From the serie “The Mysteries” by Mac Adams, up-down: “Mystery of the 2 triangles”, 1976; “Bicycle”, 1977; “Still life with Cézanne”, 1977; “The pond”, 2009.
"In a recent text, Mac Adams referred to the bet that the American author Ernest Hemingway made one day with some writer friends, wagering that he could make up a story with just six words. He wrote: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” And he won the bet. Mac Adams’ whole œuvre seems to be an extension of that bet.
Mac Adams’ photographs and installations broach the issue of narration with similarly sparse means as Hemingway, exploring the fictional potential that can emerge from the juxtaposition of a few images or objects (…) His works are often organised in two- or three-image sequences and show us narrative snippets in which the main action is invariably absent, relegated to the space between images, into the temporal or off-screen ellipsis. Mac Adams defines this approach with the term “narrative void”. The image becomes a network of clues that the spectator is invited to go through in the manner of an inquiry, shedding light on the mechanisms and mainsprings of the plot itself at the same time as it proposes an open reading.” (Excerpt of the introduction to an exhibition of Mac Adams work in the MUDAM, Luxembourg, in 2011 - see the complete text here)
I’m fascinated by the relation between photography and narration. Most of the times the photographers give us a glance, a view, a point of view of a very precise moment, and with their photographs they tell “this is/was happening there, at this time”. And with this clue we can recreate the general context in wich the photograph had been taken. It’s not a story we then have in mind, but a context, an idea, a dream, a feeling, a message…
With “narrative photography”, and thanks to the fact that most of us have a cinematographic culture, the photographer can give us also a story plot. And this is what Mac Adams succeed. A work which is situated between Hitchcock movies and real criminal cases…
A friend of mine asked once “what does a photograph, a good, nice, intelligent, different photograph?, there’s so many millions pictures today…”. This question is at the very center of my admiration for the work of Jeff Wall. Because his “tableaux” are at a crossroad of painting, cinema and… photography ! I mean, sort of realistic, naturalistic photography.
In an interview, Jeff Wall tells “I begin by not photographing”. He first observes around him, the world. Then he composes, and recreates what he saw, what he remembers from the pictures he saw. So the pictures he makes are a totally personal point of view from a real situation.
In a conversation with Lucas Block for “Aperture” (210), Jeff Wall was talking about “studio photography” (meaning composed, recreated pictures, and not documentary “à la Cartier-Bresson”) and mentioned Pasolini, Godard, Fassbinder, as artists who where continuously switching “(…) from extreme artifice to moments of apparent documentary immediacy (…)”.
All these “facts” made me think of these two pictures, one inspired by another… or not ! But one extremely close to the other, right ?…
"Séquence #2 : Un voyageur dans la ville" - from my serie "Bucarest, Imaginaire". More shots here
Black and white: “Legs/Corduroy short”, 1972; “Jump rope”, 1975; “Bubble gum”, 1975,
Color: “Young girl at beach”, 1977; “Family walking”, 1977; “Boy in yellow shirt smoking”, 1977,
From Mark Cohen (b.1943), american photographer from a small town – Wilkes-Barre. He’s most known for his street photography. When I discovered his work, I was impressed because sometimes I have the same need to catch roughly people and things around me. I never know exactly why, there’s no explanation, no conscious reason for that. But they attract me with such a force the only thing I know is that I have to catch immediately this piece of reality with my camera…
Mark Cohen’s quotes : “I’d shoot and walk away quick - I’d never talk to the people. To people who were watching what I was doing it looked like inappropriate behaviour,” – “ The antagonism got worse as time went by. It looked like I was up to some suspicious activity - they’d say, why are you taking pictures? People would call the police - if that happened I could give an explanation. But people who didn’t call the police were worse. Because I had no explanation or credentials, people would demand an explanation and ask me why I was taking a picture of their house, their yard, their wife.” - “Sometimes people would take my licence plate number and find out where I lived,” - “They are a long series of pictures that are very unconsciously driven. They are more psychological than anything else,” - “They are also autobiographical in some ways. My work is about fear and approaching this fear and a lot of it may be to do with my own way of thinking. Maybe that’s why some of the pictures work. There’s something I do that I don’t even understand now - that’s why they have this mystery.”
This work is part of “Terminus”, a collective exhibition organized by the Bozar along with Recyclart. The concept was to portray various outskirts districts of Brussels by night, around the bus or tram terminus.
The exhibition is running until 16.09.2012 in Brussels, Belgium.
See a sample of my work in this exhibition, and all the details on my site
"View Interior, New Highway Restaurant, Jersey City, N.J.", 1967, dyptich from the serie "Homes for America", by Dan Graham, american artist living and working in New York. Much of his work questions the relationship between public and private spaces and the ways in which each space affects behavior. I saw this dyptich in the Neue Pinakothek of Munich, along with many photographies by Stephen Shore, Robert Adams, William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander and so on. And while I’m posting that, I’m deeply trying to figure out why I’m so impressed by their work, their view, the way they pictured the 60’s/70’s, the urban landscapes and people living in. And the question is: is it because there’s some connections between what I see today around me, and what they saw ? Human beings trying to survive in the geography they where born, or the earth trying to survive despite human actions… Big deal. I’ll try to give a ride to the idea… further !
this is a photography of my serie “In between" that slightly explores a certain state of mind. If you want to discover a sample of this project with the text, please be my guest at Martin Coiffier | Photography !
cette photo fait partie de ma série “In between”, qui explore légèrement un certain état d’esprit. Si cela vous dit de découvrir un aperçu de ce travail accompagné du texte, soyez bienvenus sur mon site: Martin Coiffier | Photography !
In order: ”Redlands, California”, 1982; ”Edge of San Timoteo Canyon, Redlands, California”, 1978; ”On Signal Hill, overlooking Long Beach, California”, 1983; ”Redlands, California”, 1982
by Robert Adams.
While in my first post about Robert Adams’ work I showed only pictures of houses, streets - things made by human being -, in this post the nature is in the front. But if you compare the two parts, you will discover that he treated these two subject as equal, visually: he created an “architectural way” of observing the landscape, wether it was natural or created. And this is in my opinion really representative of this kind of “topographic” photographies from the 70’s/80’s - such as the ones from Stephen Shore also - trying to give a structure to the landscape without altering anything of it. It demonstrates that anything (almost) can be “a subject” -. You just must take time to observe what you see…
You can visit most of these photographies in an beautiful exhibition organized by the Yale University Art Gallery: "Robert Adams: The Place WeLive".
in order: ”Colorado Springs, Colorado”, 1968; ”Tract House, Longmont, Colorado”, 1973; ”Colorado Springs, Colorado”, 1968; ”Colorado Springs, Colorado”, 1968; ”Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado”, 1969
by Robert Adams, american photographer born in 1937. ”His work is inspired both by his joy in the inherent beauty of the landscape, and his dismay at its exploitation and degradation for residential and commercial development (…) He asks us, through his photographs, to consider where we live and how we relate to our environment.” (quote from J. Paul Getty Museum). Photographies via Moma’s collection
I will post more work from R. Adams, since there are many other photographies I want to share, but their perspective are a bit different so they don’t fit in here.