The more we see photographs, the more easily our eyes accept photographic conventions. It is easy to forget that photography is a medium that creates its own world, one which is never a pure representation of reality. Edward Weston's work, for example, with all the clarity and resolution with which he represented his vision, is a world of metaphors far beyond ordinary perception.
L'Amour fou: Photography and Surrealism, by Rosalind Krauss and Jane Livingston, with an essay by Dawn Ades. Published by Abbeville Press, New York, 1985, in conjunction with an exhibition held at The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Sept.—Nov. 1985.
A Memorial Piece, in the Formal Manner of Louis Moreau Gottschalk's "The Dying Poet," Styled with the Hubris of Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton and the Insolence of W.C. Fields, entitled Clarence in Wonderland—no, make that Clarence in Wonder (bread) land; or, "Fondled by Fate's Fickle Finger, Crushed by the Quirks of Time ..."
Man Ray had a few themes: sex, money, death, fame, liberty. His life, like his friend Duchamp's, was largely his own invention. His art, as appealing as a cosmic joke with no butt, as powerful and fascinating as the newly illuminated unconscious, rewarded the photographer with the stuff of dreams: the gratification of his wishes.
America, by Andy Warhol. Published by Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., New York, 1985. Maybe Andy Warhol has become a better photographer since Exposures (1979). He has certainly become a better picture editor judging from the evidence on hand in his latest photography book, America.
The Lives of Lee Miller, by Antony Penrose. Published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1985. In late 1926 or early 1927 Lee Miller, a young girl from Poughkeepsie, walked into the path of an oncoming car in a New York street. Her rescuer, who pulled her to safety and into whose arms she collapsed, was magazine magnate Condé Nast.
Chris Killip's photographs describe a symbolic landscape. It is a landscape that does not look English, despite the memories of Bill Brandt to be found there. Neither does this landscape look much like the present. It looks like a place that is both past and future but only marginally of the present.
It was a long hard ride from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1949. I was only three and a half but can remember most of it—how my mother carried me into the swaying accordian between the cars and showed me the huge metal grip that held the train together.
MH: You presented The Ballad of Sexual Dependency as a large slide show with a soundtrack at the 1985 Whitney Biennial. What is The Ballad of Sexual Dependency? Is it a slide show, an installation, a story, a document, or a diary? NG: It's the diary I let people read.
LF: Michael Jackson has said that he made the Thriller video so that he could undergo the transformation into a werewolf. I see a little of that desire in your new work. What's behind the urge to play monster? CS: It's a fascination with a kind of ugliness, taking ugliness as a thing of beauty, like in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Through the Haze of Love: Querelle, from Film to Book
Querelle: The Film Book (photographs by Roger Fritz) is the bizarre and beautifully produced photo-novella of Querelle (Rainer Werner Fassbinder's claustrophobic movie) based on Querelle (Jean Genet's pot-boiler homosexual novel).
Extending the Perimeters of Twentieth Century Photography
If the search for a seamless, perfect appearance of subject matter characterized photography in the nineteenth century, a significant aspect of photography in the twentieth century can be seen to be a search for the expression of ideas through technique.
During the past seven years, I have been taking my camera to movie theaters and photographing from the screen. At first I photographed pornographic movies in an attempt to create something that would retain the explicitness of pornography, yet be meaningful and truly erotic.
Danny Lyon's career in photography and film has been an adventure into the private world of outlaws. Through his lens we have traveled with a motorcylce gang in Chicago, entered the Texas prison system, roamed with street urchins in Colombia, crept into whores' chambers in Cartehena, and hiked across the Mexican border with illegal aliens.
JOHN BLOOM, a San Francisco based photographer and critic, is associate editor of PhotoMetro Magazine. He currently teaches photography and the history of photography at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, California. NAN GOLDIN lives and works in New York City.
P. 3 photograph by Raoul Ubac (Galerie Adrien Maeght, Paris) from the L'Amour fou: Photography & Surrealism exhibition, with permission from and courtesy of The Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.. P. 4 photograph by Salvador Dali and Horst P. Horst (The Israel Museum, Jerusalem) from the L'Amour fou: Photography & Surrealism exhibition, with permission from and courtesy of The Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C..