Re: And how sharp I am was/Re: Temperaprint & Gum

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;>
Date: 02/01/04-01:15:58 AM Z
Message-id: <>

On Fri, 30 Jan 2004, Shannon Stoney wrote:

> >From what I understand about the history of photography, 20 or 30 years ago
> there was a reaction against the modernist f64 super sharpness obsession and
> the general modernist elevation of craft in general (including making
> photographs archival). I think that is where Judy is coming from, ie the
> postmodern position (of the 70s) that photographs don't have to be sharp and
> archival. But nowadays, the pendulum seems to have swung back the other
> way. I saw a show of Joel Sternfeld's landscape photographs in a gallery in
> NYC last week. They were SHARP! And that's what made them good. They were
> also huge, and color.

I doubt great artists follow the pendulum, they move it. For the record
however, most of the Sternfelds that I saw mentioned in that show (I
haven't seen it) were done long ago -- whether more than 20 years I don't
know, but I saw them in the 80s.... Of course they are dazzling... But
from what I know of Sternfeld, he was thinking of the scene, the picture,
and the sharpness was from his Hassleblad (or whatever) and printing on

But it seems I can't mention my sense that sharpness is in some quarters a
fetish and often past the point of diminishing returns, without being told
I don't like sharp photographs and can't do sharp. Or that I don't think
good photographs are or should be sharp. Or in Shannon's words, either do
or just prefer (or both) "poorly crafted fuzzy photographs"!!!
(Shannon,that's shameful/shameless!)

Ditto for archival. A lot of work is utterly incredibly miraculously
archival that could just as well be biodegradable. In fact the value of
art is often enhanced by its rarity. There are so many perfectly
incredibly miraculously archival platinum prints today, they'll be a glut
on the market. But even a so so vintage uranium print would probably be
prized. Meanwhile, for the record, I try to be archival within reason (&
gum is more archival than platinum). So far it seems to be working.

> I also saw in NYC another show of large color landscape photographs--again,
> everything very sharp--taken in China where the Three Gorges Dam is going to
> destroy some towns.


> Also, this trend makes me think that if you are old-fashioned enough,
> eventually you will come back into style. So, don't worry Judy: poorly
> crafted, fuzzy photographs will probably be all the rage in say 20 years or
> so!

As noted, that was pretty bad, but two shows don't make a movement anyway.
What I see all around in fact is pinhole conventions and "Krappy Kamera
shows." In fact I just got an announcement today of a show in Green Hill
Center, North Carolina, arguably a major avant garde center, at least
compared to New York.

They're having an "Old is New Again: Alternative Processes" event, with a
pinhole workshop run by Diana Bloomfield. It's $45, Saturday Aril 24th...
you might like it. But don't apply your one-word definition of
poorlycraftedfuzzy there -- they'll think you're, um, ossified.. Diana's
prints by the way are pinhole, cyanotype over platinum. The one on the
face of the announcement, of her daughter Annalee, is stunning. Not
fuzzy, tho probably slightly soft, and exquisitely crafted.

Received on Sun Feb 1 01:16:10 2004

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