Nov 29, 2008

Tony, Andy and Gursky

So lately I've been slightly concerned that my life is tilting more and more towards the un-intellectual side of the scale. As much as I do love the Sopranos, I've been seeing a little too much of this guy...and really not enough of this guy...Fortunately for me, this was remedied by a trip to the NGV with the lovely Bianca. As much as the gallery itself calmed me down, the highlight of the trip was undoubtedly the Andreas Gursky exhibition, which is on until early 09. In all honesty I knew nothing about Gursky before going. I can now tell you that Andreas Gursky, b. 1955, is a German photographer specialising in highly detailed shots taken from a massive distance such that the subject matter - factory workers, rubbish dumps, fields of cows - is reduced to a tiny miniature version of itself. These photos are then blown up to 2x3m high resolution, life size images. It's hard to capture in words just how awesome this all ends up looking, so the best solution is for me to post a few of my favourite images.

(For those who are interested, the images are Pyongyang I, 99cent II and Man Day V.)

The NGV has put an explanatory panel beside the doorway as you walk into the exhibition, which tells you that some of Gursky's images are as-is, and others have been either manipulated or spliced together via Photoshop. Feeling like a challenge had been set, Bianca and I were unable to avoid searching out each image for signs of digital manipulation. In a way it's interesting, cause it ties in to the age old idea about photography being an inherently 'true' image, particularly when compared to painting, and the way 20th century photographers have blown that idea apart, and showed that photography has just as much potential for dishonesty as it does for truth. But it was also a bit sad that the gallery had given us that info before we even saw the images -- whilst we most certainly did appreciate them for themselves, that appreciation was still prefaced by our search for trickery -- our mindset had been predetermined.

One of my favourite photos was one of a giant block of flats in the Montparnasse district of Paris (Paris, Montparnasse).

Ever since my time in Poland, where concrete apartment blocks loom here there and everywhere, I've always been fascinated by council flats, particularly the fact that they all seem to have some aspect of colour added, be it painted window frames, doors, or balcony walls. It's like some sick joke by whoever built the flats -- hey, you have to live in this dingey, dark, shoebox on floor 19, but you get pink windowframes, so isn't life great! Maybe this is just me, but as a result, I have wanted to take a photo of the Melbourne council flats off Lygon st or Malvern Rd for quite some time now, but have been scared off by the worry that someone who lives there will be offended by my la-di-da photoing ways, and tell me and my camera to piss off. Big hotshots like Andreas Gursky are in no way intimidated by disgruntled residents and as such he has produced an awesome image of the Montparnasse flats. Maybe my jealousy of Mr Gursky is what it will take for me to finally overcome my trepidation and take the damn photo. Pardon the pun in advance, I'll keep you posted.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails