I'm also sure Kenna is a really nice guy - he looks it in his photograph (at this show of his work in Banbury). I know some of his work has been influenced by Bill Brandt whose photographs have haunted me since before I was a teenager. And I've even bought a Kenna calendar a couple of times - a new image each month, sitting there above my desk - very pleasing. And yet the photos still don't quite grab me (and yes, I know there is meant to be a meditative aspect to his work). It doesn't quite work its way under my skin the way some other photographers work does. His photographs don't catch me unawares and impose themselves on my thoughts days or months later.
Maybe it's "too" perfect - unlike say Atget or Brandt. Or perhaps in most cases only beauty isn't quite enough? In a way I also find these more clinical than Lynne Cohen's photographs that I detailed in the last post. Is it too much emotional detachment? Or just too restrained for me...?
Perhaps it is that everything is photographed in the same impeccably beautiful way - from Le Notre's gardens to Easter Island to Hokkaido to Radcliffe Power Station (another image from my childhood) to Auschwitz-Birkenau?
Maybe it's an apparent lack of affection for what's photographed (are they "just" subjects?) Or possibly not finding some kind of quality or genuine poignancy, something that moves not just the viewer, but that also moved the photographer - or at least not revealing that the photographer was moved by it.
I'd like to like it - I really would - I just can't quite bring myself to do it (and it's not as if I haven't changed my mind on a photographers work before - there are some photographers whose work I just didn't "get" until something clicked)
Much of Kenna's work is published by one of the best publishers of photography books - certainly in N. America - Nazraeli Press