(1 to 100 of 187 replies)

Peter Funch

China Plate 6:43am, 21 December 2008

'Digitally manipulated illustrations made in the street'
(well that's the best name I could come up with for what these are!)

[flat5 edit -- updated link -- apr02,11]
(1 to 100 of 187 replies)
John Goldsmith 10 years ago
Interesting, CP. Thanks for sharing.

I did this the other day, in a sort of haphazard way and thought about trying more work like this but with more intentino. Is there any text regarding Funch's process?
China Plate Posted 10 years ago. Edited by China Plate (member) 10 years ago
From what I gather, he puts a tripod down in the same place and comes back to the same spot day after day capturing sections to splice into a final plate. Chris Boot is publishing the book this year.
John Goldsmith 10 years ago
It sounds like Harvey Keitel's character in the movie Smoke who would photograph the same corner every day. Though his work ended there. The rest of Funch's work reminds me of Jeff Wall.
John Goldsmith Posted 10 years ago. Edited by John Goldsmith (member) 10 years ago
Going back to look at some of these and I noticed he has some favorite places. At least three of the photographs have the some landscape and this this is the case for at least two other locations.

Also, he must do this on one day. Seems impossible to align the camera up exactly the same way in multiple visits. The runner one is really neat.
China Plate Posted 10 years ago. Edited by China Plate (member) 10 years ago
You may well be right Waxy, although if these are shot on digital (which I presume they are) it is quite easy to match up/align the scene from day to day.
You are right about the same spots re-appearing.
It appears the street corner is profitable for Funch. (as it is for most of us)
flat5 Posted 10 years ago. Edited by flat5 (member) 10 years ago
#11 (summer dress w/ snow)

did he really wait that long in between frames? i guess i'm just curious as to how he marked the spot but at the same time, i think getting the camera back into a close enough position would work...

it's 2:20a and i'm definitely feeling these at the moment.. i'll make sure to give them a fresh look in the morning..

on a side note, #26 gave me a what the moment... funch's camera is where the ladies in gus powell's picture are at... this one was shot on the stairs shown in gus' picture... so what's with red clothes and that corner?
LoFiKen 10 years ago
Thanks for the link China Plate, looks like a lot of work was put into this but makes for quite an interesting collection. I would assume that lighting would be a big issue in a situation like this but he seems to have made all the shots quite seamless.
barbara@NL 10 years ago
#26 immediately made me think of this one
flat5 Posted 10 years ago. Edited by flat5 (member) 10 years ago
that's gotta be the same guy barbara.. location wise, they're aren't even close to each other.. markus shot his way downtown and #26 is 42nd st...

[edit] i've seen something similar to this done before (actually more similar to waxy's picture that he linked to)... i think it's good as well but i hope it stays specialized.. as in, everybody doesn't start doing it.. otherwise, it could turn into another case of hdr...
When I clicked on the link and looked at the series I was expecting the comments from this group to be very different from what they turned out to be. I didn't think people would buy the slickness, not to mention the fakeness, of this work. It's one step away at most from advertising photography. Yes you can compare it to Jeff Wall on method of production but there is no underlying concept here. The one thing I will give the guy credit for is not making the shadows align.

I'm sure there's a lot of this kind of composited photography out there. An example that this stuff reminds me of is Pablo Zuleta Zahr's grids of people dressed alike. Here's the best link that I could find:

China Plate 10 years ago
Peter Funch (pronounced 'Funk') is quite a successful advertising photographer.
John Goldsmith 10 years ago
John. It is a bit too slick for me, at least most of them, and particularly the telephoto shots. The ones with context are more appealing though I prefer the style in the images flat5 posted.

