so, I was going to (and have, eventually) tagged this and yesterday’s posts with ‘re-photography’. I googled to see if it stood up to my meaning for it as a tag and I wasn’t convinced – wiki has it as photographing the same location over time – kinda like harvey keitel does with his cigar store in ‘smoke’, and I was thinking more of richard prince and sherrie levine and so on, taking photographs of photographs.
the poster girl for what I had in mind would probably be allie-mae burroughs.
poor, exhausted allie-mae, with her thin lips and her dark eyes squinting in the bright sunny south, leaning on her clapboard shack, photographed by walker evans in 30’s alabama. an historic record of a rough time.
45 years on allie-mae looked out into the art-theoretical storm when sherrie levine opened a catologue of a walker evans exhibit and took a photo of his photo of allie-mae. she called it ‘after walker evans’ and claimed it as an original and copyrighted work.
30 years on and people are still arguing about that. a deliberate provocation for sure, far from the only example and deliciously compromised (evans’ photo, taken for the farm security administration, is public domain not copyright)
A huge , circular and ill thought-out post on this would be both a doddle and a bore to all. I did not really intend to go on about this. I thought I would post links. but I think just this one if you wanted to meet allie-mae and read more, either because you’re interested or have no idea what I’m on about.
see, I thought that maybe in the back of my head was a term that would fizz with recognition when it popped on screen in front of me somewheres down the dusty ol’ information super-highway, that this was a well established practice, but a little google about shows it’s still all types of controversy and rages on all fronts in the new digital era. I guess it would, I’d somehow failed to connect the two before – although there is a subtle but qualitative difference between using a camera to take a photo of a book and moving an identical digital file about (isn’t there?). of such subtleties is the raging debate constructed. what is ‘fair use’ and so on.
as much fun as all that stuff is I just wanted to take pictures of advertising, billboards and posters. walker evans used to do that too. this picture might not seem all that, to carry all this burble – crushed by history and theory. I think with these type of things what interests me is the way images are degraded and altered by reproduction and display, the new skin they get from being out in the world. so anyway, after all that fuss I have tagged it ‘re-photography’. I also tagged it with the name of a damien hirst piece that is a ping-pong ball floating on a jet of air. for reasons I believe are obvious so, yeah. and so on.