Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tim Davis

I've scrolled through so many blogs and posts the last couple of days doing a bit of catchup, I can't remember where I came across the reference to Tim Davis. All I can say is that I'm glad that I did (Ha found it - Shane Lavallete's Journals).

Alongside the photography he also has a selection of his writings on photography - some directly seem related to his projects, others not.

Here's a couple of selections

From On Photography:

Story #2 In Ionesco's children's book, Story #2, "Papa teaches Josette the real meaning of words." He tells her that the bets on all names of things are off. She makes up the names. Ever since that book was dropped in my papoose, I've favored renaming everything. It's a way to resist authority. Visually, it's distrusting design. Less grandly, it's loving looking at things you're not supposed to. Architecture, for example, is a form for controlling human behavior. It's ideological. Try just noticing in every room you enter how some cognitive force has anticipated every move you make. Then notice how your presence in that room alters the grand design in infinite ways no architect could anticipate. You scratch surfaces. You add images. You misuse. That is how I feel about photography. It is the mapping of the way humans rename every syntax the designers can toss at us.

From Illilluminations

The classicists who write photography textbooks dutifully translate "photography" from the Greek as "light writing." It was Cervantes who saw translation as “the back side of a tapestry,” and in the case of photography’s many translators, most have been staring at the wall. In photographic language, light is read as grammar; as an aesthetic tool, helping the artist describe an apprehended visual world. I am pursuing a visual world where light is syntactic; light veering close to content. In all my work light is cultural and political. It is put there by someone, for a purpose: to invite citizens to share their money with corporations, to keep workers working, to describe democracy, to allow paintings in museums to be seen in one particular way.

In Illilluminations I am photographing grand and gorgeous failures of light to sync up to its supposed functions: Braille billboards, odd elaborate shadows behind figurative sculptures, spring pear blossoms arc lit into oblivion, neon koans to no one. I am interested in light that obscures as it illumines, that overstates and overblows, and in some cases, that fails to appear at all. You can sift through any photographer’s amassed images and find moments when the light shifts from something that describes to something that is described; moments when the photographer has seen ­ or better, understood — the light.

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