Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Following on from "train Your Gaze" I decided to tackle a book with a general overview of Art  Photography - "the photograph as contemporary art" by Charlotte Cotton

The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art)

I purchased this a book around a year ago, prior to starting AoP and it has been sitting on my bookshelf staring at me since (next to Susan Sontag's "On Photography).  I finally plucked up the courage and the interest to delve into the book.  I have become increasingly curious as to what is Art and how does a photograph become Art.  My opinion is very much that Art is whatever an artist chooses to label as such and an artist is defined simply by naming themselves thus, in other words art is in the eye of the beholder.
What Charlotte Cotton's book achieves is to provide an overview of what is currently viewed by the art world as constituting photographic art.  She covers a huge number of artists, each chapter providing an overview of a specific genre.  Some I already knew, many were new to me.  I find this book more useful as a reference to who is doing what rather than an explanation as to why!  It did not really answer my question and in fact posed more questions than answers - although I take this as a personal reaction to the material, someone else might have a very different view.
I find reviewing books such as this very difficult, in a sense to me it is what it is.  However, from the content I find myself drawn to the deadpan aesthetic of capturing the world as it is, but in the act of capture and framing changing it. This feeds into the course I am currently studying and assignment 3, buildings in use.  
To that end I have two other books that I value very greatly, but which are only of interest to someone living in or planning to visit Munich.  The first is a photographic study of Munich's architecture 

Written in German, but also providing English translations of major sections, this is both a useful reference and an inspiring guide to Munich's buildings.  Every time I open it I find something new and an inspiration to simply go and look at locations I had never considered.  My recent blog entry:
was inspired by this volume.  On a more accessible scale is the following:

This small volume provides a photographic guide to 35 of Munich's more interesting locations organized by the best time of day to visit and take photographs.  The treatment is mostly the major tourist locations, but all offer fascinating image possibilities.  It is only in German, but is pretty straightforward to follow without reading German.  Highly recommended for a long weekend in the city.

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