“In Defense of Ferocity…”


Thanks to  on tumblr, I came across this commentary by Loring Knoblauch on today’s state of photography on the Collector Daily Blog. To me the article is the most sensible, straight forward, and coherent statement regarding the state of photography today. I would recommend it highly to those of you interested in photography!

When was the last time you saw a fine art photograph that you would describe as ferocious? One that had such raw emotional intensity that it seemed to slap you in the face, kick you down, and leave you for dead in the gutter? I’d say the answer is hardly ever these days, and I think that’s worrisome.

Whether we draw the line all the way back to the brainy photoconceptualism of the 1970s or the pervasive influence of the teachings of the Bechers in Düsseldorf in the 1980s, I think a compelling argument can be made that for the last several decades we have been in the midst of  a long term trend toward rationality and intellectualism in contemporary photography. We have come to embrace conceptual control, deadpan rigor, and cerebral inward-looking process-centrism as mainstream practice, and to celebrate the best examples of this approach as the apex of the medium. We are in the midst of the Age of Precision, in capital letters. [read more]

About christian harkness

Photographer and printmaker; living and working in north Florida.
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2 Responses to “In Defense of Ferocity…”

  1. I’m not sure. Diane Arbus was a photographer who made honest statements which were judged by her peers to be art. This article seems to cry out for photographers to create art rather than photographs which exhortation rarely creates art. The ludicrously inflated prices on the auction site associated to Collector Daily illustrates their real concern…sell photographs as art for lots of money. Sorry about that, Christian….it was good to get it off my chest:)

  2. Hey Roger – don’t apologize – that’s what these posts are for – an exchange of ideas. Maybe I read the article wrong. Regarding Diane Arbus, I thought that is what he said – she made honest photographs that got our attention. I also read the article as saying ‘just do it’ make honest and strong photographs rather than trying to intellectualize, conceptualize, or outguessing the art market. — I am totally not familiar with ‘Collector Daily’ – so did not pick up on any possible secondary motive.

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