Monday, September 14, 2009

John Baldessari says, "why make a photograph if somebody has already made one just like it."

And he's right.... and this thought struck me on Sunday seconds after I saw the man on Devonport's Mount Victoria flying his model plane. My first and immediate thought was to recall Alec Soth's powerful front cover picture, Charles, Vasa, Minnesota, from the first edition of his wonderful book Sleeping by the Mississippi. "No, don't do it", I thought.... but I did. I talked to my plane flyer and told him about Alec's picture and his book. Surprisingly, he knew the book and the picture. This heightened my resolve and here is my picture along side Alec's.

Yes, they are the same but also quite different. My picture is about the pleasure of flying and enjoying the day. I like the figure on the slope taking in the view and a touch of sunshine hitting the harbour underneath the dark clouds.
Alec's picture is stranger and more mysterious. Charles seems obsessive and a little odd. There is a strong back-story here. I like the house pushing in from the side and the surrounding junk. And the snow seems at odds to the business of flying those planes.

The other big difference is to do with process. Alec's picture was made with a beginning and end in mind, his book and what he knew would work with that project. My picture sits in isolation, no context and no real idea behind it and no intention as to how I might use it.

In comparing these pictures, it's really all about the level of mystery. This quote from Magritte sums it up, "the mind loves the unknown, it loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown."


ndiginiz said...

Tena koe e hoa
More than the level of mystery I think its about discovering an indelible connection to the moment for our self. Regardless of the similarities, of which there are a minute few, both moments are inherently different on a myriad of objective visual, intellectual and imaginative levels.
I think its in these differences that we find our own photographs, our own instances, our own indelible moments. That they do or do not ignite the rememberence of a more notable photograph, will always as a matter of difference, be part of the post productive process.


Are we define by what we do or what we don't do?

Should we be define by what others do?

katty said...

I love all kind of photos, it drives me crazy. I think every photographic is a work of art. Like the site costa rica homes for sale all the beautiful houses are wonderful and the pictures are great.