08 aug 19 daily

Today I went through The Democratic Camera (Eggleston) and The Alienated Photographer (Kalisher), two books from the library. Spent time on the Mack and Steidl sites, there are some interesting books that are resonating with me in relation to landscape photography. Ordered Valparaiso, been on my list for a while.

Not sure why this has been an itch, but it's a question that has stuck with me - what is landscape photography? When I say that word, the stereotype fills my mind - the perfect vista, strong color. There is also the new topographic influence, which may have redefined the genre in the world of art photography. I've seen this influence in many more recent photobooks - visual descriptions of landscapes blemished with the imperfect work of man, whatever that may be, track home, run down gas station, abandoned copper mine, modern ghost town. Elements of the interpretation permeate documentary, or lyrical documentary work. It feels like a romanticism of the idea of the post modern interpretation of the American dream. That almost sounded like art speak...

I am looking to understand it more, in a way that makes more sense to me. I'll likely not find it formalized anywhere, but I can at least dig in and see what conclusion I come to on my own.

This is related to books because I received a book today, French Landscapes (Thibaut Cuisset) which is a look at Landscapes post new topograhics. There are several other books on the Steidl and Mack catalogues that catch me as well, I think in time I will pick those up.

I started reading Criticizing Photographs (Barrett). Jay brought it in to show me, and recommended it. I already had it on the shelf, has been sitting there since October of last year (!). It will likely take me a while to hike through, but I have a growing concern about artistic development need to be pushing myself from a non-technical perspective.

The beauty of the program at City is that it is highly vocational, and there is likely a level of technical training that most 4 year programs cannot approach. However, the softer side, the art side, is thin. I am building stronger technicals, but I don't want technical to be the heavy weight in my own practice, it should be balanced. Should talk to Jay about it.

Started cleaning up the studio today to convert it back into a living room. Lynne is happy about that, but it will take a few weeks. Cleaning the garage is part of that plan, which will be where I put a darkroom, if I commit to one. Much is in the air for the next few years.

My copy of The Afronauts showed up today.