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This excerpt (0.01 – 3.17 minutes) from Darkness and Light is particularly interesting in light of the recent unanimous celebration of Phil Toledano’s Days with my Father.

Avedon admits that his work was invasive and disturbing and that those tenets always exist within the arena for art. Avedon also faced accusations of exploitation for his later work In The American West.

Avedon’s work is good comparison to Toledano’s because reactions to Toledano’s work has been beyond positive. We have seen it as loving and we have seen it as our privilege; this is probably the case, but it doesn’t explain the absence of any discussion on ethics (however brief). Just a thought.

Personally, I am a fan of Toledano’s Days with my Father, and I wonder … do we respond to death differently today, do we respond to the approach of death in photography differently? Here’s a CNN clip of Toledano “blubbing” about his project.

Happy Fathers Day.

REPETITION IS DIFFERENT TO PLAGIARISM

I just posted on Christopher Sims’ series Hearts and Minds. It recalled the work of Todd Deutsch, Philip Toledano, Robbie Cooper, Adriaan van der Ploeg and Shuana Frischkorn who have all pointed their lenses at engrossed computer-gamers.

Joerg, Harlan and Hey, Hot Shot! have all mentioned this obvious repetition of subject before. The gamer-portrait-meme is so recognisable/memorable that accusations of plagiarism are foolhardy. None of these photographers are trying to pass off the idea as their own nor obscure the work of other artists.

ON BURDENY

Burdeny, on the other hand, tried to hoodwink his audience and pass off the idea of the work as his own. That is the difference.

Burdeny shows a deliberate interest in replicating exactly on at least half a dozen occasions the work of a single artist’s work – Sze Tsung Leong’s work. Did Burdeny research Leong’s GPS coordinates?

I must presume Burdeny is a provocateur and that he manufactured this stunt to either get away with it, OR  – worst case scenario – become the talk of the town. All publicity is …

To me, Burdeny will always be the bloke that ripped of that other photographer. Terrible decision making and a tough reputation to push back against. What a prat. It’s just bad form. People have repeated to me many times that the photography world is small. If that is indeed true then Burdeny might struggle from here on in?

NB. The repeated assertion that the photography world is small may or may not be true, it might be a meme. It’s definitely not plagiarism.

GAMERS IN PHOTOGRAPHY

toledano
© Philip Toledano
© Shauna Frischkorn
deutsch
© Todd Deutsch
frischkorn
© Adriaan van der Ploeg

dayswithmyfather

Philip Toledano‘s Days With My Father has got some coverage recently, and rightly so. There is a perfect balance and appropriate tone throughout the series which is inescapable. Aline Smithson included it in Photographing Family – her well reasoned Too Much Chocolate piece about the imperative of family to photographers.

It is even more remarkable because it is such a departure from his cynical but pointed political work America The Gift Shop.

t04

t05

In a Decemebr, 2008 interview with Joerg, Toledano explained that for the really complex stuff he had to turn to China:

“Only the inflatable Guantanamo Bay prison cell and the Abu Ghraib bobblehead were made in China. The rest was made in America. To find Chinese manufacturers, I Googled ‘bouncy castle manufacturers, China’ or ‘bobblehead manufacturers, China’ and then emailed a few companies. It was really simple. And then, for the bobblehead, for instance, I sent the manufacturer the actual photo from Abu Ghraib, and they’d email me photos of progress, with me commenting along the way. The whole project, from start to finish, probably took me about six to eight months, all told. That’s the amazing thing about the web – ANYTHING is possible now.”

Toledano

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