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Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Lynn Hershman Leeson has worked extensively in photography, video, film, installation and pioneered interactive computer and net-based media art. She has been at the forefront of “new media” art since the 1970s, developing fluency in new digital technologies as they evolved. Lynn has been responsible for a number of technological innovations, including the first interactive computer-based artwork, the first artwork to use touch-sensitive screen technology, and the first networked telerobotic art installation. She was a part of the Feminist Art Movement in the United States and still demonstrates today her originality while continuing her feminist mission to explore female communication practices, insight and sexuality.

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Lynn’s studio was a buzz of activity on the 2nd floor of a brick building in the Mission District. She has a handfull of assistants who are kept very busy by her hectic schedule.

www.lynnhershman.com

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Before having the chance to visit all of these artists studios, I never really thought much about how “low tech” most art is. For painters, the basic principles can be traced all the way back to our caveman days. The first people to paint a picture, inside caves, were using the same basic tools painters use today. Sculpting is the same. Once the principles of carving rock, and later poring metal, were understood by our ancestors the technology stopped. In fact, we may have even lost some knowledge along the way.

Recently, I was reading an article about the restoration of the Parthenon. Some of the work requires hand tools to be used for the shaping and carving of the marble columns. It is thought, that the hand tools they used to build the Parthenon were better than what we would use today. But, what they didn’t have was the long history to draw upon.

What I find fascinating about the low tech nature of art is it rarely looks low tech when finished. Even the way art is defined; Contemporary, Avant-garde, Cutting edge, makes it seem new. Yet, the processes involved are usually pretty tame. It is the mind of the artist that makes the work look fresh, different, and modern. Even when replicating a style done hundreds of years ago, the artist can’t help but to modernize and update it – just a bit.

Artists are always able to stand on the shoulders of those who came before and re-interpret the world. At their best paintings, sculptures or photographs make us react emotionally. Art is capable of making us mad, angry, happy, and can cover a range of emotion. But, in the end, it is just canvas, metal, or a photograph. A static piece of art that moves us.

In the panoramic photos I take, I try to remember it isn’t always about the artists artwork. My photograph is a poor representation of their original artwork. The photograph is meant to allow you to see the baseball collection, the stuffed goat, the pets. The things the artist uses to produce work isn’t the paint brush, the clay or the camera, it is his view of the world. Often they collect things that show us their point of view. Sometimes, the room is close to empty, my guess is, they are creating everything in their mind. And I find that just as interesting.

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For the better part of the past eight years, I’ve devoted a good chunk of my time photographing artists. My first series was photographing other photographers.

Out of the shadows – Portraits of Photographers

The concept of my photographer project was to make formal portraits of the people who create memorable images. Photographers operate in the shadows, behind the lights and lens. They illuminate and document our world but, unless you are really into photography, they remain faceless, much like a voice from the radio. We build a mental likeness in our minds eye. Often, that image is radically different than reality.

Much like the radio commentators, photographers have a point of view. Whether listening to a commentator or looking at the image a photographer takes, we see the world with a bit of their slant. It is their voice filtering our world. Because we are a visual society, seeing what the person behind the camera looks like adds to our picture of who they are. Of course, you only get to see who they are from my filtered point of view.

The studio tour photographs take the concepts from my “Out of the Shadows” series and adds a larger element to our understanding of the artist. We get to see the complete working studio in a 360 panoramic. From a photography standpoint, it removes much of my slant from the photographs letting you decided what is important.

Normally, I use my view to guide you towards what I feel is important in a scene. The panoramic photographs give me only one way to direct your attention, where I place the camera. Sometimes, even that decision is based solely on where there is enough space to allow me to work. Without complete composition control, I felt I needed to try and photograph the atmosphere of the studio. Is it dusty, bright and airy? Perhaps there is an air of thought and importance. In each photograph, I have set my goal to capture the “feeling” of the studio.

I’d love to hear from you. If you don’t feel comfortable commenting here please drop me an e-mail. info@cichonfineart.com

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