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Thursday, September 2, 2010

On Photography and the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Homeless, 34th Street
Photo by myself below ground at 34th Street.

Apologies for the depressing subject matter.

There's a part of me that feels that raw images, especially photographs, are artistic, because they show things people would rather not see. I think must be the younger part of me with such opinions.

Another part of me feels that art should be uplifting. This is definitely the older part of me. This part has seen enough upsetting things. Hm.


Speaking of contradictions, I was made to discover a talented photographer today. (Hooray! Celebration! Here's to inspiring images!).

The sad thing is that I found her through the obituaries. The Times reported that Corinne Day passed away this weekend, at the much too young age of 48. She was a fashion photographer whose work launched a 16-year old Kate Moss.

Day's work combines both the frivolous and the gritty in the fashion world. She photographed fanciful spreads for Vogue Magazine but also exhibited photos at the National Portrait Gallery. Her series 'Face of Fashion' shows us nude and scantily clad models often without makeup and often in less than glamorous settings.

For the Times article, click here.
For Ms. Day's online portfolio, click here.

Related posts: Worthy Causes, Could You Keep it Down? and Grace Church in Black and White.


Alistair said...

An interesting photograph but I'm not sure what it does say. Many photographers have demonstrated their art in showing those aspects of humanity which many of us either do not cannot or don't wish to see and all to a variable degree of success.
However unless and until you try to show your pics to a wider audience how will you ever know how they are perceived.
In the sleepy town in which I live we also have similar sights but of course with significantly less numbers.
Enjoyed your pics of Japan and glad to read that the puppy was fine.
Keep doing what you do continues to be a great read for me.
Best wishes from Forfar Scotland

ps removed original post due to spelling errors!

Boom Nisanart said...

Significant Captured ! This is totally master piece of one life.

Everyday Melbourne
Everyday Shot

this too will pass said...

excellent shot

Lou said...

Oh WOW! That is an amazing photograph. I love the background too- where it's slightly blurred in places.

Reminds me of when i was last in NY, December time, and a homeless man came around the corner with a push-cart just like that. He wasn't wearing shoes. I was so shocked the moment stayed with me.

Where i live in London, homeless people tend to hide in shadows and shop doorways, under boxes and newspapers. You're never really confronted with it. But this photograph and my own experience proves otherwise in NY.

Kitty said...

Thanks for the comments folks. I knew you all would have opinions about this!

Hi Alistair
True, true...I'm sure some artists photograph/depict shocking thing just to shock people out of the everyday. It's been going on since the beginning of Art.

You're right, it is a dance between the photographer and the audience. Sometimes the images might strike a cord, sometimes not. I really ought to think about such images in a larger context.

Thanks Boom and This too will pass!

Hello Lou!
It is so shocking to see someone shoeless in a city, isn't it.

I wish I were in London now. I miss that city terribly.

Luis Gomez said...

Wonderful post Kitty. I agree with you. Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

great link! it really lifted my self confidence!

dianasfaria.com said...

I think this is a photograph that says different things to different people which to me makes it more artistic than not. It's the type of photo that gets people thinking.
There is something intrinsically beautiful about seeing a human being just as they are which I believe you have captured here.

Catz said...

Great picture. I like these raw photos you take and I admire your courage in taking them. Glad to have you back!

Ken Mac said...

you do well with these shots, but I never feel comfortable. I always feel I am invading their rather miserable space to photograph the homeless. But this is a great shot,one of your best I think. Certainly makes you know you're back home eh?

lewi14@gmail.com said...

What a obfuscating, awful but heart-rending shot. How brutal. It's really an excellent shot. Wow!

Kitty said...

Thanks again everyone.

I do have mixed feelings when taking these sometimes, but I'm glad the image is appreciated on a visual level.

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

A thoughtful post, Kitty! I think art can reflect both. The things we'd rather not think about and things that uplift us. Because art should reflect all of life to be true.

How perfect that you equate the former with the younger part of you. I'm reminded of an insightful line in a Bob Dylan song: "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now." When we're young, we feel so grown up as we rail against the injustices in the world. As we get older, we still see those things and still react to them and speak out against them, but we also realize that we should embrace the good things in life too.

I remember going to the art museum with a friend when we were teenagers. All the way there, we ranted about the awful state of the world and how civilization was collapsing around us. After spending a few hours in the museum, I felt uplifted; I felt that if man (and woman) could create all this beauty, perhaps the world wasn't as awful as we thought.

Del said...

with everything you have said about photography should be uplifting but it should also be about things people should/don't see.

I also thinks photos can be just photos. They don't have to say anything other than 'this was what i saw' and just leave it open for people to see or take from it what they want.

I love this shot. It's very striking.

Kitty said...

Hi Terry,
I really like the first few lines of your comment. So. Very. True.

I suppose art should provoke thought about the world around us. You wouldn't think that to be the case because paintings and sculpture are mere objects. But in the end, they do refer outside themselves.

Hello Del
Yes! And allowing art to be all these different things is a liberating thing. In the past, I think art had a much more confining role, that of educating or depicting. We are so lucky to be living in this age.