Sensing and seeing pictures after paintings

I’ve been drawn to looking at Hopper’s work. I’m not exactly sure but I am primarily looking at his work for the quietness, but also for the intense isolation tinged with lonesomeness.  So it’s interesting to me to begin to notice these “scenes” out in the real world so to speak.  So I’m asking myself – how to compose a photograph to be possibly nearly as emotive as the constructed images of Hopper’s paintings…  yet clearly be “of the world out there”.
Early Sunday Morning 1930 – Edward Hopper
Oil on canvas 35 x 60 in.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York


East St. Louis, Illinois, 2003
From the series “Approaching Nowhere” by Jeff Brouws.
copyrighted by Jeff Brouws.

Some of Brouws work comes close to reminding me of that quietness…

54 PM. Sunday Afternoon

3:54 PM. Sunday Afternoon – Matt Niebuhr

I walk by this building above quite often – maybe finding it in the right light with the right activity level – might just get closer to what I’m searching for – an update so to speak on the “Sunday Morning” feelings in the Hopper painting…  it’s just not there yet.

Drug Store,1927 – Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper

Gils Maricopa – CA HIGHWAY by Jeff Brouws
I haven’t seen Brouws’ work in person – so I wonder what the prints might look like.  But the images seem promising at least in the web versions.
For me, it’s not in the painterly treatment of a photograph -but perhaps more in the spare, pared down detail, the coloring and the perspective yet flatness that a photograph can produce that lend it more of that emotive quality I’m after.

What’s New ?

Here’s an example of what inspires some people to photograph – take a look at the work of Daniel Shea.


Photograph above by Daniel Shea from the series: On coal and Appalachia

Daniel shares on his blog: “Digressions” snippets about this work regarding a series of photographs of the landscape and of the people in the coal mining regions of the southeast United States and what he’s discovering through his pictures regarding the effects of mountain top removal -a “modern” surface coal mining technique applied in certain areas the Appalachia Mountains of West Virginia.
A more “edited” selection of the photo collection can be found on his website here.
This is the kind of work that carries photography of the day forward in my view.
Nothing unique or ground breaking per se, but I have to add this fits into the questions raised by what Robert Adams writes in his essay “Making Art New”. In thinking about these questions a paragraph from that essay:

“We welcome contemporary art, then, for its power to please the eye,
to record the texture of current experience, and to invest that experience with
meaning”

I find in the photographs a sense of genuine interest in picturing a complex situation – that of humankind’s relationship with the land in the general sense, but firmly situated in the context of the specifics of place and the complexities of the moment.

Nice work.