My tutor suggested I look at the work of Anne Collier, from a presentational point of view, and following my research on Evan Roth I also want to revisit Erik Kessels’ presentation, which I think has much in common with Roth’s.
Collier, another American, is known for rephotographing old artefacts to reframe their meaning in the light of current thinking about feminism, the male gaze, and the effects of time on objects among other themes. While the subject of the work is very interesting and worthy of further research (Mousse Magazine, 2019), for the purposes of my own studies I currently want to look at in in terms of how she sets out her photographs and then presents them for viewing. I will use two separate images for consideration.
As Katy Diamond Hamer explains, in a review of Collier’s 2012 exhibition at the Anton Kern Gallery,
Each photograph is a frame within a frame. The actual frame contains an image surrounded by white space and then the content, central, is appropriated from various sources. (Hamer, 2012).
Many of the objects in the images are appropriated, but the act of rephotographing them as framed studies in their own right, and as objects that show signs of use, give them a new authority, and specifically a space to be seen as individual pieces. So ften we see an album cover, for instance (one of her themes) en masse and we don’t take the time to appreciate the work that has gone into each individual one. By photographing them in a minimalist way, Collier gives the objects space to breathe.
At the other end of the scale, for Erik Kessels, more is better, and much more is even better. Kessels also uses appropriated images, but puts them in collections. Again I am interested in his work here in terms of presentation. Kessels is prolific and I could have chosen any number of works for consideration. He is interested in the sheer quantity of images being produced at present, their banality, and whether we look at them with any particular sense of engagement. In the two images below, My Feet and 24 Hours, we see both the size of the issue, and the lack of that individuality which would be present in a single analogue photograph. Our use of the internet has made photo editors of all of us, but the output is generally of much lower quality overall than what was produced when we were limited to a 36 frame film, and single images are generally very bland.
Kessels work is not dissimilar to that of Evan Roth in terms of the presentation – both use images in huge numbers to make their point, but the point itself is different. Kessels is exploring our relationship to photographic images, while it could be argued that Roth is exploring the image’s relationshiop to the internet, although both obviously have other themes overlaying this fundamental approach, as well.
In terms of my own work, and this project in particular, I need to decide whether to go minimalist or maximalist, so the next step will be to try out each presentation to see which I prefer. I am not in the habit of mixing multiple images together within a single frame, so this should be interesting.
Finally, I am reminded of a piece I read a couple of months ago, on the biennial Lenscratch Photographs in Conversation exhibition, where two or more images were abutted in order to set up a dialogue which would not be there for each single image alone. Details can be found here (Smithson, 2019) and it is an idea I would like to explore.
Fig. 1 Collier, A. (2012) Clouds. [Photograph] At: https://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2012/newphotography/anne-collier/clouds_8x10-2/index.html (Accessed 29/02/2020).
Fig. 2 Collier, A. (2016) Open Book (Waves) 2.[Photograph] https://www.antonkerngallery.com/artists/anne_collier (Accessed 29/02/2020).
Fig. 3 Kessels, E. (2014) My feet. [Photograph] At: https://www.damnmagazine.net/2016/02/03/my-feet-by-erik-kessels/ (Accessed 29/02/2020).
Fig. 4 Kessels, E. (2011) 24 Hours of Photos. [Photograph] At: https://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/photography/articles/2016/may/04/photos-that-changed-the-world-24-hrs-in-photos/ (Accessed 29/02/2020).
Hamer, K. D. (2012) ‘Anne Collier @Antonkerngallery, NY.’ In: eyes-towards-the-dove.com. At: https://eyes-towards-the-dove.com/2012/04/a-n-n-e-collier-antonkerngallery-ny/ (Accessed 05/11/2019).
Mousse Magazine (2019) ‘Anne Collier “Photographic” at Fotomuseum Winterthur’ In: moussemagazine.it At: http://moussemagazine.it/anne-collier-photographic-fotomuseum-winterthur-winterthur-2019/ (Accessed 05/11/2019).
Smithson, A. (2019) ‘The 2019 Photographs in Conversation Exhibition‘ In Lenscratch.com At: http://lenscratch.com/2019/05/the-2019-diptych-exhibition/ (Accessed 05/11/2019).