Lewis Baltz's photographs show things exactly for what they are and yet often they seem peculiarly interested in the unknowability of things.
His 'New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California' made in the early 1970s simultaneously reveal a surface with great fidelity while pointedly failing to penetrate beyond those surfaces. One of the things always I liked about the work, apart from the obvious fomal beauty, was the seeming lack of explanation about anything. In an interview with Jeff Rian Baltz simply says," They were from the area I drove through to go from where I lived in
Laguna Beach to Claremont College where I taught. There was nothing in
Irvine when I grew up, but things were going up fast".
His series made nearly twenty years later, 'Sites of Technology', moves from B&W pictures made outside to colour images made inside, and in Europe rather than North America although they could be taken anywhere really, in the post-industrial world. And…
I saw this photograph at the Marian Goodman gallery recently. I'd initially (and lazily) read it as the guy on the ground being an unfortunate victim. Going back and spending several minutes working out all the choices that Jeff Wall made in fabricating this scene - from the actors, the clothing, shoes, body language, hands, the eye contact with the guy on the left whose arms remain folded, I ended up realising that in fact the guy on the ground was actually the transgressor facing his just desserts.
I got this guitar maybe six months ago and finally got around to hanging it on the wall this afternoon. Considering the seemingly small size of the job fitting the holder it was amazing how the house looked like an earthquake had hit it and scattered all my belongings everywhere by the time I'd finished. When I got the guitar I had seriously considered trying to learn to play 'Pale Blue Eyes' but have always seem to be distracted by doing something less important instead ever since.
I was in bed till half eleven cos it was cold and I decided to stay warm and listen to a Radio 3 'Composer of the Week' podcast instead (Louise Ferrenc). It was a stunningly sunny day when I finally opened the curtains and I thought I'd go out and take pics later. But by the time I'd had breakfast and checked the forecast it was was expected to cloud over by noon. Oh. So without taking the time to brush my teeth I sped off to site B. The expansive blue sky was smudging over and I didn't quite make it in time. Halfway along the 150M fence (and after a delay due to a camera malfunction) the cloud arrived. The weather, like everything else, it's changeable.
The forecast was 80% chance of rain but while there were only a few drops once I got to site B the cloud was nevertheless fairly heavy. The Merrill camera blows highlights very easily and as the LCD and histogram are both unreliable it was a matter of taking repeat shots and reviewing with exposure warning overlay to show up problems handling any part of the sky. I still erred on the side of caution and at times was under-exposing by a stop. Converting to web size files always brightens them back up about a stop but the original files are very gloomy, which I quite like.
A brand new shiny metal fence had appeared since I was last there a couple of weeks ago. At site A I eventually noticed the tendency at construction sites to keep renewing fences. It's up there with randomly moving huge mounds of earth, hard core or debris from one place to another and then back again as something they do. These wire fences are six feet high and clipped together, it's a bit awkward but not …