Another ignorant blog about user experience in real life and digital adland

Whatever(catches my eye)

Horishi watanebe

japanese photographer hiroshi watanabe is exhibiting at the ad gallery, switzerland until 17th october 2009. entitled ‘american leitmotiv’, the exhibition will feature Hiroshi Watanabe’s photos handled and developed by his hand which remind us of the authenticity of traditional drawings.

Well there is nothing wrong with his images. But there is everything wrong with the “rationalization”. I was actually reading about W.Benjamin’s aura in Gernot B√∂hme’s philosophy book on aesthetics of nature (not translated into English, as far as I am aware). He writes about Bejamin’s theory in context of nature which is not that important now, although it is close. Like fake flowers, the above description reveals shallow aspirations. Plastic roses “remind us of the authenticity of” real ones, so why bother? Authenticity is a muddy ground to step on while talking about photography. Pictorialism was one of those fake roses that somehow rubbed shoulders with authenticity. Steichen and Co. created a movement of fake roses lovers, which would try to transgress the borders of mimesis and establish their own visual language. Which Watabene is nicely following. This doesn’t change the fact that “the authenticity of traditional drawings” is a stab in a back, for both Benjamin and Watanabe. If a technique solely would define the piece of art then it would be an easy business. It does certainly have much to do with how you do it but any resemblance to real characters is never intentional.

‘I go to places that captivate and intrigue me. I am interested in what humans do. I seek to capture people, traditions, and locales that first and foremost are of personal interest. I immerse myself with information on the places prior to leaving, but I try to avoid firm, preconceived ideas. I strive for both calculation and discovery in my work, keeping my mind open for surprises. at times, I envision images I’d like to capture, but when I actually look through the viewfinder, my mind goes blank and I photograph whatever catches my eye. photographs I return with are usually different from my original concepts. my photographs reflect both genuine interest in my subject as well as a respect for the element of serendipity, while other times I seek pure beauty.’– hiroshi watanabe

Not much to add. I should pity those artists that piggy-back preconceived ideas saying that they are trying to avoid them and then… they shoot something that even Stieglitz wouldn’t bother, because “ when I actually look through the viewfinder, my mind goes blank and I photograph whatever catches my eye.

But I do not pity them. I envy. Because the beholder(or the ever losing curator) is so naive that doesn’t seem to understand that is being pissed on all over by an artist’s whim.