Sunday, November 29, 2009

In celebration of real.

My favorite art experience from our recent San Francisco visit was the Richard Avedon show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA). OK, let me start by saying that I’m fully aware that much of Avedon’s career is about fashion photography—and there’s very little real about fashion photography.
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But. There is something real about photographs that capture real people in real moments. People with freckles and pimples. People who express emotions. People with bags under their eyes or wrinkles that say something about experience. Even the fashion models in Avedon’s photographs seem happy to reveal flaws.

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There are a lot of great photos at this exhibit. Like the visually arresting self portrait of Avedon that was photographed in, of all places, Provo, Utah. Or the working Americans including a teenage Texas Rattlesnake skinner or a carnival worker in Thermopolis, Wyoming.
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My favorite work in the entire show was a massive print of Andy Warhol and members of The Factory. I love the fact that Andy Warhol seems like a side note in the photograph. I also love the crazy characters, like Candy Darling. In response to Candy Darling, we overheard a mother explaining to her daughter that the photographer had Photoshopped the head of woman onto the body of man and that’s why she has a penis. Is it just me or does this totally prove my point: no one believes photos are real anymore, even if the image was created long before Photoshop.

Installation view of Richard Avedon's Andy Warhol and members of The Factory: Paul Morrissey, director; Joe Dallesandro, actor; Candy Darling, actor; Eric Emerson, actor; Jay Johnson, actor; Tom Hompertz, actor; Gerard Melanga, poet; Viva, actor; Paul Morrissey; Taylor Mead, actor; Brigid Polk, actor; Joe Dallesandro; Andy Warhol, artist; New York, October 30, 1969.

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