/”> Exercise Weight : bold”>”The development of a self-aware critical discourse will signal photography’s equal passage into the world of contemporary art.” - f Exercise/”>Lose -weight-rom Qualifying Photography as Art, or, Is Photography All It Can Be? by CHRISTOPHER BEDFORD The majority of blogs that I come across fit a sort of recipe(this blog included). There are plenty of blogs where artists, curators and others in the photo industry weigh in with their opinions, showcase other artists and highlight other interesting things they deem worthy of being brought to the fore. But the Los Angeles County Museum of Art(LACMA) is proposing to start something interesting and a little bit different. Words Without Pictures is attempting to be a forum where essays about photographic theory will be posted on a monthly basis and then the forum will take shape organically as participants read, process and respond to the essays. While attempting to foster more community in the photography world, it seems that an unwritten goal of the site may be to create a new framework for understanding and speaking critically of the medium. At least that would seem to be the tone as set by the first essay, which was written by Christopher Bedford. Bedford is an art historian and critic based in Los Angeles. He is currently a Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In his essay he suggests that photographic criticism suffers from a sort of anemia when it comes to critically discussing work that falls outside a “conceptual process” framework. It is his opinion that new terminology, understanding and considerations need to be given to all the seemingly quotidian choices that photographers make concerning their medium and the effects such choices have on the final product and its meaning.
“Photographers who instrumentalize photography as one component of a broader practice have therefore accrued far more critical and commercial traction than photographers who hue more c/”>Lose Exercise ly to the essentialist, “observe and record” model of photography, simply because their work is more accessible and intelligible to art critics. The latter process of seeing, electing, and shooting is too connoisseurial, too ineffable, and too intuitive to qualify as an intelligent and intelligible conceptual strategy according to the imperatives of the contemporary art world, where a premium is placed on conceptual sophistication. As Maurice Berger has noted, such work is assumed to be “weak in intentionality.”
- Christopher Bedford
I really like the questions he brings up and the points he makes regarding current photographic criticism and who gets criticized. It is a very well written and engaging essay. I encourage you to read it and to tune into Words Without Pictures to see what unfolds. You can read the essay here.