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Thursday, 10 June 2021


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I'd call them both successful, since I wanted to keep looking at them.

They are both very good bodies of work, I like the Pools From Above a bit more only because visually they are unique. They are aerial shots but some of them play tricks on your visual orientation, verticals, horizontal, or from above. I see that project as a nice book perhaps but certainly not $2,000.00 bucks a pop for a print, seriously ?

I love the “On Wisconsin”. He about captured it, even including Dick Bacon sunbathing at Milwaukee’s lakefront. I believe that Bacon was “Mr. Nude America” at one time.

41 is fantastic, full stop!

I do think they are both successful. I know people where I live would love the pool photos and would want large prints and I think they are wonderful. But in the Wisconsin shots, I feel like I am there with the photographer. I would buy a book of his work. There is a respect for the land and people that comes through. Thank you for sharing these.


I can only imagine the complexities of international drone photography. I'm starting to be glad I never got started into it just there in the US, and even if most countries are less weird about it than we are (no idea) having to deal with that many different jurisdictions is a nightmare.

I do like the photos. I've been trying to pay attention to (and work on) composition, and these are interesting for that, in addition to just being interesting.

I almost never think this. I don't really like the "printing" (editing? except that also means selection, and I mean the modern equivalent of darkroom work) of the Wisconsin set. I don't mean to suggest the photographer doesn't know what they're doing; I'm assuming they look just like they want them to, and we simply disagree. But for my tastes they look like straight prints, without the work that makes a portfolio print work. Wouldn't want to make a final judgment without seeing actual prints, of course (though, looking at images from the photographer's site on my calibrated screen should give me a pretty good idea of the work).

I liked only one or two of the Wisconsin photos (the house in twilight). Most of them look like the sort of thing someone would show you on their cell phone - here's my neighbor Fred with his snowblower in his trunk. The overhead shots are more successful, they look planned and thought out and are nicely composed. So one success out of two.

The Wisconsin pictures are closer to my personal taste, and they look like good work - not exactly landscapes (though I feel that I know more about the look of Wisconsin now than I did before), not quite documentary, not quite social comment, though I’d love to know more about the people in them. And Shangri La…

Pools, on the other hand, bothers me. Excellent work, by the look of it; but intrusive, surely? I’m not sure about drone images such as these. Did the photographer get permission from the owners to fly the drone over their property? If not, were the images legally taken? In fact, could there be over-arching legislation that prohibits taking drone images over residential property even if the owners/occupants approve?

Overall I felt that the Wisconsin images were taken with the agreement and participation of the subjects, whereas the Pool images appear (to me) to have been snatched. I could be wrong, of course, but that was my first reaction.

Tyomies Bar, from Mark Brautigam's "On Wisconsin" series, struck me as quite forlorn, so I wondered whether the building still existed.

A few minutes later, and with some luck, I found Tyomies in Superior, Wisconsin, at the junction of Tower Avenue and North 6th Street. No longer a bar, but Sweeden Sweets candy shop. The stone name plate is still there, set into the brickwork on the front of the building.

There is some interesting information about the Finnish newspaper Työmies, that used to be based there, online.

Thank you for highlighting and sharing the link to the Brautigam portfolio. Such very good work. Some remind me of Gregory Crewdson photographs (but likely made without the 25 assistants, lighting cranes, and set designers). I will look for more by Mark Brautigam.

. . . of course, there is nothing wrong with working with assistants, lighting cranes, and/or set designers.

Re: "Pools, from Above," it is interesting to ask why multiple NYTimes readers noted in the Reader Comments section that some of the pool photos are clearly doctored.*

The photos are undeniably "artful" -- and quite lovely to my eye -- and if they were presented as sheer "art," the Times readers probably wouldn't have taken issue with the doctoring.

But most Times readers probably expect undoctored photographs in installments of a series that the newspaper characterizes as the work of "photojournalists," and except for one declared composite -- not called out in the footnote below -- the photographer implies a "foundness" about the photos (the caption to "Verano" cryptically says "Swimmers seem perfectly placed in this enormous pool").


*In the top photo ("Sun's Out, Buns Out"), one distinctive wave pattern in the lower right has been cloned in no fewer than 5 times. Scrutiny of that photo reveals at least 8 distinct wave patterns that appear twice or more in different areas of the pool, and a pair of tiles at top left is perfectly mirrored on the other side of the pool "hump." Of the four pink parasols in "Patterns," the left two parasols are identical (as are the chairs and tiles beneath them). In "Survival Juice," a woman leaning on the pool edge at the top is identically cloned (just three people away). In "Layers," all three concrete pads below the pool have been cloned into a second row depicted just below. Of the four fountains in "Nostalgia," the bottom two fountains are clearly identical in their distinctive staining and shadows. The photo "Symmetry" probably got its name because the lower right corner of the photograph was cloned and reversed in the lower left (with some unfortunate grout-line alignment in the lower left). And in "Verano," at least four swimmers appear twice in the photo, holding the same pose in both locations.

I worked for Johnson Wax decades ago, and used to visit the Racine head office (in summertime). Tales were told of winter in Wisconsin, at the time I was not sure how realistic they were, but looking at these images, I can now appreciate what the reality was like for those that live there year-long.

It’s hard to relate to how hard that life is, from the comfort of sub-tropical Queensland, Australia, where if the overnight temperature falls below 15 Celsius, we reach for another blanket!

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