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P: Is this it?
S: Nah we'll have to look over their heads
P: Jesus!
S: Weird huh?
P: I wondered what the sound was
S: Now you know
P: So how long does it go on for?
S: No idea. Until he can't stand anymore I guess
P: What literally stand?
S: Well bear. It's not faked
S: So anyway this Gumbo piece. Albertina was saying how photography remains wedded to the pictorial conventions of the nineteenth century and how the web has changed everything.
P: That makes it sound very grand.
S: Well I agree they were her words not yours
P: It's part historical exploration, of how the very earliest photographs were abstractions, but without a language to describe them; other than as a mirror. So for it's first fifty or so years it copied the conventions of painting .
S: The Pictorial ?
P: Yes, everything, composition, the visual code, the frame the gallery
S: But no patina or texture
P: Hah painting's last stand in the fetishisation of the object, but no photography learned that as well, the auction houses are full of the history of photography's patina of chemical decay
S: True
P: Then in the twentieth century there were all those structuralist semiotic interventions; the intellectual overflow from "the text" into the visual from the students of the students of Saussure.
S: It went nowhere
P: Nowhere, well it made many academic careers.
S: And then the PC brigade turned up and tried to make art a branch of sociology. And then Barthes?
P His emotional observations of seemingly banal photographs were very interesting. But there you see a very fine mind - who could find little to say about photography.
S: Perhaps like music it's popularity says it all?
P: In part it's because you can't quote a photograph to the reader, not accurately as you can with a text, it makes any comparison difficult because it's always the critics view and never the artist's.
S: Ironic how values change isn't it - now pornography is simply another career move and greed is the new good; it's difficult to get your bearings sometimes.
P: There is no compass anymore
S: Except make it profitable
P: And the band wagon of fame.
S: With photography most critics understand nothing, see how they bemoan Diane Arbus for exposing the underbelly of American society; which in my opinion was her most important move as an artist - after telling Vogue to go fuck themselves. But to see how bad criticism has become - listen to the contemporary virtues telling us that Helmut Newton was cool! As far as I can see he was just a pimp with a bit of style.
S: A cock sucking climber for sure
P: But you digress. Do you want a cigarette Stanley
S: No thanks. Lets move over here