"...Neutral expressions and cool, head-on compositions have become one of the signature styles of today's art photography. Some have called it deadpan photography: The tone is impassive, matter-of-fact, detached. Often the people are posed...
..."The problem for someone like me - I personally collect mostly portrait work - is there are just a lot of artists today who are all starting to look alike," (gallerist Bernard) Toale says. "One of the problems I'm having is distinguishing one artist's eye from another. I don't know what it means." Then he adds, "It means they all went to a good college and they bought good equipment."
So why are so many photographers adopting this style? Does deadpan photography's detached, distant, analytical approach somehow distill our cultural mood? Does its uniformity reflect the uniformity of our mass-produced, chain-store world? Does it represent the way people feel disconnected from one another, even as technology makes them more interconnected than ever? And could deadpan photography be a refuge from emotion at a time when many of us are overwhelmed with worries about terrorism, war, ecological disaster? Is it about slowing down?
It doesn't hurt that it sells. As Toale says, "It's become popular because it's become popular.""
Monday, November 05, 2007
Talking of Deadpan
Talking of deadpan - portraits or typology - I just came across article (via Christian Patterson - who seems to be on a roll since he got back from Germany - invigorated?):
"Here's looking at you - Engaging yet ambiguous, deadpan photography provides a refuge from emotion in a time of worry" by Greg Cooke in the Boston Globe, which seems a little, well - conflicted - about the whole deadpan/ironic portrait trend..
BTW, I'm also glad someone highlighted the significant differences between the current deadpan portrait trend and the work of August Sander - in which I agree entirely with Arlette Kayafas.
Posted by tim atherton at 5:18 p.m.