Thursday, September 27, 2007

Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg? (or flogging Lord Cardigan's horse to death)

I came across this piece from the NY Times about Roger Fenton's two photographs of the "Valley of the Shadow of Death" in the Crimea and took a quick look at it the other day and thought it seemed pretty interesting (especially as my old Grammar School history teacher had used the same two photographs during lessons long before Mark Hawarth-Booth seems to have ever noticed them).

Indeed, the piece starts off pretty well, having a good dig at Sontag (who seems to especially deserve it in this case) and sets out some thought provoking ideas and issues about trust, fact, truth, staging and so on in photography. But then, when I took time to read the whole thing - oh my - does it ever drag on... and on... and on.

Fenton's picture (well, both of them) are ones I have always thought of as impressive and well worth time spent considering them, so read the articel for what it's worth (for the record, I think the cannonballs on the road picture came first, and the cleared road came second - which picture I have always thought is the stronger. I also don't believe it matters which order they were taken in, nor does it matter in the least if he lugged the things around himself to make a "better" picture. ). I also feel that a quick trip - à la David Hockney and his mirror/lenses/painting thing - to some NASA or CIA expert on Photogrammetry would probably solve the issue in a couple of hours.

So, instead of a long winded post on this Fenton issue (and there is a good succinct one here anyway), I'm going to post some cool photos I came across on streetphoto - coming soon (in a couple of hours or so)

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