I was thinking about 21st Century photography this morning when my daughter Tobey started telling me about “chic banal” in fashion. My coruscating mind realized that “chic banal” was also dominating contemporary photography. Chic banal represents those pictures of suburbia, Americana, and/or the affluent lifestyle gone slightly askew, as pioneered by Gregory Crewdson (BTW, Check out this Aperture link). It is also meticulously documented in those precious moments of the affluent photographer’s perfect life, as initiated by Tina Barney.
Tina Barney (above) and Crewdson certainly represent the best of this trend initiated in the late 1970s. Artists who are having fun with their immediate world ,circa 2009, include Amy Stein.
She actually takes off on a 1980s concept by Barbara Norfleet.
Graham Miller also merges the film set with suburbia and/or the city.
Miller is spring boarding his ideas from Philip-Lorca diCorcia.
It seems that 21st Century photography isn’t so different than late 20th Century practice. Is “chic banal” only the same old, same old? I guess that’s what makes it banal.
It all brings to mind William Eggleston, the master of the banal who was making it all look easy in the 1970s.