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Thursday, 24 September 2009

People aren't as interesting now; Bruce Gilden

pictures: Shoichi Aoki, Bruce Gilden and Peter Funch

Maybe it's not that photography is not as interesting as it used to be, maybe it's the people we photograph who aren't as interesting as they used to be. That's what Bruce Gilden thinks anyways:

'New York is different now, people are inside with the air conditioning on watching TV. And people aren't as interesting now - the world is smaller and Gap and Starbucks are everywhere. And everyone is playing with little machines so they walk at a different pace - in a catatonic fashion. I'm a speedy kind of guy, so that's unnatural to me.'

(Bruce Gilden in the 23.09.09 copy of the BJP focussing on street photography). The BJP also features, amongst many wonderful others, the work of Mirko Martin, Manuel Vasquez and Adam Magyar.

Mirko Martin's work, LA Crash series mixes film sets and street scenes in his pictures of LA car crashes (check out RJ Shaughnessy's Your Golden Opportunity is Coming Very Soon if you like this kind of thing - which I do). No such mixing takes place in Peter Funch's (thanks Tadhg)gruesome pictures of crashes.

I love Bruce Gilden's work, especially his Japanese book Go. I reviewed this many years ago together with Fruits by Shoichi Aoki - I don't find street fashion photographs interesting but I make an exception for Aoki's work, which doesn't rate highly in the subtlety stakes but is just about as much fun anyone can have with a photography book with clothes on - and if anyone has a spare leopard skin suit going, do let me know. Time I upped the glamour here in sunny Bath.

Lots of interesting things to chew on there, though not in New York maybe. Time to get off the little machines, everybody!


Stan B. said...

Globalization has sadly taken its toll, there's no doubt. 42 St. is now but a branch of Disney/McDonald's. And everyone everywhere looks like an homogenized conglomeration.

Federico said...

Nostalgia is a little tricky. Let's look at todays pics thirty years from now. The aura of things past has always laden photographs with apparent extra-interest. There doesn't seem to be any reason why this will not continue to be the case. The factor that could diminish the interest of contemporary pics of people once they become from a past era (which they will) is the over-proliferation of them. The lack of uniqueness: that could make them a bit less interesting, perhaps, but the people per se? I don't agree with Bruce.

colin pantall said...

I think a bit of both, Stan and Federico - but when everywhere looks the same (in the UK, US at least) that reduces the possibility of difference and makes the proliferation an amorphous mass.

But there will always be differences - the identikit similarities of places and people are temporary and superficial - hope so anyway.

jon said...

Someone will find a way to make pictures of us 'uninteresting' people work.
Gilden is just showing that he has lost touch a little. He has perhaps stranded himself up his own particular backwater, without realising that is was becoming a backwater.
There could be an element of the major curse of getting older, forgetting that it is ourselves who change at least as much as the world we see.
Unless of course those two points contradict each other, in which case ignore me entirely. .
ps. Tremendous blog you have here. Just found it yesterday and i have been squirming and chuckling at your 'How not to photograph' series. You've nailed me so often I feel like a dartboard, to mix metaphors. .

colin pantall said...

Thanks Jon - you might just be right with both those points!