The interest for me is to create a more realistic approach... like Jeff Wall, which has subtly that retains realism. While I cannot find technical flaw's in Funch's work, it's obvious that they are compilations, while Wall's could easily be real moments in time. I would prefer something less Matrix, though Funch's work is still compelling.
Dr Karanka 10 years ago
I like how this makes explicit some of the cliches of street. The multiple pigeons in the first pictures, the bunch of people yawning, the army of beautiful women crossing the road. I'm not that keen in parts of the processing of the colours and the blown skies, that make it maybe look more fake-ish than the copy&paste itself. But good or bad it's a good cliche buster! Oh, Mr Solomons *must* love number 18!
MezzDavies 10 years ago
Whilst I agree that this could easily become HDR round 2 I really like the series for the moment. Although I'm slightly ambivalent I think I prefer it to Jeff wall's stuff. It feels more honest in it's untruthfulness, which feels good to me. But because of this it's perhaps more accessible too which may ultimately be it's downfall - it may not have longevity like Jeff Wall. Not really sure exactly what I'm saying but - yeah, thanks for the link, I really enjoyed it!
John Armstrong aka John Legweak Posted 10 years ago. Edited by John Armstrong aka John Legweak (member) 10 years ago
I think I was being too serious about this work in my original message. Maybe Dr. Karanka is right that he is calling out cliches by taking them to the Nth degree. But then after a while it's hard to tell the smart TV sitcom that makes fun of all the dumb ones from the dumb ones it's making fun of.

It's also interesting, as China Plate informs us, that the artist is a successful advertising photographer. This leads to the idea that the work is kind of a gift, a freebee as it were - all the fun of a nice ad campaign without a product to swallow (unless it is the artist himself).

I also think it's defensible for a work to be, umm, shallow, and simply go for entertainment value. And I have to admit, the pictures are fun to look at, at least once or twice.

I really like red and so naturally I really like 26/29 Red Power just as flat5 does. I also like the images he links to, though they're a bit different. It all reminds me of another series which I actually think is comparable to Funch's in a number of respects, Miwa Yanagi's Elevator Girls. I couldn't find good images on the web but it turns out someone has put a whole bunch of them on flickr:

flat5 10 years ago
longevity wise, i don't think this has the legs... it's full on candy that's well produced.. that's what i like about it - a nice little snack..
MezzDavies 10 years ago
Yeah a nice little snack - that's it. And probably a very sugary one at that. Dessert in fact! Jeff Wall would have to be main course, I suppose. Starter?
shveckle 10 years ago
I like it! He has taken every street photography cliche and multiplied it and put it together, it kind of says a lot to me in more ways then one. It will be hard for me to explain, but to me he has done a few things and says a few things to me. One is that these cliches are just that cliches and by multiplying them and putting them together it kind of shows to me that street photography is more then these cliches it basically belittles these cliches in a way, makes them kind of laughable. But while looking at these typical cliches, he has artfully put them together in each photo, nicely spaced and giving a lot of interesting things to look at with interesting composition. It kind of degrades the cliches while at the same time showing that this kind of photography can be more.
LoFiKen 10 years ago
Definitely "entertaining" and I think if we threw out certain principles of street photography out the window then more and more people will like it. I wonder how many "bystanders" look at this and don't even question if it's edited or not.

Here's some more Funch photos (V for vivid):
Bryan.Formhals 10 years ago
the word cliche was used 7 times in that paragraph. kool.

"longevity wise, i don't think this has the legs"

i made it #18.

This is really dreadful stuff. I find nothing inspiring about it and think we should recoil in horror that this is the type of street work that gets recognition.

The conceptual framework that this piece hangs on is unimaginative and uninspiring. Really, what's he saying here? It's the same basic message. "Look at the funny, weird juxtapositions that can be found on the public stage in large cosmopolitan cites."

The montage and digital manipulation doesn't add anything to this statement. If you're going to go down that route, why not add some imagination to it? Some surrealism? I would be more inclined to enjoy it if it were actually more FAKE and manipulated.

However, in this piece, he's trying trick the viewer, make us question whether it's really fake or not. And to an eye that's consumed enough street photography, it's clearly fake. So then what? We're confronted with the many cliches of street photography? What does that tell us? I really don't follow the ha, ha moment of recognition here. I'm just simply left with the same fucking boring ass cliches, except now their being spoon fed to me.
BennehBoy 10 years ago
I look at this and immediately picture the montage section of Team America: World Police.
MezzDavies 10 years ago
I imagine bryanF's post is more what John Legweak was expecting!

While I do get his point I don't understand why things have to have a "conceptual framework". Can't things just be a bit of something fun to look at now and again?

