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Thursday, 22 May 2008

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Fantastic stuff. The best colour photographers seem to be those who understand how to use black as a colour.

Well that was funny after just reading Ctein's post - another annoying photo website.
I didn't like what I saw and was about to leave quickly when I remembered you'd mentioned a "gas station" series which sparked my curiosity. Fortunately that was quickly found but far too modern looking (i.e. oversaturated, intentionally obscure compositions) for me so thanks, but no thanks.

Cheers, Robin

"(I've always wondered what a series of pictures based around gas stations would look like (Eddie Russia's Twentysix Gasoline Stations notwithstanding).)"

It's Ed Ruscha.

You of all people.

Michael (Grasshopper),
When Ed Ruscha worked for Artforum magazine in New York in the 1960s he used the pseudonym "Eddie Russia." QED.

Mike J.

Regular at 2.46 a gallon? Wasn't that long ago, I don't think. Would be a good project for time-lapse photography. We can see how fast gas prices rise.

Good grief Mike; Exxon-Mobil? You, of all people :( Then again, the one with the homeless guy pushing his cart by the station does sorta tell it all.

"Good grief Mike; Exxon-Mobil? You, of all people :( "

Al,
Don't look at me. I haven't bought gas from Exxon since the Exxon Valdez disaster. But I'll look at pictures. That I never mind.

Mike J.

Just a quick note, if anyone's interested: I wrote a short article about Ben Lowy for Rob Galbraith's web site back in 2004, when Lowy was doing a lot of work in Iraq. Like all those articles it has a lot of nuts-and-bolts info (now mostly outdated) about doing the job, but also a bit of the then 24-year-old Lowy's thoughts on the desire to become a war photographer (to me, a puzzling psychological phenomenon).

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=7-6456-7033

Mike,
Actually, it's not that bad of a porfolio on Exxon. Many of the pictures show the downside of being around one of their stations, or, at least, imply a negative effect of the station to its surrounds. And the photos aren't too shabby, either. Of course, another view might be that even as the world crumbles, Exxon soldiers on :)

Benjamin Lowy clearly knows how to use a camera and put himself in positions where that camera can do its thing. In viewing his online portfolios, however, I was disappointed by three factors.

1. I think I'm suffering from CMEIF syndrome. (Chronic Middle Eastern Image Fatigue) I just blank-out when I see yet another photo of women wearing burkas or soldiers hunkering in dusty streets. International political and societal issues aside, that imagery is very old and tiresome.

2. I wonder why Lowy chooses to over-cook his images so severely? Does he really find the diminishment of details appealing? Is he just dressing his images in stylish garb? Whatever the reason, it's too bad because this over-applied dressing severely degrades his otherwise compelling scenes. Perhaps one day, at some less competitive period of his life, Lowy will reprocess some of these images into their more honest and revealing forms.

3. Like Robin, above, I was distracted by the style of Lowy's online presentation. Yes, I fully realize that Flash has some advantages. But, Lowy's site style, like his image post style, got in the way of appreciating his images.

I would be eager to revisit Benjamin Lowy's imagery, say, 10-15 years from now. I suspect his eye will have become even keener but his post-processing judgement will have matured to produce some truly wonderful stuff.

Apparently Mr. Lowy doesn't pay a whole lot of attention to lens tests that make vignetting out to be a bad thing ;)

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