Will there ever be another photographic movement?

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warden

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NY Times a behind a paywall. Yay.

Shall I not share content from them then? It seems every time I do, someone has a complaint. I do make an effort to also give a second link, as I did in this case, that is not behind a paywall.

I’m the OP btw, and thought of this old thread when I saw the NYT article today. I don’t think this movement was mentioned earlier in the thread and didn’t want to start a new one. I’d like to see the show but doubt I’ll get to NYC in time to do so.
 

Cholentpot

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Shall I not share content from them then? It seems every time I do, someone has a complaint. I do make an effort to also give a second link, as I did in this case, that is not behind a paywall.

I’m the OP btw, and thought of this old thread when I saw the NYT article today. I don’t think this movement was mentioned earlier in the thread and didn’t want to start a new one. I’d like to see the show but doubt I’ll get to NYC in time to do so.

It's fine. Wasn't complaining. I just didn't read it.

I like that point of view......

Interesting, isn't it.

It doesn't bother me. It's a win win. For those who like the medium for it's technical and artistic merits its a boon. And for those who enjoy film just because it's film or for whatever reason it's good too. It keeps the form of photography relevant and in production. I wonder what the landscape will look like a year from now.
 

Philippe-Georges

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I consider 'doing your thing' regardless dominating movements as a kind of a movement because it disregards movements...
 

jtk

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Some of us remember Fluxus...which sometimes involved postal art.... which has sometimes been manifest by PRINT EXCHANGES (but those have rarely centered on "art."

I knew about it through Jerry Berman, who was central to creation of San Francisco State College's EXPERIMENTAL COLLEGE, which put a bunch of professors out to pasture (they weren't much good at anything but were well paid).

I used the wonderful slide library at San Francisco State College as part of the first year psychology that I taught within that experimental college. My own teacher (Conrad Forbes) had produced many of those slides using Kodachrome and appropriate filtration, though I didn't know it at the time. Conrad was, of course, a student of Minor White. Minor's students were themselves a movement.

 

momus

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There really haven't been any movements in the art world of any kind for some time, photographically or otherwise. At some point it's all been done, and it just gets reintroduced (rehashed), maybe w/ another name.

True, there was a time, but now there isn't. Which is actually good, people don't have to work within the confines and restrictions of something like that.

The move from film to digital was a movement, just as the move from cameras to phones to take a picture was a movement (in a sense, it's not a true movement because it's still just a digitally made image). If they ever figure out a way to make a convincing holograph image that works and doesn't require either a lot of money and/or special equipment, that could be a game changer, but that's not happening.
 
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If you need another movement, just get some laxative. That pretty much sums up the whole topic, especially the self-conscious Pop Art movement of the 60's and 70's. It's what they wanted - a purgative of the old order. But now it's the monotonous imperious old order itself. Yesterday's big fad becomes tomorrow's worn-out moldy baggage. Andy Warhol appeals to me just about as much as a Hula Hoop museum.

No discussion is complete without DW.
 

VinceInMT

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Photography remains “stuck” as long as it limits itself solely to an image contained within that square or rectangular viewfinder. There are many directions one can go with the medium while still remaining image-based. Photographic collage and merging with other mediums come to mind. Also, content and subject matter can follow current trends like working within the Excessivism movement.
 

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Photography remains “stuck” as long as it limits itself solely to an image contained within that square or rectangular viewfinder. There are many directions one can go with the medium while still remaining image-based. Photographic collage and merging with other mediums come to mind. Also, content and subject matter can follow current trends like working within the Excessivism movement.

I fail to see where photography is stuck. There is neither thick mud nor ice nor snow miring photography. Is this something meteorological in your local area the leads you to that conclusion? Why does photography or art have be imprisoned with some name selected by some self appointed expert?
 

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I fail to see where photography is stuck. There is neither thick mud nor ice nor snow miring photography. Is this something meteorological in your local area the leads you to that conclusion? Why does photography or art have be imprisoned with some name selected by some self appointed expert?

I was responding to the title of this thread and several of the comments that followed it. For example, momus’ comment that “There really haven't been any movements in the art world of any kind for some time, photographically or otherwise.”

And, no, photography isn’t “imprisoned with some name selected by some self appointed experts,” IMO it is imprisoned by the fact that most photography relies on recording what is in front of the camera. Some would suggest that once everything in the world is photographed, what else is there to do? In a way, I tend to agree. How many more photos of El Capitan to we need? So many photos are repetitive or derivative. Artists working in other mediums can produce work that is created in the mind and they don’t need to go out and find a subject.

