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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

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"I don't want every record a band ever put out; I want the two or three best things, which sometimes means the two or three best songs, and that's enough."

Depends on whether we're talking the Rolling Stones (or your favorite band/composer) or some fly-by-night one hit wonder. I don't mind having more of the former, but the latter… not so much. The same thing goes for photographers. I don't mind having more from a photographer whose work really appeals to me, others not so much. Eggleston, for me, falls into the latter category. Perhaps that's also the case for you?

If there was ever a type of photography that makes me shrug, that's Eggleston and his followers. With this book we shall enter a new type of product: a substitute of a fairy tale, that makes you fall asleep as you leaf through...

$512? How about TOP buys a copy and then rents it out to readers for $20 per week?

You probably won't want to publish this, Mike, so delete it if you wish. I believe that the fact that William Eggleston can be considered a great photographer is indicative of how much our post-modern culture has descended into meaninglessness.

Eggleston is a fascinating character but to my mind he’s not brilliant enough (I’m not sure anybody would be) for me to accept the implied premise of The Democratic Forest: I can’t be bothered to edit my own work, so here it all is, and you can make of it what you want.

Still, a pretty cool idea for a book, and I look forward to seeing it . . . and making of it what I want.

This is just a copyediting note. It should read "Not for him," not "Not for he."

One more copyediting note. In the last sentence, you need a space between "be" and "interesting."

I don't know if I'd call him one of the most 'influential' photographers of his era, as much as one of the most 'controversial'.

I think the key to enjoying Moby Dick is to accept that it is a grand, multifaceted collage. It's a very modern book, filled with generous helpings of fascinating flotsam, jetsam and detritus from the writing process, rendered in multiple voices and forms. Ironically, it may be more approachable for a younger generation weaned on the likes of Neal Stephenson and David Foster Wallace, and other of Melville's literary descendants, than for those of us who grew up with the lapidary perfection of Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Carver as our paradigms.

An apt metaphor, I should think, for the Democratic Forest project.

OK, I don't even know why I'm saying this, I don't even want to use my name, but, I'm going ahead on the off, off chance someone might agree with me, even a little. Namely, I'd rather read (or try to read) Moby Dick 2,4,5 times than look at any more of his photos. I remember when he 'hit the scene'. I never trusted John Szarkowski again. I've been looking at photos a long time, but just don't get this guy. Mike, help me out here, maybe I'm not too old to learn. Do you really like his work? If so, talk a bit about that, if you would.

Thx.

anonymous (OK, Ray H.)

[I would say the answer is that you don't have to like anybody's work. And actually, actively not liking work is a pretty good sign that you have a real love for photography, because without strong opinions how can there be strong feelings? There are definitely photographers who are "famous" who I just don't connect with at all. It's no crime, and nothing to worry about. Just another of the many ways of learning about yourself. --Mike]

The Guide is nice, but I do love the Chromes trilogy, even though I can't afford it. I admire Steidl for his attention to detail. He personally looked at and praised a project I submitted a while ago, and although he ultimately didn't decide to work with me, I appreciated the fact that he took the time.

> $500? I'll get it on Kindle ;-)


Patrick

While I would concur with your "I don't want everything just the best" thinking for many photographers' work (and other items of art-slash-entertainment), I do not think it works for Eggleston. What is his "gist"?

One Eggleston image doesn't "mean" anything. I do not think it is supposed to, supposed to look good in a frame on your wall. It is almost as with a movie consisting of many single frames. You have to allow yourself to be flooded with them to be able to feel the ebb and flow and the atmosphere that he purveys. I have never been to the southern US, but I think I have a pretty good idea of how the place feels, the sounds, the smells, the "vibes", not just how it looks as you would expect from a visual medium. But this needs the absolute mass of impressions i.e. images.

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