New Topographics increasingly means color

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jtk

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Color is the world of most serious photographers. Most of my own work is 11x17 color but as soon as I can claim wall-space I'm going to start printing a lot bigger mosaic-style.

Long before I knew the term "New Topographics" I photographed buildings and agriculture fwiw. Edward Weston never heard the term either....
 

DREW WILEY

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The "New" Topographics is now half a century old. Still interesting in many cases, but hardly new.
 

Arthurwg

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I don't believe that the color pictures by the Becher's students fit the New Topographics" concept. I much prefer Mark Ruwedel's pictures in this context.
 

MattKing

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Funnily enough, I've always thought first of Stephen Shore when "New Topographics" comes up as a subject - so in my mind it started with colour.
 
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Who gets to say that there is such a thing as "New Topographics" concept? Photography is
action or thing, not mere concept. Much like theology, where the strongest rabbis refrain from "belief."

 

Arthurwg

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Who gets to say that there is such a thing as "New Topographics" concept? Photography is
action or thing, not mere concept. Much like theology, where the strongest rabbis refrain from "belief."


It's not "who gets to say," just my humble opinion. Obviously the answer is in the Talmud.
 

Arthurwg

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BTW, I think the concept of the "New Topographics" was defined by the 1975 exhibition.

I did get to see the recent Gursky show in New York. Very good work.
 

logan2z

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Funnily enough, I've always thought first of Stephen Shore when "New Topographics" comes up as a subject - so in my mind it started with colour.

Interesting. If memory serves, Shore was the only color photographer of the 10 in the exhibition. I personally always think of Robert Adams when I think of the New Topographers.
 

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Interesting. If memory serves, Shore was the only color photographer of the 10 in the exhibition..
Correct. And I really hope that Steidl gets its stuff together and that you're able to get a copy of the book soon!
 

MattKing

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Interesting. If memory serves, Shore was the only color photographer of the 10 in the exhibition. I personally always think of Robert Adams when I think of the New Topographers.

Correct - but I first learned about the New Topographers through exposure to him. Luck of the draw, I think.
 
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In an ideal world the "New Topograpics" label will wither and die before we begin to assume it refers to motel wall decoration, they way they think of AA's work.
 

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Arthur and Flying - not only old by now, but pretty darn predictable and cliche at times. But that fact shouldn't discourage anyone from shooting things in their own new way. Every genre has been done before. No need to worry about that fact. I saw a lot of the original stuff when it first came out, when all the presently canonized gurus were still starving artists, and most of them were horrible printmakers. Have some of the earliest books flaunting that descriptive ideology. It was an interesting episode, with quite a bit of pretension, just like anything becoming trendy, but also a good number of really persistent images. They were largely bold experimenters, especially in the use of color film, and inevitably had a lot of bellyflops as well as occasional successes. One still lives in my neighborhood, whom I won't name. He had an awfully imperiouis and rude relation toward friends of mine who printed his work; so I'll just leave it with that. Seems to come with the territory of starving artists when they're finally "discovered".
 
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Sirius Glass

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In an ideal world the "New Topograpics" label will wither and die before we begin to assume it refers to motel wall decoration, they way they think of AA's work.

"New Topograpics" is not my main interest, I like to take architectural photographs and some man made works, other will always be people more interested in what is less interesting for me. While the world would be better if everyone would think like me, the world would become boring soon.
 

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I think Robert Adams would have resented being cast in the same pigeonhole. In book fashion, it might seem so. But he actually had a very skilled understated printing style, highly nuanced. Nothing brash, as if forcefully trying to break some mould.

Sirius - have you ever looked at Philip Trager's work? A nice balance of architectural themes, sometimes with a hint or surreality (ala Atget), yet well in control, and not obnoxiously over the top either. More in the classical style, and definitely not "new topographics".

