This is my attempt at a bit of inspiration from the likes of work like Jeff Wall’s…. Diagonal Composition.
I like this picture. (Not only because it’s one mine of course, but…)
I like the space in-between the doorways – it’s dark and eerie, not entirely clear what may maybe contained within. I like how this place feels to me. Full of an anxious anticipation, forgotten (overlooked). This is where possibilities (my imagination) come into play… Possibly, there is really nothing in that room – and one could get on with it and keep going on to the hallway – presumably. Or, perhaps, there is something in that room – waiting. The picture is about getting from here to there – a prerequisite is to enter this unknown in-between – to find out.
Other work by me may be found here: www.mattniebuhr.com
George Houston House: Green Room with Boarded Up Window, 1998
Paper: 40 x 40 inches
I’ve been looking (only via the Internet – unfortunately would love to see one up close!) at Shellburne Thurber’s work and especially the photographs of “Home”. There is a wonderful catalogue entitled “Home: Photographs by Shellburne Thurber” published by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 1999 which goes into some detail about the work, inspiration, references. With essays by Timothy S. McElreavy, Jill Medvedow – the stage is set for an introduction to the work.
The photograph above is a wonderful example of the devices Thurber uses to articulate a particular sense of place, in this case a “Home”. Examples such as the “door a-jar”, dialogues of opposites between the bright light and shadow splashing across old time worn floors, a plywood covered window – of which no light may enter – nor thieves… In the context of “Home” and in conjunction with the other images of the project, the images evoke more than just a sense of loss. There is, I feel, an intense other space, just outside of the room we see in the picture. That other space is suggested with either, light, shadow or some expectations to be able to “see out the window” onto somewhere else. Just what that other space may be I am unsure. At times, the windows are completely transparent, with a clear view out onto the landscape – other times the light is so blindingly intense as to be completely opaque, or more overtly, the window is simply boarded up…. All these devices – lead to a wonderful visual play on the “picture” window.
Sometimes, with a cloudy late afternoon, the light can be almost tangible. It can fill a room – seep in is more like it. An atmospheric fog – soft, not harsh – it is a flattering kind of light. North light such as this is even more kind.
9 Oct ’06, 5.49pm CDT.
Other personal photographical interests: www.mattniebuhr.com
Trying out a new lens – the Canon EF17-40mm F4L USM – Oh boy – feels substantial. Not so fast, but should help sharpen up things. The photo above is of a loft project underway – at least the demo part of it. I believe there is quite a bit of potential for this place – but that depends (in my opinion) on the insertion of the new against the old. It’s a delicate balance to realise the moments of character that exist that give a place its feel and to graft onto that something completely new. The trick is to find the contrasts I believe – so that each is read stronger against the other.
Partly what I’m realizing is that the photograph is a way stepping back and seeing what is there. For this place – I like the quality of light and the character found at the end walls. More to come on this place I’m sure.
Campo Santo Pisa, 1985. 15 x 22 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Copyright © 2004 Candida Höfer / Artists Rights Society (ARS)… Candida Höfer
The message of the photographs “…buildings as containers for the diverse cultural traditions enacted within them. “
From a write up on the Retrospective of German Photographer Candida Hofer. “Candida Höfer: Architecture of Absence,” on view at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art from Sept. 15, 2006 through Jan. 6, 2007.
“Candida Höfer is the senior member of a group of students from the Düsseldorf Academy who studied under the renowned professor Bernd Becher in the 1970s and 1980s. The work that emanated from the academy, considered the most influential German art school of the time, and Becher’s classes, soon took the art-photography world by storm. “
Sometimes a simple sentence fragment can lead to a certain obvious clarity – what do our buildings say about us?
From ICA: (Copyright © 2000-2006, Institute of Contemporary Art.)
Candida Höfer photographs rooms in public places that are centers of cultural life, such as libraries, museums, theaters, cafés, universities, as well as historic houses and palaces. Each meticulously composed space is marked with the richness of human activity, yet largely devoid of human presence. Whether it be a photograph of a national library or a hotel lobby, Höfer’s images ask us to conduct a distanced, disengaged examination through the window she has created. Not purely architectural photographs, her rhythmically patterned images present a universe of interiors constructed by human intention, unearthing patterns of order, logic, and disruption imposed on these spaces by absent creators and inhabitants. Her photos of ornate, baroque interiors achieve images with extreme clarity and legibility while the camera maintains an observant distance, never getting too close to its subject.