My Most Respected Photographer

February 22, 2009

The photographer I hold above all others in terms of impact on me and in terms of how I think about photography is Kevin Carter, a Pulitzer Prize winning South African journalist.  However, for a variety of reasons I will be completing assignment Five using Ansel Adams, who could more correctly be considered by favorite photographer.  The reason being is that I like to look at Ansel Adam’s work.  I’ve seen quite a few photos by Adams and consider them to fantastic demonstrations of photographic art.  I’ve seen one photograph by Kevin Carter and I can barely look at that photo for more than a minute straight.

This is a photo by Ansel Adams:



This is the 1994 Pulitzer Prize winner by Kevin Carter:



            As of right now, I would not feel comfortable going into DC and attempting to take a photograph that would echo Kevin Carter’s work.  In addition, I have not had much luck finding other photographs taken by Kevin Carter, as the above photo dominates all others.  That said, I will provide a brief bio of Kevin Carter with details taken from Time magazine obituary.

Carter was born in 1960 in Johannesburg.  He attended a boarding school and went to college, though he dropped out a year after entering.  He was conscripted into the army, but disliked serving the apartheid government.  After serving, he would work for a camera supply shop and when the uprising against apartheid began, Carter worked for the Johannesburg Star which sought to expose the cruelty of the government.  Carter would frequently place himself in harm’s way to get photographs. 

Carter would become part of what was dubbed “The Bang Bang Club”, a group of journalist who got extremely close to the violence that marked the end of the apartheid era.  He would receive a few accolades for photography, but no real international attention; however his moment came in Sudan in 1993.  There he would seek to cover the tribulations of famine victims.  Ducking away from the crowds, he would encounter a child who had collapsed from hunger.

Carter spotted a vulture approaching the child and stayed very still, as not to frighten the bird.  He would wait for what he believed twenty minutes before chasing the bird away and leaving to sit under a tree, crying and smoking.  The photo would become a sensation, igniting controversy over whether or not Carter should have helped the child in the photo.  Carter would slowly slip into depression and drug use.  However his life took a brief upturn with winning the Pulitzer Prize.  However a good friend and follow member of the Bang Bang Club died shortly thereafter.  A few months after than, Carter would commit suicide on July 27th 1994.


Assignment 4

February 16, 2009


Art Nouveau Examples

February 9, 2009

Woman on Rock


 Note: For some reason the pictures would not load on my blog.  Please follow the links to see the artwork I am describing.






Mucha, 1889


            Here is an example of the naturalistic quality of an Art Nouveau sculpture.  The expressive vocabulary here is a fusion of the stability of the rock, which looks solid, combined with the curves of the woman, curves which almost meld the woman to the rock.  This demonstration of humanity’s oneness with nature is quite common in Art Nouveau although what makes this sculpture unique within the movement is the rock, a non-living, non-ethereal element of nature being celebrated.


Autumn and Spring 1896


Mucha, 1896

        Here is a work that can be said to be representation or even emblematic of the whole Art Nouveau movement in of itself:  a depiction of a sensual, nymph-like woman at one with the greenery of nature.  It captures a decidedly non-Christian attitude towards both nature and the female form, allowing an almost mystical reverence for the plants and only the plants to come through.  Color here is various shades of green, to suggest life in a peaceful contemplation of nature.

Hotel Tassel Main Stair

Victor Horta (1893-1897)


In architecture, Art Nouveau was aggressively new in terms of using curving lines to create design.  From the shape of the stairs to the pattern of carpet the idea was to have a building that seemed to grown in a point in space instead of being merely constructed.  Though modern architecture would leave behind many Art Nouveau conventions, Art Nouveau would have a strong influence on the future of architecture.




Judith I

Gustav Klimt 1901

What this piece represents is an example of the diverse styles of Art Nouveau.  Each artist that joined with the Art Nouveau movement brought their own sense of what art should be like.  Here Klimt plays up the sensual element of the movement-the exposed breast combined with both the expression and the opulent nature of the woman’s clothing and jewelry communicate a comfortable accord with the material world that was a big part of Art Nouveau.





Dragonfly woman corsage ornament

René Lalique 1898



Here is Art Nouveau weaving together what should be grotesque yet is made beautiful due to the attention paid to line, color and symmetry.  The color is muted and non-threatening and the lines are smooth, not jagged or imposing lending the figure an odd grace.