Hmmm, or do things inherently make a statement whether they intended or not? I suppose I think they must...
LoFiKen 10 years ago
I'm assuming the issue here is that in his presentation, nothing is mentioned about the methods and his intentions in the photographs... someone could easily assume the authenticity of them.
mort* 10 years ago
They left me completely cold. Like stock photography or a Vodafone advert.
shveckle Posted 10 years ago. Edited by shveckle (member) 10 years ago
""Look at the funny, weird juxtapositions that can be found on the public stage in large cosmopolitan cites.""

I did not see it that way, I saw it as look at how boring these juxtapositions are, look how they are so over used in street photography, they are so over used that I (the photog in this case) am going to sit on a street corner and look for these typical boring cliche street photography images I see all over the place (easy as pie) and stick them all together in a photo at once. It is almost like being sarcastic, taking the piss at all the street photographers, like hahaha person yawning in crowd image boring seen constantly, I (the photog) am going to sit on this corner and look for that unimaginative over used cliche and multiply it and put them all in one photo, now hahahah "BORING" juxtapositions, light tricks, cliches. I basically look at his images as being sarcastic to street photography but purposively almost in a "piss off' kind of way.
Dr Karanka 10 years ago
@flat5: ha, I'm so colour blind that I didn't realize that 26 was all about red till second viewing. There's one image that is a bit more unique (it couldn't be a stroke of absolute luck and lightning reflexes in the world of street photography) and that is #25, where the same people walk the street on different days with different costumes but in the same frame.

@mort: completely agree, but as it sort of pisses on my shoes I'll remember some of them.
flat5 Posted 10 years ago. Edited by flat5 (member) 8 years ago
well yeah mort, i don't think they're supposed to have any sort of message attached and if i were looking at them for that, i'd be left cold too.. only one of them (#25 features the same people on different days) goes beyond the lighthearted slickness for me but even then, it doesn't hit me hard... it does have somewhat of a story about the day in/day out midtown monotony but more than that, it shows that there is the possibility of doing something meaningful in this style...

[edit - i guess dr.k already got around to mentioning #25 ]

[apr02, 11 edit -- #25 is now #35]
shveckle 10 years ago
It reminds me of comedians who are really good at some other art form, or sort of good, like ballet and put on a farce ballet piece, almost sarcastically where you are not sure if they are for real or being comedic.
Also like some of Andy Kaufman stuff. You are not sure what the deal is sometimes. I see it like that, but it is weird in the photography genre, kind of unusual, but I feel sarcasm in his images purposely done.
Dr Karanka 10 years ago
@flat5: what timing, man...
Bryan.Formhals 10 years ago
well, if he's trying to satirize then he's really shitty at it.

and really, if he's being sarcastic and taking the piss, then he should at least make an effort to transcend the cliches and be both humorous and insightful. There's none of that here.

If it's an inside joke for 'street photographers' then it's really god awful. And really what does it say for the genre? I mean, really if his point is that it's a meaningless, dead-end genre, then I might agree with him...
John Goldsmith 10 years ago
I think it's fun. But, hey... I like advertising and design. Tim Horton's, the Canadian donut chain, currently has an advertising campaign using vernacular photographs. Now I find that cliche, but mostly because it's manufactured to tug at the heart strings. Yet I still think it is interesting for me to look at it from a marketing perspective and to see how imagery is used to appeal to people from a psychological perspective...

I don't see why every photograph needs to have a justification to fit on an elevated plane, including those discussed here.
Bryan.Formhals 10 years ago
"I don't see why every photograph needs to have a justification to fit on an elevated plane, including those discussed here."

I don't either. But in this case we're looking at a series of photographs that are constructed for artistic purposes, so they should be judged by those standards.

If this were a series of advertisements, I'd view it differently.
I don't want to keep flogging Elevator Girls, but I was sifting through the links and found this one:


Something lost in translation, or rather gained.

BTW I am not making fun of the site, I just thought the text was cute enough to share.
John Goldsmith 10 years ago
bryan. Yeah...I'm having a difficult time separating his ad-work from his artwork. Other sets, like Red Rush, look more like photography to me than adcopy.
mort* 10 years ago
@flat5: I don't think I was necessarily looking for an underlying message. They just have no emotional impact on me. I think it's the sense of perfection and slickness that turns me off. I feel like I'm being sold the scene rather than being presented it casually and allowed to investigate as much or as little as I please. That said, I'm a big Gursky fan and perfection and photoshop manipulation is his thing. Maybe it's the subject matter or the distance from the subject. Gursky also leaves me cold but in a good way.
David Solomons 10 years ago
18's a beaut alright. I'm sure the book and exhibition will be shortly forthcoming. I actually quite enjoy the work and at least it doesn't pretend to be anything other than digitally manipulated images.
ceaseless oven [deleted] 10 years ago
fucking hell I find these dull.

