This one has been a challenge. I’ve looked through the work of Roman Signer, and that of Andy Goldsworthy, and there is so much to love about their art. Signer’s slow burning fuse is fascinating, and Goldsworthy’s land art is truly wonderful.
I’m looking at records. These are photographs ‘of’ not ‘about’. Yes, the art they depict is ‘about’, but you have to be there to appreciate it fully. Whether it’s being in the same field for the split second of the explosion, hours with a fuse, or potentially turning up years later for a Goldsworthy piece – you have to be there. Goldsworthy’s cairns or sheepfold need to be touched and seen within their landscape context – the photographs are mere documents in comparison. This is/was here; this happened.
Looking at the body of work by Signer I see interesting photographs – interesting as photographs. “Wasserstiefel” is one that stands out. I do not seek to diminish the art, but the photographs of the exploding tent in themselves are not especially interesting to me.
I do feel that if I leave this analysis here it’s not really achieving anything, except maybe to document my own personal position regarding the perceived value of an image. Which makes me think about whether there is some sort of scale on which images could be placed: at one end is ‘OF’, and at the other, ‘ABOUT’. Something like this:
It’s crude, and simply features a pretty random selection of photographers I’m currently interested in – and I’m certain there are plenty more off the right hand side of the scale! I also suspect that many photographers would more properly appear as a range across this scale, not points.
Primarily, this exercise has added to my understanding of photography as a broad church. As a result of this understanding there are now individual images and genres I like more than I did, and interestingly some I like quite a lot less.