lotus photography
ode to my predecessors
The word, the spoken and the written word, has the most immediate impact on human beings; in contrast, matter speaks more slowly. --Alvar Aalto

Aalto was an architect and designer from Finland and a true pioneer in Modern design. He is perhaps most famous for his Paimio chair (If you live in Portland and know about the Aalto Lounge, know that it is named for this fine character and that the graphic on their sign is a rendition of the Paimio chair).

I strive (and hopefully all of us do) for an aesthetic that will sustain decades of change, visual and otherwise. Aalto is one of those artists who quietly achieved this benchmark. He was simultaneously forward thinking and rooted in history. He understood classic design but was not afraid to predict what we would like.

William Eggleston is arguably my favorite photographer and I believe he lives in this same category. In 1976, John Szarkowski curated the first, one-man color photography show for MoMA in New York City. Reputations were on the line and honestly, it took years for them to recover. At first glance, Eggleston's photographs could have been taken by your 10-year old niece.
They represented the banal, the mundane, the "unworthy" slices of life in his home, Memphis, Tennessee. The public was outraged. Artists emphatically opposed Szarkowski's choice. Ansel Adams went so far as to write him a two page letter expressing is discontent. "I find little 'substance'. For me, [Eggleston's photographs] appear to be 'observations,' floating on the sea of his consciousness... For me, most draw a blank."

Despite grim reactions, this show catapulted color photography into the "art" world and eventually served as the foundation for Eggelston's success. In today's context, Eggleston's photos receive a wildly different response. And while some maintain their initial ground, he has become one of the most influential, respected photographers to date. In fact, William Eggleston's Guide (the book that was produced for that initial show) is more often than not, sold out on Amazon.com.

We change, Eggleston's tricycle is the same tricycle.

His work is showing at the Whitney in NYC until January 25th. It is his first show in the city since 1976. If this has made you at all interested in the man, you may enjoy this article from New York Magazine.

Until next time...

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://lotusphotography.org/do/mt-tb.cgi/22

Leave a comment

Ani's Photo Blog

I had a crazy professor in college that published books...lots of books, and refused to capitalize any letters. She felt it was one of the many internalized processes of "othering" that were practiced by educated human beings. Exclusion and isolation led to power, discrimination and division. The final paper I wrote for that class was published. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

The best way to describe my relationship with photography at that time was true, blinding love. I had confidence that I could blur the lines of duality with a single photographic experience; assurance that I would join the ranks of photographers who change how people see. In short, I was going to revolutionize communication...and I would drive it with the power of love. So it stands to reason that this final paper would extract a small photographic property and make it explode with purpose. It is the human propensity for monochromatic thinking that waters the roots of "othering".

Boy, I was really proud of that conclusion. I guess things like this lose a bit of their University flare when they're not tucked safely inside university walls. The point is, as my contextual knowledge of photographs grew, I developed a strong affinity for joining the non-joinable in all manner of subjects. Do non-sequiturs really hold water?! Don't our brains have a mind of their own? If you aren't convinced, hang out with a toddler for the day and you will know this as fact.

Photographs are a secret passage into all kinds of relationships. They are nostalgic and prophetic at the same time and I think that is so cool.

I like vacationing here. Maybe you will too...

Depth of Field Contest
Mark Ostow Photography
Ron Jude Photography
Blue Sky Gallery
Fifty Crows
This American Life

Monthly Archives

Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed

contact andrea nelson     ani.nelson@gmail.com | 503 . 560 . 7959 | more info >