puzzled

Postmodernism

One of the good things about this site is it’s the ideal venue for a good rant. For example, lets delve into the conceptual world of postmodernism, which in my opinion is the cultural equivalent of Latin.

A definition: Postmodernism is in fact a rejection of the notion of originality in a society that recycles ideas and images. For postmodern thinkers photography is not the stimulus for theory but the consequence of it. The use of multi media is an element of this theme as is the rejection of the straightforward, pure, and formalist traditions.

In his book Crisis of the Real, Andy Grundberg states the case that photographs have fundamentally altered the way in which we perceive reality, he seeks to establish the premise that contemporary photography no longer looks to its modernist tradition of mirroring, or "merely reflecting the world back at us", but instead to illuminate how the photographic image constructs the world for us.

According to my educational (ditch academic) guru on this matter, Peter Tonningsen, "Grundberg draws a distinction between representing (describing) reality (the world or what is in front of the camera-Modernism) and using photos as cultural symbols-which create our reality."

George Dewolfe in the Feb/Mar 06 issue of Camera Arts claimed that postmodern art is the result largely of academic theorists and critics posturing hegemony over art with words. Dewolfe makes a strong argument about the "failure" of postmodernism and the course needed to bring art back to the individual artist. It seems as Dylan would say "there’s a battle outside and its raging". The battle would appear to be between the individual artist and the academic theorist.

In "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction", Walter Benjamin states, "In an age when anything can be a work of art, the question of whether something is art has ceased to be compelling: what matters is whether something is a good work of art, and about this the official art world has rendered itself hors de combat."

It has been said that postmodernism reflects a visual environment in a constant state of flux, dominated to a large extent by pastiche and trivia, according to Paul Hill in "Approaching Photography", "photography serves this world well, as it is accessible, accurate and authoritative without being elitist."

Collegit et edidit

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