Snap : Instant Photos
AbeBooks Seller Since December 6, 2010Quantity Available: 1
AbeBooks Seller Since December 6, 2010Quantity Available: 1
About this Item
Title: Snap : Instant Photos
Publisher: FotoFactory, Santa Monica,Ca.
Publication Date: 2000
Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine
Edition: 1st Edition
About this title
In SNAP, Sprigle fundamentally changes the way we understand the beauty of the accidental moment. These images of rough elegance are reminiscent of the attenuated figures, movement and tension of Baroque Paintings. Yet, the characteristics are random--products of ostensible lighting conditions. The photos, Sprigle's newest series, are a visual essay about our instant culture. About a new aesthetic that arises from the intersection of cheap consumer technology and art. He presents a sanctioned voyeurism: reality tightly cropped, frontally composed and blurred by time to become unexpectedly beautiful. His color pallet, seemingly based in oil paint rather then photographic grain, is drawn from the Impressionistic Masters. Sprigle's work examines the way light rearranges an almost-classical memory of the human form.From the Publisher:
In 1917, French Artist Marcel Duchamp, one of the founding fathers of post-modern expression, signed a toilet and called it art. David Sprigle photographs nudes with a toy camera and calls it a book.
Like Duchamps's toilet, Sprigle's art arises from within the sphere of domesticity: he uses one of those instant cameras often advertised in the context of a children's birthday party to capture young adults prancing about his Venice Beach home. You will not know them for they are NOT celebrities, but his subjects are people who comprise the mundane fabric of a typical Los Angeles life.
(My mother used to say that all of the freaks in the United States are drawn to California, in California, they're drawn to Venice Beach. I learned quickly that these freaks make money by selling things to tourists.)
Sprigle asks his subjects to take off their clothes. To get hard. To jump up and down. This "deviant" activity is captured via blurry timeslices from his Polaroid camera. The photographs reveal Sprigle's magic--where a crisp, clear reality, after the familiar click and whir of the mechanism, becomes instantly muddled and somehow, unexpectedly beautiful.
Sprigle engages his models in redemptive fantasies. His manner seems European, most probably German: derived from artists who, seeking freedom from past public indiscretions, proclaim deviant sexuality and eroticism. Sprigle invites his subjects to reveal and accept their own, often suppressed eroticism as art. I have seen people reluctant to bare themselves soon revel in the liberating experience of prancing around naked for someone who acts more like a therapist than a photographer. The camera is almost superfluous as Sprigle's confident and bold banter validates the fact that...
...his subjects, and most-likely each one of us... is a bit of a freak... sometimes aberrant. Pure and simple.
But like Duchamp's toilet, this aberrance is ubiquitous and essential to our livelihood: for we all must express.
A post-modern aesthetic often mandates fucking things up. The imperfect / accidental / unexpected allows us critical distance from our modernist longings for definitive answers--for that prior simplicity, predictability and the safety of our mother's wombs. With things fucked up, we are forced to establish new paths to resolution and understanding: to abandon the systematic... to be reborn unto ourselves.
Soon we realize that the nagging desire to conform to the principles implanted in us by ideological state apparatuses--religion, politics, entertainment, family--often holds us down. One of Sprigle's subjects, while jumping up and down, with a big boner shamelessly slapping around says with veritable glee, "I guess I'll never be president now." Wryly, Sprigle responds, "Well, if that happens, l will sell you the photos for millions."
He will not have to.
Given a comfortable, casual location, and a machine which instantly renders some sort of record, both photographer and subject have affirmed erotic expression, all for the sake of creating blurry splotches of color on a plastic card.
The photos, striking testaments to the physical movement accompanying this sudden liberation, are small and intimate. And ironically, in the shadow of perhaps the biggest state apparatus, Hollywood (which broadcasts its stiff righteousness in large, visual perfection yet secrets its deviance in tabloids designed to be discredited), Sprigle presents these tiny, seemingly insignificant records of aberrance as art--jubilant manifestations of momentary personal autonomy. Apparatuses of empowerment.
Sprigle could be anyone. He should be your friend. The one with the camera who asks you to do silly things for his lens, then shows you the result as you laugh and ask for a copy.
Personalizing entertainment makes poor revenue, however, for companies in the business of selling it. The widespread acceptance of fame as that attained only by the few has long undermined personal expression. In undertaking his venture in this modern mecca of commodified culture called Los Angeles, Sprigle hides in a dying demon's pocket. Armed with cheap consumer technology and ostensible lighting conditions, he slyly elevates anonymous naked bodies to myth.
Yet what you will find here are ultimately photos of friends fooling around. And while the photographs created can be wholly disconnected from the context of their creation, the honesty of the exchange between photographer and subject lies latent in the abstract exposure of flesh. Make this a guidebook to realize that art--not as a business but as a feeling and experience--is often unexpected, uninhibited and aberrant. Really, though, just simply personal.
Stephen Patrick Foery, Editor Los Angeles, August 1999
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