Matt - so much what some of those folks did was tightly gear to the hue idiosyncrasies or old Vericolor L film and Ektacolor 74 prints. For example, almost every single one of Shore's prints in the book Uncommon Places, and which I've seen in person, were a clash play on the tendency of Vericolor to turn all warm yellows, oranges, and tans into some kind of pumpkin tone, and greens into cyanish "poison green"- a direct clash across the color wheel. Why this worked for him, and would get a house painter fired, was his very circumspect juggling of the two, with always the right amount of spice either way. But he seems to have gotten stuck in that mode long after its novelty wore off. I still thumb through the book itself from time to time. It was an interesting era.
 
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MattKing

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Shore also made use of dye transfer prints.
 

Sirius Glass

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"New Topograpics" is not my main interest, I like to take architectural photographs and some man made works, other will always be people more interested in what is less interesting for me. While the world would be better if everyone would think like me, the world would become boring soon.

I think Robert Adams would have resented being cast in the same pigeonhole. In book fashion, it might seem so. But he actually had a very skilled understated printing style, highly nuanced. Nothing brash, as if forcefully trying to break some mould.

Sirius - have you ever looked at Philip Trager's work? A nice balance of architectural themes, sometimes with a hint or surreality (ala Atget), yet well in control, and not obnoxiously over the top either. More in the classical style, and definitely not "new topographics".

Matt - so much what some of those folks did was tightly gear to the hue idiosyncrasies or old Vericolor L film and Ektacolor 74 prints. For example, almost every single one of Shore's prints in the book Uncommon Places, and which I've seen in person, were a clash play on the tendency of Vericolor to turn all warm yellows, oranges, and tans into some kind of pumpkin tone, and greens into cyanish "poison green"- a direct clash across the color wheel. Why this worked for him, and would get a house painter fired, was his very circumspect juggling of the two, with always the right amount of spice either way. But he seems to have gotten stuck in that mode long after its novelty wore off. I still thumb through the book itself from time to time. It was an interesting era.

I have nothing against industrial photographs and I have taken a few. I tend to spend my time in more natural settings, but when I do wander into more developed areas I see architectural and industrial related compositions. It has to do more with were I wander than avoidance of such photographs.
 

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Stephen Shore.
Be sure to look very closely.

1661204616992.png
 
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I have nothing against industrial photographs and I have taken a few. I tend to spend my time in more natural settings, but when I do wander into more developed areas I see architectural and industrial related compositions. It has to do more with were I wander than avoidance of such photographs.

Makes sense to me. Glad to see your complete thoughts.
 
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I think Robert Adams would have resented being cast in the same pigeonhole. In book fashion, it might seem so. But he actually had a very skilled understated printing style, highly nuanced. Nothing brash, as if forcefully trying to break some mould.

Sirius - have you ever looked at Philip Trager's work? A nice balance of architectural themes, sometimes with a hint or surreality (ala Atget), yet well in control, and not obnoxiously over the top either. More in the classical style, and definitely not "new topographics".

Matt - so much what some of those folks did was tightly gear to the hue idiosyncrasies or old Vericolor L film and Ektacolor 74 prints. For example, almost every single one of Shore's prints in the book Uncommon Places, and which I've seen in person, were a clash play on the tendency of Vericolor to turn all warm yellows, oranges, and tans into some kind of pumpkin tone, and greens into cyanish "poison green"- a direct clash across the color wheel. Why this worked for him, and would get a house painter fired, was his very circumspect juggling of the two, with always the right amount of spice either way. But he seems to have gotten stuck in that mode long after its novelty wore off. I still thumb through the book itself from time to time. It was an interesting era.

Drew, I noticed your Trager reference.. Never noticed his name before (!). Looks promising.

I hate to think about another photo book, but which ring your bell ?

 

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If it's necessary to call it an American thing, then Shore's work was "color", not "colour."


Including his photographs in Canada? 😄
His relatively well known travels that lead to the creation of "Uncommon Places" included time spent photographing in Canada.
1661207691649.png

Stephen Shore, Sault Ste.-Marie, Ontario, August 13, 1974
 
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