February 21, 2012 § Leave a comment
“When we look at photographs which privilege documentation over imagination, we are seeing seeing. Little room is left us, the viewers, for insight or interpretation. What we’re shown is what we cannot help noticing if our eyes are open. Anyone, for example, can understand a picture of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The problem with this kind of seeing is that what we observe may have nothing to do with the truth of the matter represented. That’s not to say it has nothing to do with fact. But fact, as we know, is more often the sales pitch of the powerful than a hallmark of the universal. In Spencer’s work, however, truth manifests itself by negation of fact. We see what history can never regain, what the news can never define, what advertisements can never sell.
Seeing, for instance, has very little to do with what we experience in a photograph like Cloud/Tree, where air, water, and land invade the horizon so entirely that one can hardly think of any other word for it than sublime—that sense of the monstrous in the elemental, in the presence of which all human intent withers into triviality. ”
February 14, 2012 § 1 Comment
“Dobrowner’s Trees-Clouds gives an excellent summative vision of his photography, even though it possesses none of his beautiful geological formations. We find the extreme ratios—the horizon line is squeezed against the bottom of the photograph dwarfing the land beneath a vast expanse of sky and cloud. A series of telephone poles almost unnoticeably inch across the land. However the beauty of all of this is nothing without the two minute trees in the left-hand corner. These trees are the making of the entire photograph, providing some golden ratio, some graspable even personable concreteness, however insignificant the trees may be, dwarfed by the immensity of sky, the unending sliver of land that stretches everywhere beneath inhospitable storms.”
February 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
“The fictive vision behind these sublime landscapes pivots around two seemingly contradictory artistic impulses: the classical and the modernist, particularly the technique of defamiliarization. While both of these styles seem mutually exclusive, there has been in fact a great deal of 20th century classicizing art. Though it often only united a Modernist style with a Classical subject, it was the most dominant style of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Furthermore, it might seem odd to label photographs of plateaus, storms, or mountain ranges “classical” or “modern,” but Dobrowner’s work quite clearly shrugs off the Romanticism of most landscape or nature artists and hones a neoclassical formalism that in turn transforms his subjects into something alien.”
February 1, 2012 § 1 Comment
“To think of photography as captured fact is, in some ways, to think of it as the invention of coincidence rather than the intention of the artist. Journalism and documentary rely on serendipitous opportunities. And not surprisingly, many photographers claim the element of luck as a blessing on their process. But Spencer doesn’t buy into the idea of luck-as-process. In a statement linked to his website, he says:
‘I am forced to abandon serendipity to create an altogether new mood that did not exist before. These are constructions that are in gestation. I am moving in a direction where I believe that it is exciting to create something into existence, where before, there was nothing. I no longer have any interest in relying on circumstance to present itself at its convenience (emphasis Spencer’s).'”
January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
“On suiseki: The appreciation of stones that suggested mountains, landscapes, animals, and other forms developed in China where they had been collected and revered by the literati since at least the T’ang dynasty. They were classified by varieties: elegant rocks, fantastic rocks, admirable rocks, and stubborn rocks. However, with the arrival in Japan of Zen, a new stone aesthetic developed. What came to be admired were simpler, less ostentatious, more austere, and quieter stones, stones that reflected inner awareness and spiritual refinement.”
December 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
In recent news, Google has produced a short video on Mitch Dobrowner:
Our Prism Series books Mitch Dobrowner is currently shipping. Order now to receive your book(s) for the holidays (limited quantities may be available).
As always we look forward to hearing from you, and have a happy holiday season!