It all just appears half assed... even 18, just seems like an after thought.

a series of images with composites of many of the same person, spanned over different days, could be interesting tho... and that thought is basically all I got from this.
benroberts 10 years ago
shveckle 10 years ago
local man 10 years ago
yeah i think they're shit too.. and i'm not seeing how people are drawing the conclusion that he was trying to satirize street photography cliches, seems to me he himself is a digital 'art' cliche. i found myself really struggling to click through them all, and actually threw up in my mouth on three different occasions.
Bryan.Formhals 10 years ago
@shveckle: more like....

!Jinju 10 years ago
Technically well done, you gotta admit. And interesting in a sort of novelty way, but after a few it gets boring, cliche and repetitive. Some are good, some are crap, most fall somewhere in the middle. But the series as a whole is rather bland and boring. Its probably ok as a one time thing, but I cant see him doing this again. Its sort of like HDR though a bit less repulsive.
John Armstrong aka John Legweak Posted 10 years ago. Edited by John Armstrong aka John Legweak (member) 10 years ago
Re 18/29 I was out in LA back in Oct and saw that scene in real life. All the people out here have dogs and they walk them like five or six times a day. A lot of them have dogs and babies and they walk them both together.

I'm at the end of a very pleasant evening and not a few beers and I see now as I maybe didn't before that every artist has the right to do what they want and if it runs counter to the tastes of others then so be it and fuck 'em. For all I know Funch is laughing at how bent out of shape we all get when we look at his stuff. For all I know that was the whole reason he did it.
Andrei Amodia 10 years ago
love it and it is interesting
ceaseless oven [deleted] 10 years ago
"Re 18/29 I was out in LA back in Oct and saw that scene in real life. "

this is what I mean, if you want to make some sort of commentary on people and life then don't be a lazy fucker and cheat with photoshop, (unless that is the commentary that we're all too fat and lazy?).
Whats wrong with shooting what exists? is it too stale and boring? can't people be patient anymore?

I remember discussing something like this in a street group a while back (do you remember that group where everyone was an admin? the one that fell on its ass I beleive? or maybe it still exists? wasn't it fun). someone had done a similar thing, but in more of a 2d/flatter way.
John Goldsmith Posted 10 years ago. Edited by John Goldsmith (member) 10 years ago
I don't know, J-DAWG. At some point, a photographer reaches a point where a scene cannot be found in the real world. Isn't this the reason Jeff Wall moved towards creating scenes? He went so far as photographing a club in Vancouver and then recreated the entire scene in a studio with actors. It's not lazy or cheating, but maybe more of a caricature of life to reach a satisfying endpoint... even one you might not find interesting. In fact, I would say Wall's work is anything but lazy. It is painstaking and laborious, I'm sure.

Simply put, there are times when a photograph is unphotographable and the artist chooses what might be called photogra-fables.
ceaseless oven [deleted] Posted 10 years ago. Edited by ceaseless oven (member) 10 years ago
true, it is all about truth. but thats just something I've always associated with street photography... probably more documentary photography tho?

edit: if we remove the truth from street photography, what would be left?

its just when it comes down to making up or recreating scenes surely you may as well paint it.... the photograph holds a certain amount of truth within it, especially if the scene is quite beleivable, so why use photography as the medium?
Dr Karanka 10 years ago
well, I think that taking advantage of the fact that photography carries that permanent illusion of truth is what is being done here (maybe not the best way possible -I prefer Wall- but none the less...)

isn't photography always about the difference between the scene photographed and what ends up in the frame? I mean, the photograph still looks so not like real life... that struggle is the interesting bit, how ackwardly one maps into the other
mort* 10 years ago
I really like Jeff Wall. And only found out recently that Amy Stein's Domesticated series was all staged with stuffed animals!

