The article below, on Berenice Abbot from about.com, mentions one of my early favourites Eugene Atget. A street photographer who never saw himself as an artist, but has been elevated to that status for many years. The trouble is, his work to my mind, takes a lot - and I mean, a lot, of close inspection and reflection to see that. The problems begin I guess, if you use the yard stick of "what is the function of this work" as a means to measure the work. Even though the work indeed was used by Atget to sell to Museums and other artists as either reference pieces or documents if you like, it somehow moves beyond mere documentation. One extra factor in Atget's favour is of course the fact that the majority of the imagery is of a place that no longer exists, pre-war Paris of the early 1900's.
Personally I like his work, I can connect to it on many levels and it's always a pleasure to look at. I have of course read several tomes about him and his work, so my understanding of where he's coming from maybe different to someone discovering him for the first time. This is what I like about this article, it gives a teaser and links and allows the reader to explore more in their own fashion based on their needs and desires, a very handy function of the web.
Enjoy the article and the links.
Berenice Abbott's own place in the history of photography is sometimes overshadowed by the work she did in bringing the work of one of the greatest of all photographers, Eugene Atget, to the public eye. After his death in Paris, she bought much of the work from his studio, and brought it back with her to New York where she exhibited and published it. In his lifetime, Atget had sold large numbers of prints of aspects of Paris to various museums as well as to individuals, including artists such as Man Ray, but had not generally been recognised as a significant artist. Although his work was written about in Europe, it was the collection in New York (later at MoMA) that made him a well-known name in photography. Abbott took many fine portraits, but her work on the city of New York is her finest monument You can see a good selection from this at the Hacklebury Gallery in London until January 29, 2005. Also on the gallery site are some other interesting images of New York, including work by Ted Croner, Elliott Erwitt and Arthur Leipzig
I am so inspired by some of the work I am seeing on Flikr that I am planning on spending the day out and about with my camera, seeing what I can, so stay tuned for a big update either here or at flickr, or my own site - oh and there is the travelogue as well.
For both my readers I wish to share the latest gem of software I have picked up from the internet, it's called Quicksilver and it is a useful and free utility for speeding up access to the contents of your Macintosh computer, bypassing the need for the dock, which for me had become painfully slow and time consuming. I am still learning it's intricacies but within minutes of downloading and installing last night, I am already opening and closing documents and files quickly with nothing more than a couple of keyboard strokes. A very useful tool indeed. The application's website will of course migrate over to the right with all the other interesting stuff I've found. One thing I neglected to mention was the quality and standard of work over at flickr, unlike other sites i've seen out there in cyber space this one is populated by people who are not onlt talented but also able to "see" wit their cameras in away that makes the world an interesting place again, go check it out.