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Friday, 11 September 2015


Thanks for posting this, I never would have seen this story otherwise. What an excellent profile of an amazing artist.

The one line from the story that made me laugh out loud was this:

"His father gave him his first camera, a Nikon F, the era’s equivalent of a point-and-shoot...."

I could care less.

I had never heard of Wall before this post. I looked at the WSJ article, and at the included images. Evidently, he is making a good living from this work. The more power to him, but i'm afraid I'm not highly impressed by the work. Maybe i'm a GOM (grumpy old man), but without the titles, they are forgettable. With the titles, they are more understandable, but for me, not much more interesting. I guess, as he says in the article, his photography isn't for the public.

Great article. Just avoid the comments section at the end...

I recently started reading Michael Fried's Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before. Excellent book that digs into Wall's work and the influences on him.

And have I just commented on three of your posts in a row?

Gee, in the interests of "balance", you absolutely need a comment along the lines of Jeff Walls: an absolutely worthless poseur.

Wall is a hybrid photographer/painter, using some of the ideas of painting to make photos. Fine with me. Gregory Crewdson does something similar, although Wall is more of an intellectual and Crewdson more of a sensualist. The really difficult question in both cases (since their scenes are synthetic) is, 'Why should I care about this?'

I'm going to have to figure out how to change how my name shows up now. Not that I don't sympathize with the other Dennis' take on Jeff Wall a little. But I'll freely admit that there's just a whole little piece of society that finds something to appreciate in art that I just don't get at all.

Staged photographs are a challenge for me, right off the bat, because they're nothing I have any interest in shooting. But I certainly like plenty of stuff I don't shoot. I like Julie Blackmon's family scenes, for instance (and could fully understand it if someone doesn't like her stuff). And I can enjoy looking at (some of) the works of photographer artists, like Stephen Shore and Eggleston. So Jeff Wall's stuff does nothing for me (at least not in a small web image on my laptop) ... that says more about me than it does about his work.

One other note - I give artists with that kind of reputation credit for talking about their work. I recently heard about John Luther Adams because he was at a local performance of "Inuksuit" to benefit a local charity. The articles I read talked about him being a grammy winning composer and the whole thing seemed impressive. Someone I know attended the show and said the music was "magical" with sounds coming from all over, though they got a little bored halfway through. I looked into it a little more and watched a couple videos including one in which the composer talked a lot about the work. And the more he talked, the more the whole thing seemed phony. I think that with any art that's not very accessible and depends on context to be appreciated, the artist walks a fine line in talking about the work.

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