Shizuka Yokomizo

A Tokyo-born artist, living and working in London, Shizuka Yokomizo’s work plays with the boundaries that separate private from public and explores encounters between strangers.
In “Strangers”, Yokomizo depicts figures standing alone in their ground-floor windows at night.  With anonymous letters sent to her subjects, Yokomizo identified herself as a photographic artist, asking the person to open the curtains during a specific point in the evening  and stand in front of the window.  The resulting photographs make up her most recognizable body of work, visually describing the moment of encounter between two people who have never before spoken and likely never will.  They are images of people in their own environments, staring, not only at the night, but also at their own reflection in the window’s glass.  In this way, the series addresses both the encounters of strangers and encounters with oneself.

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Philip Lorca-diCorcia

Over the past thirty years, Philip Lorca-diCorcia’s various works have both reinterpreted street photography and helped to define the photograph as a means for conveying a visual narrative.

Credited with pushing contemporary art forward through staged photography, his early series, “Hustlers”, provided a look into the lives of male prostitutes working in Hollywood; however, it was with a later body of work, “Heads”,  that diCorcia solidified himself as an important figure in photographic history.  In “Heads”, a strobe light attached to scaffolding along downtown city sidewalks illuminated the expressions of unsuspecting strangers as they walked, allowing the camera to capture their gaze, absorbed in their own thoughts or rushing to arrive at their destination.

Currently teaching at Yale University, where he earned his MFA in 1979, diCorcia continues to produce work that redefines the medium and influences the contemporary art world.

Alec Soth

Alec Soth is a contemporary American photographer whose work focuses on the constitutions of  American life and American people.  Soth’s visual investigations often include strangers; subjects who are loners, dreamers, and even hermits.. which Soth has found over the internet or crossed paths with during his travels across the country.  His work is greatly influenced by masters such as Stephen Shore and William Eggleston, both in his use of color and his tendency to pay great attention to small details of everyday life. Alec Soth finds interest in unlikely places and has been described as a “wandering” photographer who is fueled only by curiosity.

More examples of Alec’s work can be found by visiting his website: http://alecsoth.com/photography/

William Eggleston, the ‘photographer’s photographer’

William Eggleston became recognized in the 60s and 70s for his color photography. Though there have often been advocates of photography as a fine art, Eggleston was one of the first photographers to have a solo show in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In the 70s  photography found some support but it was not until the 90s that color photography became the main photographic practice.

Cotton notes that “The magic of these photographs was their compositional intrigue and sensitive transformation of a slight subject or observation of into compelling visual form.

Eggleston Photographed/s: family holidays, advertising, magazine imagery, the ordinary and the overlooked.

The photographs below do not do his work justice. Last year I was able to see one of his shows in Nashville at the Frist. The color prints are phenomenal and if you ever get to see his work in person, DO IT. The computer screen cannot compete.

Until then, ENJOY.

Memphis

Greenwood, Mississippi

New Orleans

Scott, Mississippi

-Melissa

Ralph Eugene Meatyard

Image

Ralph Eugene Meatyard was an optometrist from Lexington, KY who purchased a camera to photograph his children. He began going to summer workshops and studying zen philosophy, which inspired his imagination. His photographs were done in the style of a photo album, they were small black and white images. His photos usually depicted his children in ruins or were shot as constructed family poses with characters in masks, like The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater, published 1974. His photography challenged the aesthetics of photography during the time because it was largely about the idea of beautiful, and his characters would wear masks with distorted, exaggerated faces and wrinkled skin. His work was exhibited during his lifetime, but because his career was as an optometrist he didn’t create a reputation until after his death in 1972. Meatyard is known as a “pioneer of art photography.” His work mostly relates to the “Is this Art” category because he makes up happenings for the camera. It’s also Tableau because he contstucts the scenes, dealing with storytelling (chapter 2, Cotton).

Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore was one of the fathers of color photography and pioneers of contemporary style.  His photographic career began at the young age of fourteen, when Edward Steichen, then curator of the Museum of Modern Art, purchased three of his photographs to add to the  museum’s collection. Over the course of his lifetime, Shore became widely known for his photographs of the American landscape in places such as the small town of Amarillo, Texas.  His images tend to be “deadpan” photographs, which by definition possess a lack of visual drama and place emphasis on the subject, instead of the photographer’s preconceived message.  Shore translated the American vernacular into imagery, depicting diners, small town streets, and gas stations.

Selections of Shore’s work can be viewed at: http://www.303gallery.com/artists/stephen_shore/

Bernd and Hilla Bercher

The German couple Bernd and Hilla greatly influenced contemporary art. They took photographs of architectural structures such as tanks, water towers and furnaces. Cotton notes that they influenced contemporary art because they used photography as a medium of investigation, they are both documents and also conceptual art. They influenced and taught important photographers such as: Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Thomas Demand and Candida Hofer.  Their work has influenced both Landscape/Typology artists and photographers.

   

Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher, Pitheads 1974, © Bernhard & Hilla Becher

  • Typology- study of or analysis or classification based on types or categories
  • Landscape- a : a picture representing a view of natural inland scenery b : the art of depicting such scenery
I personally do enjoy the Bercher’s work. My landscapes last semester were not directly influenced by them but I did look at the water towers and mill settings that they documented and photographed. Their work was not just categorization of industrial mills but were also depicted what an industrial world looks like, and that it can look similar wherever you are, that nothing is unique.
-Melissa