Water Serpents I & II


Gustav Klimt 1904




Here is an example of the flowing line, a facet of Art Nouveau which became almost inseparable from thinking about the movement.  Realism and creating an illusion of depth are neglected in favor of giving the viewer a sense of otherness, a feeling multiplied by both the dabs of sequin-like color and the head on the right side of the painting.



Art Nouveau

February 9, 2009


Art Nouveau

Was a style of art characterized by its curving/ flowing lines, bright colors, and symbolism of nature, sexuality, and joy. Flowers, leaves, other plant parts, female figures, and flowing cloths were all commonly depicted. The materials that were used ranged greatly because the style was incorporated into many different forms of art. But, precious stone, different types of wood, silver, and glass were all used. The style was encompassed in architecture, jewelry, interior decorations, prints, furniture, and other objects that can be styled (i.e. lamps, silverware)


Year:  The movement is generally described as taking place between 1890-1914. Its end was mostly due to the beginning of WWI, where its light, happy, and free feeling was out of place in a world full of fear and pain.


            The Art Nouveau movement was most strong in Europe (notable cities include: Barcelona (Spain), Brussels (Belgium), Darmstadt (Germany), Moscow (Russia), London (England), and Paris (France), Vienna (Austria).  In the US the movement was small but was centered in New York City and Chicago.



Several Pediment Artist of the Art Nouveau movement included:


Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) who worked in Barcelona, Spain and was famous for his use of the natural shapes within his forms

Victor Horta (1861-1947) who worked Belgium creating houses and public works and was known for the curving aspects of his designs

Drawings, Graphics:

Aubry Vincent Beardsley (1872-1898) was born in France but was famous for his British illustrations and artwork

Alfons Much (1860-1939) was a Czech painter and produced many posters and paintings in the style (he was perhaps one of the most important artists of the movement)


Henry van de Velde (1863-1957) Belgian, he was a painter, designer, and furniture maker. He is best know for his architecture

Emile Galle (1846-1904) was a French glass artist (was one of the main artist of the French Art Nouveau movement)


            Art Nouveau was a movement that was meant to create joy within its viewers. It is symbolic of wildness, female sexuality, and unrestrained abandonment. It involved many bright colors and curving lines, flowing forms (organic forms), representing naturalistic patterns (without harsh edges), and no repeating patterns.

Critique Object: Crouching Spider

February 3, 2009


Assignment 1

February 2, 2009

Ron Mueck’s Big Man demonstrates balance not only in the three dimensional sense, in that it stands on its own, but also in the two dimensional sense.  Despite being overlarge, Big Man does not seem out of proportion to itself, each piece of the sculpture harmonizes with another.  This harmonization takes place due to bilateral symmetry, where the left and right sides of the sculpture match.



Kenneth Snelson’s Needle Tower is a perfect representation of proportion.  As the viewer’s eye moves from the base of the tower to the top, the beams of the tower become smaller and smaller with every level, creating the illusion of looking up at a tower much taller than Needle Tower actually is.  If the pieces were not in proportion to each other, if the relationship did not follow the logic of getting smaller the further away from the ground the piece was, Needle Tower would not work.  All of Needle Tower’s impact, the sense of looking up at a tall building, depends on proportion.



Julian Schnabel’s “Portrait of Andy Warhol” represents rhythm because it has a careful arrangement of visual elements.  Rhythm depends on arrangement of visual motifs, and in Schnabel’s work is such an arrangement.  The use of a roughly detailed multi colored Andy Warhol next to an explosion of ticker-tape like swatches of color matched up against a black background creates a “beat” that communicates creativity, as both the human figure and the chaotic swirl are linked and offset by a background they stand out against.  As for the deeper meanings of such a juxtaposition, that is left to the viewer.  

Note: None of the images I found for “Flesh Striped Tie” would display on this page.  Here is a link:

Jim Dine’ Flesh Striped Tie is an exercise in emphasis.  The tie is created by lines carved in the flesh toned background, an example of interruption, whereby the lines interrupt the static background.  Those lines, which are a different shade and texture than the background, create a pattern.  That pattern is of a tie.  However, the pockets of space that create the tie and the background are the same color and material.  The carved lines draw attention to the spaces within them and the viewer’s mind interprets those spaces as a tie.






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January 17, 2009

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