Photographic Activity Of Postmodernism

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“So long as photography was merely a vehicle by which art objects entered the imaginary museum, a certain coherence obtained. But once photography itself enters, an object among others, heterogeneity is reestablished at the heart of the museum; its pretensions of knowledge are doomed. Even photography cannot hypostatise style from a photograph.” (Crimp, 1993)

In Douglas Crimp’s essay, “The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism” he argues that postmodernism is “the return of the repressed”. With regards to photography as a medium, this is certainly true: photography and mechanical reproduction as a whole has often been overshadowed by its’ more highbrow counterparts: namely, painting and sculpture. Postmodernism is when mechanical reproduction
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Richard Prince is an example of a postmodern photographer who appropriates other photographer’s works. His Marlboro ad re-photography is his most famous work, but during the 1980s he began a series entitled “Jokes”, juxtaposing image and text, not dissimilar to Barbara Kreuger’s work: taking photographs from other photographers and coupling them with jokes taken from magazines or joke books. The use of image and text in Barbara Kruger’s and Richard Prince’s works is powerful; by captioning images they are given a context and therefore a meaning that may not be immediately apparent…show more content…
He explores the links between Dadaism, Surrealism and postmodernism; all in which photography is a medium heavily used. We see influences from famous Dadaist and Surrealist photographers such as Man Ray, Alfred Steiglitz, Marcel Duchamp and Brassai - indeed, some of these photographers overlap into postmodernism; for example, Alfred Steiglitz’s photographs of Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” is a prime example of this. Sherrie Levine went on to appropriate Marcel Duchamp’s readymades. Whilst Dadaism was a political movement, and Surrealism a philosophical movement, both centred on deconstruction and re-representation - just like postmodernism. Foster goes through an explanation of modernism in order to be able to define postmodernism, and how postmodernism is a natural evolution: artists must move on from traditional methods of expression in order to continue making challenging works. Photography, in this light, is an important part of postmodernism - being one of the newest means of creative expression, it is in no way old enough to be considered traditional and therefore photography is a perfect medium for

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