Tuesday, November 20, 2007

CAEA Conference Report

Well, it's Tuesday and we're back from the California Arts Education Association Annual Conference. Kathy and I each taught two workshops and together we did the opening address/lecture for the first ever Digital Strand segment for the Association. For the lecture, I wrote it out and delivered it, and Kathy designed and produced the PowerPoint presentation that went with it. The lecture examined the contributions of John Szarkowski and how his idea of photographs functioning as "Mirrors" or "Windows" continues to have relevance with digital photography.

Here's some of the more pithy quotes I included in the lecture.

Photography: “. . . is it a mirror, reflecting a portrait of the artist who made it, or a window, through which one might better know the world?” – John Szarkowski, 1978

“Every man’s work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself, and the more he tries to conceal himself the more clearly will his character appear in spite of him.” – Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh (1903)

“You use a glass mirror to see your face: you use works of art to see your soul.” – George Bernard Shaw, Back to Methuselah, 1921

“Life is very nice, but it lacks form. It’s the aim of art to give it some.” – Jean Anouilh, The Rehearsal (1950)

“The Arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of a nation, are very close to the center of a nation's purpose - and are a test of the quality of a nation's civilization.” – John F. Kennedy

“…knowledge of photography is just as important as that of the alphabet. The illiterate of the future will be ignorant of the use of camera and pen alike.” – László Moholy-Nagy, 1936

Many people at the lecture were interested in the photographers included in the "slide show," so here is the list of them.

Eugene Atget - A French photographer who took on the project of documenting the entire city of Paris. He worked with, even then, antiquated equipment and produced images of timeless beauty.

William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz, Joel Sternfeld, and Stephen Shore - Very influential color photographers who started working and exhibiting in color in the 1970s. Their impact can still be seen in today's young photographers.

August Sander (1876 – 1964) - He photographed the German people as a large scale, long term national portrait. He was one of the first to make environmental portraits, showing people as they were in daily life.

Irving Penn – He is a fashion, product, & portrait photographer for Vogue magazine. He was successfully able to blend commercial and fine art.

William Henry Jackson (1843 – 1942) - One of the first photographers of the American West. He could make up to 17 wet plate negatives a day. He was the first to photograph in Yellowstone and his images helped to make it a national park.

Carleton E. Watkins (1829 – 1916) - One of the first photographers to visit and photograph Yosemite in California. One of the first photographers to make a living selling prints of scenics and landscapes.

Russell A. Kirsch & Associates - This is one of the first digital images. He worked for the National Bureau of Standards and invented a machine that could scan an image and convert it into a 1-bit image.

Henry Peach Robinson – Early English Pictorialist photographer (1830 - 1901). One of the first to make combination prints. “Fading Away” used 5 different negatives, 1858.

Jerry Uelsmann – He is the master of combination printing and originator of the concepts of Post Visualization. Produces black and white prints that seamlessly combines up to 8 separate negatives.

Jeremy Dawson – This was an image from his series “Men in Suits.” While it mimics traditional street photography, it is actually a subtle and clever composite.

Daniel Lee – Manipulated images from series based on the Chinese Zodiac. Included images were Year of the Ox and Year of the Cock.

Kathryn Hunter – American. Image: Escape. Digital composite from B&W infrared film images.

Tom Chambers. Image: They Comfort 2003.

Mary Frey. Image: In Her Bedroom 1997.

Joyce Neimanas – She is a digital collage artist producing evocative and colorful images.

Larry McNeil – Native American artist whose works incorporates elements of traditional imagery and text.

Loretta Lux – She is mostly known for posed studio portraits of children. They wear the photographers’ old childhood clothes and she puts in backgrounds from images she makes while traveling. She also does subtle and not so subtle manipulations to alter their features, shapes, and geometry.

Fritz Liedtke – Works in Film and digital, frequently mixing the two. The images I included were from a series on adolescence.

Maggie Taylor – She is a digital artist that uses scanners for most of her work. Finished images can contain as many as 150 separate images and layers.

Olivia Parker – She started out as a painter, but switched to photography. In the beginning she used large format and is a master printer, but has since switched to digital cameras and inkjet printers.

Hermon Joyner – From my series called "Figures," which is an oblique look at how humans view themselves through artwork as idealized forms.

Nathan Baker – He shot this series (2006) with a 4x5, scanned them and combined them (up to 36 separate images) in Photoshop. This series is a look at people at work.

Stewart Harvey – A series of upbeat and poignant Post Katrina New Orleans portraits that focuses on the people and life that is still left in the city. It combines the environmental portraits with Harvey's impressions and anecdotes of his encounters in New Orleans. A successful mix of images and words.

Dan Burkholder – This is a series of images of Post Katrina New Orleans that focuses on the damage, but explores the unlikely beauty of that devastation. He takes several images, varying the exposure, and then combines them in the computer. Burkholder has a book coming next year (March 2008) on this series entitled, "The Color of Loss: An Intimate Portrait of New Orleans After Katrina."

Hermon Joyner - Black and white Japanese Gardens images. It eventually became the project and book, Visual/Haiku, which paired the images with haiku poetry.

Mark Klett - He started the Rephotographic Survey project in the 1970s, which picked old photographs from the early survey photographers like Timothy O'Sullivan and tried to reproduce those views exactly - matching angle of view, perspective, framing and lighting. It's an exporation of geologic time versus human time. Working on this project since the 70s, the Rephotographic Survey has found its culmination in digital media, incorporating still images, audio interviews, video clips, and interactive features. This project is available as a book/DVD combination, titled, "Third Views, Second Sights: A Rephotographic Survey of the American West."


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