However, there are plenty of examples where photographers continue to push the definition of photography and I applaud them for doing so.
 

Sirius Glass

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I was responding to the title of this thread and several of the comments that followed it. For example, momus’ comment that “There really haven't been any movements in the art world of any kind for some time, photographically or otherwise.”

And, no, photography isn’t “imprisoned with some name selected by some self appointed experts,” IMO it is imprisoned by the fact that most photography relies on recording what is in front of the camera. Some would suggest that once everything in the world is photographed, what else is there to do? In a way, I tend to agree. How many more photos of El Capitan to we need? So many photos are repetitive or derivative. Artists working in other mediums can produce work that is created in the mind and they don’t need to go out and find a subject.

However, there are plenty of examples where photographers continue to push the definition of photography and I applaud them for doing so.

Art, music, and photography continually evolve. It will wander around and then take off in another direction. We are so close to these that we cannot see where they are going today. But none of these are dead.
 

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Some would suggest that once everything in the world is photographed, what else is there to do? In a way, I tend to agree. How many more photos of El Capitan to we need?

How many more times does Mt. Everest need to be climbed........"I" haven't photographed El Capitan yet from my own tripod holes. To me, it's not the subject nearly as much as it is the act of photographing it. Asking in general.......does photography need a "movement "? Does film photography need a movement?
 
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Don Heisz

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Asking in general.......does photography need a "movement "?

No. Especially if the criticism is that photography is repetitive or derivative, the idea of a "movement" itself is tied up with one person copying the ideas or styles of another - enough to generate a group of people doing similarly themed or styled work.

Photography needs photographers, just as music needs musicians. It matters far less what in particular they're doing beyond talking photos or making music.

The fact is, work can be worthwhile while also being repetitive and derivative.
 

VinceInMT

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How many more times does Mt. Everest need to be climbed........"I" haven't photographed El Capitan yet from my own tripod holes. To me, it's not the subject nearly as much as it is the act of photographing it. Asking in general.......does photography need a "movement "? Does film photography need a movement?

Good points. I am not arguing a position on the the title topic but continuing the discussion of it.

What you bring up addresses the personal nature of the process of creating, in this case, photography, and that process does not need a movement. It’s about personal involvement and gratification, a place I’ve been in for about 50 years so I certainly get it. It exists in most other endeavors that are personal hobbies, interests, and passions.

If we go back to the OP, there question was about movements within the history of art and where photography has fit into that and whether there are new movements that photography is creating or part of.

In another post, in answering the OP, I mentioned Excessivism, an art movement from 2015. There is no reason that photographers cannot work within that genre and some certainly have.
 

Chuck_P

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The OP asks will there ever be another photographic movement....I sure can't answer that........ and I just expand on that and ask does it need one.........I guess my simpleton point of view is that it does not.
 

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One of photography’s strengths, its ability to document, is also a trait that allows its critics to discount it.

The work of Dorothea Lange, Robert Capa, Paul Strand, Bill Brandt, Margaret Bourke-White, and numerous others clearly show the power of the documentary and how that genre can go beyond that, eliciting strong emotional feelings in the viewer.

That “anyone take a picture” is a common phrase used to sideline photography that ignores the vision that the maker brings to the work. Yes, I suppose that “anyone” could replicate the work of, say, Ansel Adams, by recreating one of his images, using the same equipment and techniques, but that is, as I suggested elsewhere, “repetitive and derivative.” And as I stated in another commment, I certainly find value in taking on that type of process and I suppose many of us have as part of the learning process. I know that I have.

Just a few weeks ago I was out drawing with a group of local artists and one of them asked what other mediums I work in. I told him that aside from drawing (which is my major passion), I do a little painting, ceramic mosaics, and photography. This artist, who is primarily a sculptor, quickly stated that photography doesn’t count as “anyone can take a picture.” Sigh……the discounting is pervasive.

Back to movements, as one looks at art history and the various movements, today we are generally considered to be in the era of Contemporary Art and within that there are numerous offshoots just like Modern Art had its Dada, Cubists, Surrealists, etc. Today, within Contemproary Art, we have the aforementioned Excessivism, Post-Modernism, Graffiti art, Stuckism, and many other along with AI art. The latter is producing as much, or maybe more, skepticism as has been leveled at photography.

However, as an example of the photographers working in these current genres, I particularly like Ellen Carey. She works in abstraction and uses a variety of processes that embrace failure and serendipity, creating images that push the limits of what many expect to see in a photograph. In some ways, she extends the work of Lazlo Maholy-Nagy while giving a heavy nod to the Surrealists.
 

