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Monday, 06 October 2008


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Is this 4x5 color negative work?

If it's not it's begging for it.

I can't tell a damn thing on the internet anymore. Everything's straight and he uses a beefy rectangle.

Anyhow, he's taken a well covered subject (no, not the meadowlands area per se) using a sort of ironic/political/social point of view and made something solid of it. Nice work.

Another guy who tackled this idea very nicely is a Chicago photographer named Bob Thall in his New American Village project...Perhaps more disciplined in terms of subject matter... infrastructure, architecture. He shoots in his own black and white style...gorgeous prints.

Really like the Castagnoli pictures, especially the colour palette. I used to live in a similarly clean and quiet area in Japan.

So much of the work I see from younger photographers fits the banality=art equation, but this Meadowlands series really hits me. I've spent a few weeks in the meadowlands since 2004. You'll not find a stranger, more surreal land. Lutz's photos evoke what I feel when I travel there. I've felt what he sees, but I've never been able to translate that into photographs. If I were a better photographer I would have done it first. Hah!

It is funny to realize that, indeed, globalization started far earlier than what we expected. Still funnier to realize that, incidentally, "us humans" tend to live our physical -built- lifes very similarly around the globe. Some say that that very reason allowed us to migrate.

I would say that, deep down in our ungraspable being -wherever it may be- differences are much more subtle than what we expect.

Very nice images but Ray Mortenson has already published a book entitled Meadowlands, Lustrum Press, 1983.

I know because this is one of the books that inspired my interest in photography and the documentary approach to landscape.

And not a single person in those urban scenes:

Guido Castagnoli's photographs of exurban Japan.

These photos made a great influence on me. Very subtle yet strong vision. Thank you!

While I find Lutz's images very strong, creating that connection, the disparate nature of the subjects lacks cohesion, IMO. great photography, just not a strong series for me.

On the other hand, Castagnoli's is the reverse: a strong sense of cohesion as a series, I just don't care for the images much. I just don't get what story he's trying to tell.

However, I really like the work of Thomas Holton at the same site as the Castagnoli work.

I agree with Martin above, however I find that Castagnoli's work is not an attempt to tell a story (as not all photography is), but rather an introspective comparison between the reality of what japan truly is and was, and the typical representation of japan in all of its new age glory.

Please post more artists like Guido Mike!
I thirst for more!

Interesting stuff.

As a long-term Japan resident I found Castagnoli's images interesting in a familiar sort of way ... and also somewhat reminiscent of some of Stephen Shore's work, just in a different "uncommon place". But what's up with the color? Is that artistic intent, or home processing?

Lutz's Meadowland series really hit the spot. I'm still trying to figure out how photographs that seem so ordinary on the surface can have such a powerful effect. Something to study there.

Thanks for the links.

I found "Meadowlands" a bit of a tough "read". I really enjoyed the landscape pictures, but I found the portraits jarring. They interrupted the flow of what I felt he was getting at. Perhaps if the portraits were less stylized, or were presented as a separate series, it would have worked better for me. I did, however, love the color in all of the pictures...

To play along with the comparison game, take a look at the "South Philadelphia" series by Justin James Reed (who I believe I also found through Flak Photo). See http://www.justinjamesreed.com/Justin_James_Reed_Images_SP.html I find that the portraits in "South Philadelphia" work much better than in "Meadowlands".

But if you really want to see something special, see Reed's "Paradise" series, which strikes me as a knockout. See http://www.justinjamesreed.com/Justin_James_Reed_Images_NW.html


According to YouTube, the video is no longer available. Serious question: does anyone know why this happens, even with videos that wouldn't seem to pose copyright or other IP issues? For example, I have clicked on videos that I know were posted by the author him/herself, only to find they are no longer available (this is under circumstances where the author could not conceivably have voluntarily removed the video). Is this a YouTube plot to conserve bandwidth when a video becomes too popular?

It's still working fine for me.

Anybody else having problems seeing it?

Mike J.

Mike J.,

It's OK, you can call me Adam....


I have to say that this body of work is one of the best books produced in the past few years. So many people want these cohesive projects that tell you exactly what to think and when to think it. Once you think you start to get it, another question is raised. After listening to that You Tube piece I really got that this is not a document of a place but more of response to a place. It is not The Meadowlands which would indicate this declarative stance on what should be thought but rather Meadowlands which implies a much more passive exploration.

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