Stupid music analogy that sums up how I feel about these Funch images - If Winogrand is like John Coltrane, this stuff is like Boyzone / Westlife.
Dr Karanka 10 years ago
@mort: don't know, all music is fake in a way while photography is grounded in a moment of reality that has to be faked... well, maybe not always anymore!
mort* 10 years ago
Don't get you...
BennehBoy 10 years ago
@mort, I'd say it's more Milli Vanilli than Boyzone/Westlife.

For me the fundamental factor I associate with 'street' photography (and this is above ALL other considerations) is that the photograph must be about a happen stance, a stumbling upon, not created or directed in any sense.

However, I'm not sure we need to turn this into yet another discussion about the definition of street. Naturally this work appears to have been created from the get go to ape what is commonly referred to as street photography, but frankly I find it dull enough to not bother looking at the conceptual reasons behind it.

Good photography does not have to fit with any way in which we define any genre, it just has to be good.
Dr Karanka 10 years ago
@mort: music is sort of more made up than photography. Instruments don't try to sound like things around us (although they might get to resemble them) and not all melodies are copied from birdsongs. The author has not tried to be in the place where the source comes from and capture a slice of it as music. In photography this is the main stuff we do. The result is mischievously similar to reality in its shapes and colours and so, plus the author had to be in front of it to catch it (no matter whether it is set up or not). It's a bit like writing. A writer might perfectly describe a time in a certain location, but he doesn't even need to be taking notes while he's there, while a photographer has to have his camera sticking out if he wants to produce any direct document about it whatsoever (unless trying to recreate it afterwards or similar).
Dr Karanka 10 years ago
Summary: in photography we confront reality with every frame, but what is reality for music? Does it even matter? You can talk about realist painters and photographers and it makes sense...
mort* Posted 10 years ago. Edited by mort* (member) 10 years ago
And good is subjective of course. I was more using the analogy to compare something that feels raw, from the gut, organic, soulful with something that feels watered down, superficial, packaged, vacant. Milli Vanilli works well! I think both types of images can appear in staged or non-staged photography.

edit/ in reply to Ben's last post.
ceaseless oven [deleted] 10 years ago
did music ever claim it was representing reality?

obviously some artists will claim their stuff is representative of the time, but thats more a personal interpretation of the time than anything else... maybe thats all we see here? its shit talking about other peoples work knowing they'll never be able to/bother to chime in. but should they?
Dr Karanka 10 years ago
@jd: no, it hasn't! but in the case of photography it's just an implicit assumption, you don't even need to manipulate an image for it to be unrelated to reality, so realism is a bit of a big yet unreliable assumption
mort* 10 years ago
I see where you're coming from Joni. I think music must have originally been a way of describing reality - heartbeat, rain, thunder, stampede, etc, but has become more abstracted as it has developed. As has some photography with alternative processes and funky equipment, but yea like you say, you need a scene to photograph, you don't need a scene to make music.
John Armstrong aka John Legweak Posted 10 years ago. Edited by John Armstrong aka John Legweak (member) 10 years ago
Amazing how this conversation continues. I can't quite follow the music analogy subthread but I think I understand what people are saying about the relationship between photography and reality. Photographers have been talking about this for, I'm pretty sure, at least a hundred years, and they will no doubt talk about it for a hundred more.

The particular question that I find interesting is the status of making images via photoshop: is it ever clearly acceptable as a method of art making and if so under what circumstances?

I believe the situation with Jeff Wall is that staging was his preferred way of working and he composited his images only when he could not get the effect he wanted from staging. A sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai) (1993) and The Flooded Grave (1998-2000) are two examples. It's also worth remembering that he was always experimenting and was coming at photography from the point of view of painting and to some degree filmmaking and was always trying to create work that in some way or other transcended reality.

As to Funch, there is no indication of any staging in the series, and certainly no indication that he considered it as an alternative to compositing. (I think this is the right word for the kind of photoshopping that’s at issue here.) Whatever, it’s interesting to consider whether, if he had gone for staging rather than compositing, the results would have been better, the same, or not as good as the actual ones. My personal sense is that they wouldn’t have been as good. And I think the reason is that he actually photographed all the people (and dogs) in his pictures as you see them in their natural state, only just not all at the same time.

