So, a friend sent me a link to some of his newest photography. I looked at the pics and wrote back, "good shit." Good shit, is my response to good shit. I liked the stuff just fine. In fact, some of the images I liked a great deal. But, all I wrote in my rush to reply was, "good shit."
He paid a visit. "No!" he emphasized, "I want a critique." Oh, a critique. I haven't critiqued photography in, like, three days. So, here goes.
The new photos in Technicolor Hope are brilliant. Seriously, brilliant. But, not brilliant as in "of surpassing excellence" but brilliant as in "having or marked by unusual and impressive intelligence." While the work doesn't possess grandeur, it may well possess the opposite: introspection. Humility. In general, the work possesses qualities of a thoughtful intelligence and technical competency.
Individual pieces such as "ghost," "sick," or "best friend" can be grouped into what something between "dark studies" and "motion studies." The viewer has to work to comprehend the essence. Nuance abound. You do not have to process the kineticism, but you do have to work to put your brain into the space. And, there's the challenge: taking the time to pause, to study, and to process. These light/dark studies and motion studies have been part of my arsenal over the years. From the artist standpoint, there is a certain challenge to not only execute the composition, but to consistently stay disciplined to the style. It's hard in an era of auto focus, auto levels, and auto white balancing. One must work to make these pictures. I commend.
Individual pieces like "manhole," "mr. nice," and "fog" are brilliant in another way. Sharp. Clear. Contrast. Much the opposite of the three previous. Again, there is a discipline to execute. The framing is key. The setting is less important than the structure. I'll call these the literal studies. The audience doesn't have to work, but for the images to impress, the artist has to produce literal perfection. No trickery, no adjustments, no cropping, but literal perfection.
With both sets, I believe the real test will be in the printing. On the interwebs, one gets much of the information, much of the intent, and much of the beauty of these images. But, the prints could make or break the dark studies. The prints could result in the literal studies being good or great. It's just not enough information. One wants more. More access. More dimension.
I love the work. I especially love that the artist is back. I've seen some of the artist's past work. Much of that was great. These pieces are brilliant. But, there's been an inconsistency between these "up" periods. Sure, these are the cycles. I know. I get it. But, I will look forward to what may become the future of this artist. I'd love to see a focused assembly; a showing. What would the artist put in a gallery?
I get the work. I love the work. Much of my work is similar, stylistically. But, I do not want to see anything but the best pieces. The bar is now quite high.
[Note: Really, these are not my photos]