to become a clich e example of religious expressionism.
Serrano turned to the genre of portraiture, creating several thematic bodies of work, each depicting various social groups.
'Nomads’ is a series of pictures of homeless individuals whom Serrano found on the streets and, in several cases, photographed inside his studio.
The sense of dignity captured in these portraits joins together with their obvious orchestration
Dead bodies in the process of decay confront viewers with more discomforting images of violence and death. Still, even these retain a certain seductive quality. Drawing from the lexicon of advertising, fashion and even pornography, Serrano's large-format, highly saturated photographs aestheticize their subject matter and make it meaningful.
Controversial, documenting her family and moments that she was inspired by. The public projected their prejudices, fears and opinions on the images.
Critics say there was intention because of posing.
Maybe it’s our own Freudian lens we place on these, she holds mirror up to society, our judgments are the problem because she sets up a neutral scenario,
Chris Verene- American fine art , documentary photographer and performance artist . Chris Verene has been making documentary photographs about his family's rural Illinois hometown of Galesburg for the past two decades.
The simple color photographs are unstaged and reflect a plain yet beautiful side of American life that might otherwise pass by uncelebrated.
His style is distinctive; marked by his use of fill flash, a square film format and the addition of neatly handlettered text surrounding the image.
AMY STEIN: I’m interested in your relationship with your family. In particular with the members of your extended family in your images. Are you close? How do you deal with the distance that comes with the repeated act of photographing your family, of placing yourself in the role of observer. Or does the act of photographing them bring you closer?
CHRIS VERENE: I'm very close with my family, pictured and not pictured. As an only child, I clung to my cousins like siblings, and we still are very connected. I do not work as an 'observer,' that is your job as the audience. I am relating the stories from their source, our family, town, and neighbors out to the world at large.
I think that the act of photographing makes me close with only the people who really enjoy the photography-- the people who time and again ask for pictures, and compel me to tell those stories.
Even as commercial photographers you can be part of this dialogue by becoming knowledgeable about your medium and what it is capable of. I want to challenge you to make this leap with this first assignment It should be a mind opening exercise that will inform your creative process.