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Peripheral Focus | by gfpeck
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Peripheral Focus

The Emulation Assignment 01: Uta Barth


dWIT (Detailed What It Took):


1. Which photo(s) inspired you. I gotta say that the Uta photos that inspired me the most were those that were most similar to what I already like. Some of the images in the book White Blind (Bright Red) do work for me, like Like Nowhere Near #4.

2. What you liked and/or didn't like about Uta Barth's style. Mostly, her work just did not strike the right nerve...I just don’t get it. When I first started reading about her style, I thought I might be figuring out where she was coming from. But the more I read, the more I did not understand. For me, in the years between her Ground series and the material in White Blind (Bright Red), Uta shifted her approach quite a bit (maybe some would say “evolved”). Her later work includes subjects, focal points…a contradiction to her earlier work, but I like it better.


In the course of studying Uta, I was also put off by some of the writing/interpretation associated with her work. For example, the essay provided by writer Jan Tumlir the book White Blind (Bright Red) was a bunch of psychobabble and complete turn off. I think that if you substituted another photographer’s name, the text would be just as applicable.


In another instance it is stated “Uta Barth aims her camera at the everyday places that are ignored or overlooked, taking note of the incidental and the passage of time, while being deeply engaged with looking at nothing.” link (from). I believe that statement is in no way unique to Uta’s work and that we will find that some of the photographers we study over the coming months will fit that quote nicely.


My favorite is “In a very simplistic way, Barth’s Ground series is to photography what karaoke is to music.” link


I like the idea of not having a easily discernable subject, or no subject at all. However, I think this can also be successfully attained without the OOF/abstract approach.

3. Your thoughts and/or thought process behind your assignment submission. See number four below.

4. How your photo reflects elements of Uta Barth's style. I tried (perhaps as the lazy photographer referred to in the original assignment post) to work toward capturing form and light in a manner consistent with Uta’s OOF images. However, as I am still trying to gain some consistency and understanding in capturing form and light with a focused subject, I am sure that my Barth-esque submission only grazes the surface of truly emulating her style.

5. What you gained as a photographer from studying Uta Barth's work. I certainly gained a greater appreciation of abstract imagery and that it is hard to make an out of focus shot look purposeful. I have also learned to better appreciate the other types of photos that I am consciously or unconsciously attracted to. Learning is always a good thing, and I have learned much. Just image the knowledge gained between now and the end of this year-long effort.


Now, on to Dirty Harry...


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Taken on May 17, 2009