Worthwhile reading…

Currently reading (and enjoying) :

Why Photography Matters as Art as Never BeforeMichael Fried

The Daily Practice of PaintingGerhard Richter

I am finding that each book is particularly worthwhile reading. Of course, reading about other’s works – whether crafted by the artist or an other observer always carries certain risks of an inescapable interpretation.  Thankfully, I’m finding these two readings above, a useful way to engage looking at photography albeit from a particular circumstance or point of view – a context let’s say.  However, I’m finding new appreciation for the work of Jeff Wall who I’ve naively (in the best sense) admired before reading about his work through Fried’s interpretations…. I admittedly lacking an express “understanding” or “reading” as presented … but now with (perhaps) new (or maybe just better articulation) and further insight into the work. Either way,  I’m happy to note that I continue to admire both (Wall and Richter)…


2 thoughts on “Worthwhile reading…

  1. I enjoyed reading Michael Fried’s book a lot too. I found some of the philosophical digressions about Wittgenstein and so on pretty baffling but it certainly opens up a new way of looking at photographs – in particular the parallels between his work and 18th Century painting. By the way, there is a new book about Jeff Wall published by Phaidon that is superb. It’s good great reproductions of his work, essay by critics, interviews with Wall, and essays by Wall. Highly recommended. Enjoying your blog by the way ….

    • Hi Hugh,

      Thanks for visiting and thanks for the tip on Wall’s new book. I’ll have to check it out. I have read / browsed through the Fried’s book a couple of times now and I agree parts of it are baffling still – but I try not to let that get in the way! I think the book opened up a deeper understanding of the work of Thomas Struth as well for me particularly the museum picture series – I’ve enjoyed seeing some of Struth’s work back in the Des Moines Art Center where I used to live and reading something more about the work after seeing it is a good thing – I try hard to let my own “first impressions” formulate, but I appreciate it when I find decent criticism that opens up the work more. It’s difficult sometimes to find that kind of in-depth writing. There are times though when it seems that Fried “gets in the way” – meaning it seems his writing is too concerned about making his interpretation relevant. It’s a difficult thing to write in support of someone else’s hard work with the intent to truly celebrate their accomplishments and not your own brilliance… Fried should be confident enough to be more transparent – when he’s transparent he’s at his best I think….

      Thanks again for the note and I look forward to reading your blog too.


      Matt Niebuhr http://www.mattniebuhr.com niebuhr.matt@gmail.com

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