Monday, November 5, 2007

Next Question, A Biggie

Ok...gotta say I was so flattered by everyone chiming in and helping me edit the series of photographs from last week. Great input from all, and thanks so much for putting the time in.
Next question. Here are some recent images in the vein of what we worked on in the last post.
What does this work mean?

a. Means nothing, but stuff does look cool when it is scanned.

b. Anthropological dig in an attempt to understand a 5 year old's brain.

c. Weird and exploitative shots of a child, primarily for shock value.

d. Other ( extra credit for essay )


John Loomis said...

Hey TA - I think you've done some really nice work here, but the questions seem to defeat the purpose. Eg. Isn't the point of this deeply personal work about understanding and relating to your family, son, and past, about you doing it because its important, rewarding, or challenging (and less about potentially "useful")... I guess my point is fuck "us"; do your thing.

Charles said...

It just looks to me that your work in advertising means that you have a hard time doing your own thing without employing the typical tricks you have learnt to use to make a successful commercial images. The advertising tools are very simple, establishing a visual language often using classical rhetorical devices for example. For me these tools are great for advertising but tend to over simplify for works of a more ambiguous or personal nature.

Timothy Archibald said...

Wow, you both are up early, thanks for your input right off the bat.

John- nah, I don't want to ignore anyone and just do my thing, I want to make images that communicate. Getting intelligent feedback from an educated audience is priceless, really.

Charles- Great points for sure, your points ring true. Working commercially for me always does "taint" personal projects. The personal projects are an attempt to keep the commercial work in balance, but often times it is a struggle to keep the commercial flavor ( or stench? ) out of my personal work. In a perfect world, I'd love to be able to use these tools to make work of an ambiguous/personal nature, but for sure, you've made good points about the pitfalls.

Any others? Extra credit for an essay, remember.

Liz said...

Tim, I think the triptych of the ghost works much better in the context of all the other images you posted today. And in that case, the answer is definitely b for me.

Though I think Loomis rocks, I don't think the questions defeat the purpose. In some ways, the questions are the purpose--or at least a big part of it. You're trying to say something through this dig, and the questioning, I imagine, is sort of like echolocation. None of our answers is going to steer you in any "right" direction; but the combined effect (of our responses and your own thoughts about the project) helps you figure out if you're on the track.

Charles said...

Commercial flavor, or stench?

I say same same, but different. There is nothing wrong with understanding the tools being used to express, explore and convey certain things. It's a bit easy to poo-poo the commercial world - a very rich interesting and complex subject in itself.

Since discovering this blog a few days ago I have seen, with great interest, the development of this particular series. I enjoy discovering these images, as I do witnessing the process of seeking, selecting or editing, or whatever it is called - thankyou!

So... in a second attempt to respond to this question I would say that I could not reduce my answer to neither a, b, nor c, these are images that speak, of a very personal nature (in spite of what I said in my previous post), and, seen within the context of this blog they speak of a father, a photographer, a child, a family, a house, along with many other things.

I am certain that this work will continue regardless of the order or manner in which they are presented- it is just that we are accomplices in (or witnesses of) the selection process.

One thing I might put forward is that it is perhaps a little limiting at this stage to work with triptychs and diptychs - I appreciate the idea of exploring 'visual phrases' with images, but find that triptychs and diptychs just close this series into a mould that facilitates a certain type of work perhaps more akin to advertising.

Using a scanner is great! Yet another way of writing with light, with its own set of parameters and it's own style of results- another way to look at another world from another angle - I don't think it appears as a gimmick here - I like the distance it created within the series as one sees the same objects in different contexts - isolated on the scanner, mentioned in the text, On the boys' face.

Bitterphotographer said...

It is great to see TA carrying on the great Alec Soth tradition of pandering for attention but disguising it as a request for feedback. The BP misses Soth and is heartened to see that his form of self promotion continues to be used.

Anonymous said...

Well, bitterphotographer, you are certainly right about one thing.

max s. gerber said...

hey, timmy. well, i'm always a big big fan of diptychs and triptychs. so you got me there. i really really dig the diptych with the bread. i think that's my favorite as a pair, really. though to be honest when i first saw it my initial reaction was to have an internal dialogue that went something along the lines of:

"i could use a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. . . wait, do we have any bread?"

but don't let that discourage you. art is supposed to communicate, even the idea that i might be hungry.

when you posted the one pic of elijah as a ghost i was really into it. the triptych isn't doing as much for me, but i think someone else mentioned that the two ghosts work really well together (without the paper bag on the left), and i could certainly see that.

but in answer to your question, in my mind i don't find these things exploitative of a child whatsoever. i like the phrase you used - it does very much seem like an "anthropological dig" into a 5 year old's life, if not their brain. and seeing as how it's your own child i don't think it's the least bit exploitative. it really feels to me like it's an attempt to understand what he's thinking, or if not that, at least be engaged and attentive to the process of how he goes through his life.

well, since i'm not a parent i couldn't really comment, but having felt for a while like i have a number of surrogate kids myself, i think this kind of attention to the detail of your child's life is really a special and important thing to be engaged in.

M&M ads are cool, too, though. sure.

my BIGGIE QUESTION for you, really is this:

what does elijah think about all these pictures? does he like them? do you share them with him? does he like the way the scanned objects look? and if he is involved in the process does he then facilitate it? (i.e., bring you more stuff to scan, etc).

Timothy Archibald said...

Hey, thanks for all of your input. I gotta read it over and digest it. A+ for all of you, even Bitter Photograper for mocking my attempts at building an intelligent photo community. All good....dialogue is a good thing.