Monday, May 20, 2013

Gerry Badger writes - the photographer's ultimate task...


In his essay on The Grapevine Work of Susan Lipper, from his book The Pleasures of Good Photographs, Gerry Badger writes:

The problem is the medium’s literalness, so the photographer is not only trying to go beyond subject matter and find subject, she has to take her audience with her. Most people, and this can include people quite sophisticated and well versed in other arts, assume that if the photograph is of a white horse, the photographer is talking about white horses rather than loneliness or loss, or any number of apparently unlikely subjects, as well as the more obvious metaphors like strength or grace. Of course, the ultimate task for any photographer is to talk about the most unlikely things and the white horse, in short, to tell the subject’s tale as well as her own.

I cannot think of a better summary of what the essence of a good photograph, a photograph that works, is all about. Certainly surface is important but not without substance, and often for maximum effect, drip-fed to the reader in homeopathic doses. Most people are not stupid, let's not make it too easy. Form, content, layers, mystery. Easy to say but difficult to do, but your reader will thank you for it.

Finally, Badger says this of Susan Lipper's work:

She is a particularly intelligent photographer, her work is an especially intriguing blend of the modernist with the postmodern, the objective with the subjective, and the outsider with the insider. She deals with many of the issues that concern contemporary photographic art, especially revolving around the relationship of the self to the "other," but does it in a uniquely personal and highly original way. 

Very true. See for yourself - here are several of Lipper's Grapevine photographs. And you can go to her website HERE.

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