Joel Peter Witkin...have you seen his prints

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by jtk, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. jtk

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    Joel Peter Witkin's work is so shocking that sophisticated galleries typically warn viewers.

    His print quality is exquisite, but few seem to notice that because his imagery commands the attention.

    Have you seen his prints? What are your thoughts?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Bob Carnie

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    Yes I saw a complete show of his work in the early 90's at Tator Alexander Gallery here in Toronto. His print quality is nothing short of spectacular and some of the best silver gelatin prints I have ever seen.
     
  3. DREW WILEY

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    Good printer, but too demented for my taste.
     
  4. OP
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    jtk

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    Drew, to evaluate your"taste" it would be helpful if you posted something on Media, or some sort of link.

    Witkin isn't "demented" ...he is what many consider to be a profoundly great photographer and incredibly fine printmaker. But that's just the opinion of many photographers and curators. Have you actually seen his work?
     
  5. Arthurwg

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    Absolutely disgusting. He sold his soul to Satan to get that print quality.
     
  6. Poisson Du Jour

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    Please edit your post to reduce the size of the image. It is almost the full width across of a Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (inch) tablet! There is no need at all for that size.
     
  7. BrianShaw

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    I agree. The image posted here is quite interesting, almost tame, but much of his work...
     
  8. awty

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    Thanks for the link jtk another great picture maker I wasn't aware of.
    He has great imagination and the quality looks awesome. For me and my naive uneducated view they are mostly all show with nothing for me to connect to...
     
  9. DREW WILEY

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    Anyone involved in the photo arts scene around here back then knows who his non-institutional print clients often were. Now I suppose people have a perfect right to decorate their coffins and dungeons in Transylvania in any manner they wish. But I didn't imply that Witkin was personally demented. I never met the dude; nor do I ever want to.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  10. OP
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    jtk

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    Please say something based on your own observations. Me, I don't call people "dude" ...doesn't that imply some sort of kinky, drug-involved affection?
     
  11. DREW WILEY

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    I grew up with cowboys and Indians, literally. So I know all about the etymology of "dude" long before it was adopted by hip city types. But "kinky, drug-involved" is right on the mark when it comes to the kind of people this imagery attracted when it first went public. It was a dangerous weird scene. This wasn't Photoshopped, y'know. It involved a person hanging around third-world execution sites and morgues basically exploiting the rotting leftovers of human dignity for the sake of "art". Maybe something like this enhances ones standing in art world legends, just like Diego Rivera's experiments with medicinal cannibalism at morgues, but don't call it normal. I scratched from my list any downtown galleries that showed it, and certainly wouldn't want any of my friends or clients viewing my own prints in the same venue. Some of you need a bit of historical context. I was there. But as per my opinion of the visual rendering : the prints aren't at all pretty and aren't intended to be. The split toning, apparently on Azo, is itself disturbing and ghoulish, with a lot more greenishness than the gold in the posted image - deliberately macabre. So effective in terms of what he was after. But sick weird imagery was everywhere in the local arts scene back then. And some very sketchy people inevitably were tangled up with it, both in visual wall art like this, infamously in the contemporary music scene, and certainly in the alternative movie industry. Lots of drugs and human exploitation, and a lot of sad endings.
     
  12. Bob Carnie

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    A Gallery in New Orleans, has a very large collection of his work, one of the best galleries in the world IMO. The owner has a eclectic collection of works that he purchased over a long period of time.
     
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  14. DREW WILEY

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    Lots of collections have some token works, at least. He was the star pupil of Van Deren Coke, himself a superb printmaker. I'm merely addressing how the historic context tends to get glamorized when in fact it was something very ugly. I could mention a couple of famous rock stars from the same era and demographic circle who turned into monsters, way beyond general public knowledge. Charles Manson was just the tip of the iceberg; there were others who killed far more people,
    either directly, or slowly through drug bondage. Lots of psychos and even serial killers around back then. The public never heard of some of them because they never went to trial, but straight to lifetime confinement in mental hospitals. If something seemed weird, it might have very well been weird, and it was best to keep your distance. That could at times be a life and death decision. And sicko visual content tended to attract sicko audiences. I was never part of the hippie or drug culture myself, but did have a front row view of it, so to speak.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  15. Peter Schrager

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    I've seen his prints in person and they are well done...almost exquisite but there is only a small % of them I took a real liking to
    Different viewpoints is what makes the world go round
     
  16. DREW WILEY

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    I have no idea of what was actually in his head at the time, but he did conspicuously cultivate an art promotion PERSONA linked to very dark things which were definitely not just kids dressing up Gothic for sake of a Halloween party. He already had an inside track due to VDC's museum role, but still had to distinguish himself from the pack. And back then it was fashionable to generate as much shock value as possible. But lighting that kind of fuse in that demographic environment ... well,
    ........ don't ask me to elaborate. Let me just say that a lot of that particular world did not go around very long at all; it sank into its own mire and drowned. There have always been unbalanced artists. I don't think I'd have wanted to be around Caravaggio on a bad day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  17. OP
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    jtk

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    Did you follow the 2016 Presidential debates?
     
  18. OP
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    jtk

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    So...lacking the skill to respond to the art, some of us seem limited to cursing the artist.

    The descriptions of print tone, above, are absolutely false. Eyesight problem.

    I can't find the quote, but Minor White said that when we respond strongly negatively to a photograph, that may be because it's feeding something that's in us. Pay attention to strong negativity.

    "Dude," was used above specifically in adolescent pimple-ridden mode, had nothing to do with cowboys or Indians until it was defended.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  19. BrianShaw

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    Bye
     
  20. Patrick Robert James

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    They might be great prints, but I am not a fan. whatevs. I've seen a lot of them over the years.

    jtk, why are you constantly starting threads asking what people think then attacking them for their opinion, which you just asked for? Are you bipolar or schizophrenic or something?

    Jeez.
     
  21. faberryman

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    Pay attention when your response is meh too. I often find my negative response is more about exasperation at yet another meh response than an actual negative response.
     
  22. OP
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    jtk

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    Yes, meh too
     
  23. OP
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    jtk

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    Patrick, did I do that? Thought I only ridiculed fakery and bogus theory about tonality.

    Sheesh !
     
  24. DREW WILEY

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    Well, Minor White was indeed a great photographer; but when it comes to assessing mental states with a few slipping pulleys, his own students said that about him. He even looked liked the wild-eyed nutty inventor in Back to the Future. He chose his students based on horoscopes. So quoting him in this particular case might
    be counterproductive.
     
  25. OP
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    jtk

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    Drew, you love ignorance.

    I've spent significant time with many of Minor White's personal students, three were fundamental influences (one sold me an Agfa Ansco 8X10).. None of them were mystics. Neither Minor's Zen discipline, Gurdjieff theories, nor his lifelong Catholicism were mystical and none of them entail horoscopes. Don't believe everyting you think.
     
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