And in one case it can be argued that compositing was the only way he could have made the image, namely 25/29 Dobbeltganger. Putting the same person in a photo more than once goes way back in photography. I can’t find it now, but I remember seeing a photographic image of Toulouse-Lautrec painting a portrait of himself that must have been made in the late 1800s. A famous – or at least, oft anthologized – modern example is Wendy McMurdo’s Helen Backstage, Merlin Theatre (1996). Another, extended, example I recently came upon is Kelli Connell’s Double Life series (2002-) which portrays intimate moments in a lesbian relationship and shows both members of the couple played by the same model. I guess you could claim that Funch’s example differs from the others I’ve named in not showing any interaction between the two instances of the subject, but then, that’s how doppelgangers work, it’s their modus operandi.
funkaoshi 10 years ago
!J-DAWG I don't think you would be able to produce a series of photographs like this relying solely on patience. And you might be able to stage these scenes, but they probably wouldn't be as dynamic. This set is interesting because it's captured candid moments layered on top of each other again and again. And some of his montages are great. That shot with nothing but children is great. The 'mass transit' picture is great. I can't believe all the haterade here. It's an enjoyable parody of street photography.
Dr Karanka 10 years ago
And meanwhile, back in the 19th century...

AndrewWiese 10 years ago

It's so obvious, just look at the tablecloth over the guys' legs!! Der...
Here's the picture I was thinking of:

Got it from here:


Couldn't find a date.
LoFiKen 10 years ago
Let us refer to some nostalgic photographer or photographs where they have done the same and it will be all okay... :-)
John Goldsmith 10 years ago
... it just goes to show that much of what we do is not new or simply a product of photoshop. I'm still impressed with Weegee's experimentation with negatives (cutting, bending, burning and boiled). It sounds more like medieval times rather than photography. The difference with Felig's assault on negatives relative to a RAW file is more impressive, however, as he only had one chance to get it right.
funkaoshi Posted 10 years ago. Edited by funkaoshi (member) 10 years ago
Thinking about this more, calling it a parody of street photography does the set a disservice. I think it's impressive he can produce these montages. I imagine it's tricky to look through a bucket load of photographs and pull out elements that you can use to build up a cohesive image.
ceaseless oven [deleted] 10 years ago
does the photographer call it a parody of street photography, is there any mention of it being sarcastic and taking the piss?

I can't find any reference on the net other than here to the discussion of it?
Søren Bock-Larsen 10 years ago
I find this blog-entry is somewhat relevant to this discussion:

Blake Andrews:
Do you want new wave or do you want the truth?
MezzDavies Posted 10 years ago. Edited by MezzDavies (member) 10 years ago
But Funch's images aren't staged to look real. Once you look at them for little more than a few seconds they are obviously digitally manipulated. Which, for reasons I can't quite fathom, is why I prefer them (for now) to staged images.

Bryan.Formhals Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Bryan.Formhals (member) 10 years ago
“Art is required to have a social, political or historically referential commentary attached to it before it is taken seriously. Artists spend more time working on their statement than they do their work. That, my friend, is the modern mainstream reality of the art world. The rationalization of taste is what rules the galleries and art fairs. My call for pure reaction in this climate actually seems quite revolutionary.” -- George Stern

Man, I wish people like this guy would drop off the face of the earth.

Perhaps this is OT, but I've wonder why the hell photographer's need artist statements when Filmmakers and Musicians don't. I don't get it. What am I missing?
Paul Russell99 Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Paul Russell99 (member) 10 years ago
Peter Funch quotes:


You also a photo journalist, any special interest in that area?

I got the education as a photojournalist which I am pleased to have. To me it is my basic knowledge to make pictures talk. I have quit working as a photojournalist because I do not have the respect of making the true story any more. I want to arrange and tell the story in my way. It is something like subjective documentary.


Funch’s most recent body of work is the critically acclaimed Babel Tales.
"It’s a voyeuristic collection of images that examines random human patterns from the streets of New York and stitches them together to create a surreal montage," he says.

