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The Perpendicular View

April 26, 2009

Digital photography became a marketable form of fine art photography, originally, as a way to reproduce very large prints from film with a quality that large, chemically based prints often lacked. More recently, the use of Photoshop has become an acceptable way of manipulating the fine art image, as long as it isn’t too gimmicky. Andreas Gursky, the highest priced living photographer, has been piecing together digital slices with highly profitable motivation for years.

Andreas Gursky, May Day, 2006

Andreas Gursky, May Day V, 2006

Other arrivals to the telephoto/perpendicular technique of contemporary photography include Andreas Gefeller, who takes a birds eye view.Andreas Gefeller, Driving Range (detail)

It’s all quite a fascinating manipulation of how a camera can see the world, but once the “gee whiz” factor wears off, it seems to just be another angle worthy of National Geographic Magazine rather than the fine art market. The Presidential Inauguration provided a great populist example of this kind of photography.

Jurgen Chill won the European Architectural Photography Prize in 2007 for his fly’s eye views of prison cells. In this series, he does seem to have something to say about the value of this digital technique. Here is a great article and video (in German) about how he does it. Also, check out this wild blog on prison photography.

Jurgen Chill

Jurgen Chill

This brings me to Benjamin Stern, via Joerg Colberg’s blog, who seems to be having more fun with the potentially tedious perpendicular technique. He has several examples of the bird’s eye camera technique, but I chose a looser collage effort based on a mix of David Hockney’s cubism and everybody’s scanner art.

Benjamin Stern

Benjamin Stern

It seems that digital practice with fine art intensions is not about simply using digital cameras, or even outrageous Photoshop manipulations (which should be deposited into the trash bin of its playful practitioners). I’ll have to ask Joerg, when he comes to my class on Wednesday (see previous post), what is the newest direction of digital fine art?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2011 6:56 am

    Your caption on Gursky’s photo is wrong it is ‘Chicago stock exchange’

    • January 27, 2011 8:11 am

      Maxwell, Thank you for your correction. I appreciate you taking the time to help me present the information correctly.

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