Musings on Photography

Familiarity

Posted in process by Paul Butzi on March 3, 2007

Tim Atherton has an interesting post about Eric Fredine over on his blog, Muse-ings.  The bit that resonated for me was:

But secondly, Eric has really got a sense for this place, this city. After a couple of years, I’m still trying to make sense of it – visually, photographically. I have some inklings, but it takes time. Someone recently commented that it didn’t look like the city they had spent a few years in. Eric’s response was that to took him more than a decade to get to this point.

Now, I’m not going to say that someone can’t go for a place for a few weeks, or make a number of visits, and not make good pictures. But generally they tend to be different from work made by someone who has been able to take the time to become intimate with a place (although, of course, the other danger is that after a longer period of time you actually stop being able to see the place)

Seems to me this touches on my feeling that in depth understanding of the subject tends to show in the photographs.

UPDATE: make sure you read Eric Federline’s Artist Statement, which is both very interesting and notable for the lack of art-babble.

4 Responses

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  1. tim atherton said, on March 3, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    But note that I was very careful not to say that one was better than the other – different maybe. I’m also not sure how, without knowing, you could necessarily which was which from two such sets of work.

    Atget obviously knew Paris, but I don’t think Walker Evan’s photographs of the South suffered from his being a visitor travelling through.

  2. Darrell Klein said, on March 3, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    I agree with what Tim has stated above. In my mind, the deeper connection a photographer may have with his chosen subject matter has more to do with how he feels when looking back upon those photographs. This may cause the photographer to think that these photographs are better than photos of a subject with which he is less familiar. The photographer’s audience may not agree if they do not have the same connection with the subject matter. The audience may instead have a connection to a photo that the photographer did not and deem that photo to be better. I guess what I am trying to say is that it may very well be in the eye of the beholder.

  3. Lisa said, on March 6, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    I really like the photo in this post. Love the layers of the soft colors, the lines. Very nice.

    I have to admit I didn’t actually read this post (not in the reading mood right now) but this image really caught my attention.

  4. Paul Butzi said, on March 6, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    The photo is one of Eric Fredine’s – if you like it, you’ll be richly rewarded if you go to his website at http://www.ericfredine.com/default.htm and browse the portfolios.


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