It will be published in book form later this year.
shveckle Posted 10 years ago. Edited by shveckle (member) 10 years ago
@J-Dawg, he would be crazy to say such things, seriously or to admit as such.
shveckle 10 years ago
I find staged photography with people fascinating although I am not that into Jeff Wall's photos. Some I really like but a lot do not interest me. But staging a photo with people to me is a cool concept in a lot of ways and I see a lot of possibilities in that area. Especially when the staging is trying to look not staged.
Findo 10 years ago

Listening to composers talk is interesting, though the only high profile composer I know doesn't talk about his motives, only his processes and the work itself and how it it works technically.
Bryan.Formhals Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Bryan.Formhals (member) 10 years ago
This is more like it. From simon hoegsberg via 2point8 & kottke

We're All Gonna Die
benroberts 10 years ago
why do you think this is better?
krameroneill 10 years ago
I do prefer the side-scrolling reveal of thematically-matched actions, and the space between them. Seems a bit more inventive than finding a bunch of people doing the same thing and cramming them together in an otherwise-conventional frame. I'm not sure what the hell the point is with any of this, though.
AlanSmithee2008 10 years ago
gotta love all the posturing and scent marking that something like this throws up though. I mean how dare an advertising hack make such trivial nonsense out of your thing. jeez, the cheek of the guy. [actually laughing out loud here]. Funny, kinda neat in a throwaway way pictures that some how end up ruffling the feathers of a bunch of people who dont seem to realise that it aint that serious a subject, its just pictures taken in the street. It aint ever gonna be a cancer cure....its a HOBBY.
lighten up.
Bryan.Formhals 10 years ago
@Ben: I like that he took it to absurd proportions with the scroll and number of people. And removing the city as an environment shows to me that he's not interested in mimicking the traditional look of street photography.

he's not posturing or attempting to satirize.

still, my comment was simply a 'this is better than that' type of comment. Neither are really my cup of tea at the end of the day :)
funkaoshi 10 years ago
I think Peter Funch's work is much better. People here seem to be far to dismissive about what he's done. Some of those montages are great. And I don't get how you can call Funch's work 'posturing'.
krameroneill 10 years ago
Gladdy: Thanks for pointing out that something that some people take (relatively) seriously can be easily trivialized or satirized. [not actually laughing out loud here, but kind of smiling a little i guess.] I didn't know that. There's just not enough easy formal satire out there in galleries, museums, online, on TV, in movies, or in print. How many decades after Jeff Koons did you come up with your thesis? [now just annoyed but also laughing maybe a little.] Thanks for coming to the thread to decry the discussion in said thread; I never get tired of that.
Bryan.Formhals 10 years ago
@funkaoshi: it's posturing because of the cleverness. From my reading of the work, he's trying to create a "is this real or fake" reaction.

I don't care if it's real or fake, but I care if you're intentionally trying to make me ask the question.

Jeff Wall doesn't give a flying fuck, that's why he's good.

And simply saying 'some of the montages are great' doesn't add any value to the discussion. Tell me why they are great, don't simply make a statement and presume it's obvious to everyone else.
funkaoshi Posted 10 years ago. Edited by funkaoshi (member) 10 years ago
Again, I don't see how you can see him trying to illicit an "is this real or fake" reaction. I think you need only move a couple photos into the set before its clear that the work is a montage of photos. You commented above you would prefer they looked more fake, but really, these are all very surreal photos. How often do you come across scenes with that much repetition in your life? From a technical standpoint the montages are outstanding.

And really, i'm not sure being clever can be called posturing. I don't see the work as a 'fuck you' to anything, least of all street photography.

As to why I think there are some great pictures here. I like the fact he's assembled 'super' street photographs. Pigeons and people and shit loads of decisive moments, all crammed into one frame. He's created scenes which you probably could never actually capture in real life. And their composed nicely. I love stuff like this. It's actually a smart and interesting use of photochop. I might have low brow tastes though.

Add: Oh, I also enjoy all the repetition.
Mark_H 10 years ago
"It aint ever gonna be a cancer cure....its a HOBBY. "