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If I were to define one characteristic of today's photography, it would be the pervasiveness of the documentary style within the genres of landscape photography, portrait, street photography and photojournalism.

By this I mean that there seems to be more and more photographers less interested in the genre for itself—be it landscape, portrait or street—bu more interesting in using it to document a specific group or community. In portraiture, Dawoud Bey's "street portraits" or high-school series come to mind, as does Robert Adams in landscape, Devin Allen's Baltimore street photography, and many more in the younger generation.

Of course there has always been personal documentary photography of a community or group of people (outside of photojournalists on assignment, that is). But it was often a documentation of the underclass (seen a lot in British photography, Chris Killip being a great example), or of a marginalized group (Danny Lyon's bikers, Susan Meiselas' strippers, Bruce Davidson's circus). Difference now is that photographers not only seem more interested in everyday life but also in documenting (or scrutinizing via photography) communities that are either their own or that they already feel close to.

One impact of this is that the set, or series, has become more important than the single photograph. Put the other way, it doesn't matter if a photograph is "ordinary" if it fits in the set, if it contributes to tell the story. Its interest lies in its relationship with the whole. This is a total reversal of older documentary style, and many of the principles of street photography (Winogrand comes to mind), in which individual photographs had to be interesting in themselves.

But what's truly interesting about this is more and more photographers no longer feel stylistically bound by a specific genre in order to get to the heart of what they are documenting. In other words, of a community, portrait tells a story, landscape tells a story, architecture tells a story, spontaneous street photography tells a story, etc., and all these can appear within the same set, giving a fuller context about what one is trying to document.

Alec Soth, I think, is one photographer who masters extremely well and takes full advantage of this new polyphony of genres.

Latoya Ruby Frazer's Flint, Michigan, series is another great example. There also, you have street, portrait, landscape, both in black and white and in color. Tyler Mitchel is another very imaginative photographer in this category, albeit more genre-bending than genre-mixing, as he blurs very brilliantly the limits between street, fashion, documentary and portrait photography in his I can make you feel good series.

I find all this "movement" extremely liberating in terms of storytelling, that is, playing with two different possibilities of storytelling, one in which the documentary intent bends the limit of a genre or borrows the codes of another, and another, the polyphonic approach, in which different genres coexist, each informing individual photographs but not the whole.
 

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...

Just a few weeks ago I was out drawing with a group of local artists and one of them asked what other mediums I work in. I told him that aside from drawing (which is my major passion), I do a little painting, ceramic mosaics, and photography. This artist, who is primarily a sculptor, quickly stated that photography doesn’t count as “anyone can take a picture.” Sigh……the discounting is pervasive.

'''

Some famous sculpturer stated that the sculpture emerges from the rock or piece of wood therefore the proper retort to that artist is that since the sculpture emerges from the medium that "anyone can make a sculpture" and see how that sets with him.
 

VinceInMT

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Some famous sculpturer stated that the sculpture emerges from the rock or piece of wood therefore the proper retort to that artist is that since the sculpture emerges from the medium that "anyone can make a sculpture" and see how that sets with him.

I don’t think so. The photographer, as this sculptor was addressing it, records what was there in front of the camera. With sculpture (and drawing, painting, etc.) what is “there” doesn’t exist until the artist applies it to the medium.

His argument, while ignoring the artistry that can be found in photography, is, I believe, that non-photographic art is, and should be, a more exclusive group because not everyone can draw, paint, sculpt, etc. where, in his view, everyone can make a photograph. I fully recognize the snobbery and elitism found in that attitude but snobbery and elitism has long been part of the art scene.

The context of where this short conversation took place, is a local group that is part of an international “movement” called the Urban Sketchers who draw/paint on location from direct observation. I’ve asked friends to show up for these sessions and get usual response of “I can’t draw.” I am pretty sure that none of them would say “I can’t take pictures” if that was medium.
 

faberryman

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His argument, while ignoring the artistry that can be found in photography, is, I believe, that non-photographic art is, and should be, a more exclusive group because not everyone can draw, paint, sculpt, etc. where, in his view, everyone can make a photograph. I fully recognize the snobbery and elitism found in that attitude but snobbery and elitism has long been part of the art scene.
Anybody can draw, paint, and scuplt. I did so in elementary school. My results weren't all that great. I have seen a lot of photographs that weren't all that great either.
 
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