The Constructed Moment

This blog discusses the way in which we design, make, select, evaluate and publish fashion and advertisement photographies as a sub-genre. This is a place of reflection. We have no unveiled truths, yet we are seeking answers.

miércoles, 29 de mayo de 2013

Of baudelaire, Steven Klein and photoshop

Texto en español, aqui.

"As the photographic industry was the refuge of every would-be painter, every painter too ill-endowed or too lazy to complete his studies, this universal infatuation bore not only the mark of a blindness, an imbecility, but had also the air of a vengeance. I do not believe, or at least I do not wish to believe, in the absolute success of such a brutish conspiracy, in which, as in all others, one finds both fools and knaves; but I am convinced that the ill-applied developments of photography, like all other purely material developments of progress, have contrib­uted much to the impoverishment of the French artistic genius, which is already so scarce."

"Poetry and progress are like two ambitious men who hate one another with an instinctive hatred, and when they meet upon the same road, one of them has to give place. If photography is allowed to supplement art in some of its functions, it will soon have supplanted or corrupted it altogether, thanks to the stupidity of the multitude which is its natural ally. It is time, then, for it to return to its true duty, which is to be the servant of the sciences and arts— but the very humble servant, like printing or shorthand, which have neither created nor supplemented literature."
 Charles Baudelaire  — 

There are tons of writings about photoshop, and there will be more in the future, it really came to stay in the same way other photography innovations do, and the point of discussion will always be the way we use it. Being one of the main topics for this discussions: it’s function in the new perspective about the conception of our own body. In an age where transformations not only come to life at virtual space but at operating rooms too. But That’s not the topic of this entry, let’s continue

I personally think that photoshop is a tool in the same way a camera is, but clearly we can produce photographic images without them as Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy proved that in their moment with the photograms.

László Moholy-Nagy

Man Ray

It makes of the camera, our main active, in a single tool and if we can say that about the camera, we also can say that about other devices, in conclusion it becomes a tool in service of image creation. It is necessary to clarify, because we don’t want to generate bad interpretations, because to create any kind of photography we will need to use the respective tools.

In the relationship of photographers with photoshop we can conclude that there are three types: in the first place we will find those who doesn’t want to use it, don’t need it o they just can’t use it because some technic, personal or professional reasons. In second place those who use it as a tool that can correct, modify or maybe add especial characteristics to their images but with they work they show that it’s not a necessary resource; in other words they really see it as a tool that can be used according to necessities. In the third and last place, those who need it as a dependence for their photographic results, without this tool they can’t realize their images. Those who are located in this category are object of professional bullying, and it is just because all of us that really appreciate the old school and think that a photographer is done by the camera and not bay the computer; in the same way in the past they thought and artist was that who had a manual ability was it pictorial or sculptural and because of that photographers  were replicators of reality using the device called camera and they couldn’t be artists in any way. In other terms it creates a similar discussion of which they had in the ends of 19th century which is illustrated in the beginning of this entry.

All this in modern terms let us call photographers to any person who uses a photographic tool and there is included photoshop, even I think it is necessary to show that sometimes what I have described as the third category of photographers more than a photography what we see is a digital illustration, what stablishes a different tag but in any moment loses its validity, it is not exclusion, it is a definition in an age where definitions are not important. In the same way there were some painters who worked over a  photographi, and they don’t lost their name of painters to be called photographers.

¿and how does Steven klein come into this trip? Simple: for me he is an excellent example of a photographer who uses photoshop as a tool, going to a point in his appropriation that let him use it as an identifier of his work. In other words photoshop in some of his works is not hidden but it is an important part of the final process of the image, of the sensation it transmits.

In klein we can appreciate a decanted world of human conflicts that in a generalized way can become in violence, sex and decadency. These things show him superior than other actual photographers, because we have to recognize that the topic is not exclusively from him but he has created a proper way to present it; even more when he uses it to illustrate fashion editorials, because his finishing touch in images of which we are talking about are more visible in this photographs than in the ones used for advertisement for the great brands he works. A particular quote for our job where final touches full of photoshop in advertising images are the rule.

Klein is a photographer of contrasts, and are these contrasts in color or black and white which every time we see his images are more accented going to the recurrent application of “final touch in his photos” what we can describe as a veiled something dirt that because of its frequency let me talk about an appropriation of this for his work, going to a point that let me identify him between other finishing touches more generalized in the mean.

Let’s see:


2010 03 Vogue It - RIE

2011 03 Vogue US -  LADY BE GOOD

2011 09 Vogue It -A POINT OF VIEW 

2012 01 Vogue US - VICE VERSA 

2012 03 Interview INSTITUTIONAL WHITE 

2012 03 W Mag - GOOD KATE, BAD KATE

2012 09 Vogue US - SPACE ODYSSEY 

2012 09 W Mag - SUPER LINDA 

2012 09 W Mag - SUPER LINDA  



2013 03 Interview -WILD AT HEART

2013 03 Vogue US - ON THE PROWL

2013 09 Interview  NEW ORDER 

The sensation that this images transmit since their finishing touch is about a contradictory world: luxurious but without splendor, vibrant but without brightness demoralized but with hope. As I already told you that klein is a photographer of contrasts and with content in many cases, because most of his works are not limited to be present us fashion but also illustrate us the people who wears it. There is a proposition and a critique at the same time. Something happens at the complicated world of Steven klein.

After all, going back to Baudelaire’s spirit — overtaken by history but not by our own spirits — now it will be fun to keep commenting about photographers who can’t work without photoshop. As I told you is kind of a professional bullying, because some of them can’t claim to us to use the cameras at less they declare they are illustrators

Did you see?: that’s what steven klein talks about with his photos: he shows us worthy but with a dark spirit, miserable but well dressed, humans but in decadence, in the end as miserable as those who commit bullying to their own workmates  

i Coming in some cases to use the image not only as a referent , but as an impression over the canvas we’re going to use to make a painting


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