Well, if you are beaten to death by someone who's irate that you took their picture, it might save you from the cancer you were going to get later.
krameroneill 10 years ago
That's what I don't really get about it, though: the cramming. What's the point? If it is intended as satire (and the excess points toward that), it's quite nicely put together, although on a scale of, say, Scary Movie to Dr. Strangelove, this falls a lot closer to Scary Movie--it hits all the points correctly, but does it illuminate anything other than its creator's awareness of this genre? No. It doesn't expand, it compounds, literally and figuratively. It proves that with enough calculation, all spontaneity can be drained from a genre that hitherto depended on spontaneity, making it a purely technical exercise. None of the acts of discovery that make any creative pursuit worthwhile need be a part of this creation. So...I agree, well done. Anything else?
AlanSmithee2008 10 years ago
Kramer.You are welcome. decry is a bit of a strong word though, its not like i turned up at a creationist tea party in a darwin suit, waving a pterodactyl wing is it? merely introducing a bit of dissent, push a couple of buttons, get the thing rolling. I mean every western needs a bad guy right? they dont really work otherwise. Gives the audience someone to root for...and someone to hate on.
krameroneill 10 years ago
oddly enough, i basically agree.
AlanSmithee2008 10 years ago
kramer [again. sorry] "It proves that with enough calculation, all spontaneity can be drained from a genre that hitherto depended on spontaneity, making it a purely technical exercise. None of the acts of discovery that make any creative pursuit worthwhile need be a part of this creation. So...I agree, well done. Anything else?" except of course for the fact that he had to re-visit this site repeatedly and capture good moment after good moment, in a visually effective frame, over what must have been quite a long period of time, showing a really quite good eye for the shot. And then the editing down of these and their distillation into a single 'mega decisive moment'. Surely the boys and girls around here who espouse the 'conceptual series' over the single shot 'icon' can appreciate what this guy has done here.
funkaoshi 10 years ago
Exactly. Pretending that these montages are nothing more than exercises in tedium is dismissive. That it takes a different set of skills to assemble one of his photos than it does to sulk around a city looking for that lucky shot doesn't make the endeavour any less worthwhile.

And I do think there is more to the photos than him simply pointing out he could cram a lot of stuff into a single frame. I think you can look at the photos as a comment on the way people interact the city. People seemingly doing things together, when they actually are not. If that makes any sense.
mattcr 10 years ago
i prefer this

Bryan.Formhals 10 years ago
@funkaoshi said: "I think you can look at the photos as a comment on the way people interact the city. People seemingly doing things together, when they actually are not. If that makes any sense."

and what I'm saying is that this type of commentary is sophomoric and not very insightful. Every wide eyed asshole who starts to think about contemporary cities intitially makes this type of observation:

"wow, look at all these diverse people in their own little worlds with their iPods and cellphones and personal conversations. Jeez, I wonder if they realize we're all connected and have more in common than we realize even though we're all diverse unique individuals. Wow, the city sure is a crazy place with everyone going all over the place, doing different things, all crowded together. I wonder why people just don't stop strangers on the street and say, 'Hello, isn't it crazy that we're all in this huge city running around like ants? Can I give you a hug?"
funkaoshi 10 years ago
Like I said, low brow tastes. Thankfully I can still enjoy looking at photographs.
China Plate 10 years ago

"I don't care if it's real or fake, but I care if you're intentionally trying to make me ask the question. "

Jeff Wall does intentionally try to make you ask the question.
So how do you feel about him and his work?

You then said

"Jeff Wall doesn't give a flying fuck, that's why he's good."

Followed by

"And simply saying 'some of the montages are great' doesn't add any value to the discussion. Tell me why they are great, don't simply make a statement and presume it's obvious to everyone else."

I would like to say...

"don't simply make a statement and presume it's obvious to everyone else."

Practice what you preach.
Bryan.Formhals 10 years ago
@China Plate: When I look at Wall's work I don't get the impression that he's asking me the 'real or fake' question. The work seems on a different level from that. So I disagree with you on that point. But hey, kudos on playing gotcha :)

@funkaoshi: I enjoy looking at photographs too, but I also enjoy thinking about them as well. Kittens v. puppies
China Plate 10 years ago
@bryanF: I was only playing gotcha ;-)
funkaoshi 10 years ago
@bryanF so you also hate kittens!?
China Plate 10 years ago
Mark_H 10 years ago
Answer: staged.
China Plate 10 years ago
Of course that is the answer.
But what did you think when when you first saw it?
When you didn't know the answer?
Mark_H Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Mark_H (member) 10 years ago
First time I saw it was in a book discusssing how Jeff Wall stages photographs, so I've never seen it without that knowledge.

Um, both Jeff Wall and these guys are staging, Jeff did it in front of the camera, these guys do it in the computer, either way they arrange people to fit a predefined idea rather than capturing the scenes that are actually out there happening.
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