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'Colour is something more vulgar…'

Sometimes when you make a plan, you have to be open to change. Sometimes when you make a change, you have to be open to changing back again. Back in the summer we planned to have a study visit to the Klein/Moriyama show at Tate Modern in November. Then November got too busy and we had to cancel it.
However, the tutor feedback was that this was a mistake, that Klein/Moriyama is this season’s ‘must see’, so here is the study visit reinstated. On Saturday 12 January, tutors Clive White and Rob Bloomfield will be in the lead and you can expect thoughtful opinion strongly expressed.
To book your place please email enquiries@oca-uk.com The study visit is free and entrance to the exhibition is at 11am, so you will need to be there just before that.

Posted by author: Genevieve Sioka
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36 thoughts on “'Colour is something more vulgar…'

  • I have seen the exhibitions & they are truly gigantic in terms of volume and things to think about. You have no idea how pleased I am that you have put the video on here! It had taken me so long to go round, and round, and round the exhibitions and had watched the video twice, that the Tate was closing & I had to leave! I can now make my notes in peace & have the time to reflect on what he says. Brilliant!

    • ‘I’ve always felt that the world is an erotic place’ caused some discussion in the office. It would be remiss of me to identify those who disagreed.

      • ‘I see Shinjuku as a stadium of people’s desires’
        People’s desires… for what / who? Influenced by whom? The dream that is to be desired… created by us? The media? Consumerism…?
        Later he also says, ‘… Everyone has desires, the quality and the volume of those desires change with age, but that desire is always serious and real, photography is an expression of those desires… so that way of things or speaking is nonsense to me…’
        I don’t quite understand the last sentence… what is the ‘that’ he refers to in the last sentence?
        He’s always moving, and talks about walking a lot, even photographing his own (and the world’s) movement. It’s interesting, and makes me think / feel of someone in constant search of something…
        I’ve read on some of his work, but I’m sure not nearly enough. In an article, can’t recall where, I read his work described as ‘sexually charged’, and this then makes sense in terms of how he sees or feels about the world, and his relationship with the city.

        • Dewald,
          I think that the ‘that’ he referred to there was the comment that most people make their best work in their 20’s and 30’s—but I could be wrong?

        • Here’s my favourite one that rings bells for my photographic attempts.
          …”I am creating my own home by connecting pieces of images from my imagination and things I saw as a child”.

        • Anne… yes, that made me stop too, and wonder if his past, all the moving around, is so reflected in his work, all the constant moving, piecing his home together.
          It struck me as a positive spin on what a few artists use as, well, I don’t want to use the word ‘excuse’… the words ‘starting point’ might probably more fitting… when some negative aspect in their youth becomes the (sole) basis of ‘ugly’ art (sorry, dangerous grounds here, I know… Susanne and I talked about this at length).
          I was quite struck by one Chinese photographer’s work recently, and the reason was also given as the loss of youth, and her subsequent desire to try and reconstruct it through her work.
          Link: http://www.muma-art.net/channel111-1.asp?PicID=208
          (you’ll have to use Google translate, or auto translate on Google Chrome browser)
          From the artist’s own site, 3rd image on the left opens the ‘art’ section, deals with this statement I mentioned above…
          Link: http://www.kohoing.com/arts.asp
          It also made me re-read Sharon’s interview on Edelweiss, where she talks about photographing her child….

        • About the ugly/beautiful thing I suppose it depends how you define it.
          Some of those images linked to look in a way like a reliving of trauma or a form of personal therapy as though reconstructing something symbolically was a way of separating yourself from it. i was reading in Photography reader (liz wells) an article about Jo Spence that connects with that.
          I was also just looking at those similar ideas in Walid Raad’s work just recently but he doesn’t use tableaux. Personally I think I prefer his kind of way of doing it because its more allusive and ambiguous and seems more engaged with the world maybe. Part of something more than himself maybe. Not sure – i’m thinking about that side of photography at the moment, some parts of it don’t appeal to me and some parts of it do and i’m trying to work it out.
          Anyway on the Daido quote, I meant that i found that i kept photographing things that seemed to mean something to me (although not always my then tutor!) and after quite some thought I worked out that some of them were sort of like memories i was seeing (but not literally.)
          Probably its very bad of me but I booked in for the exhibition as I want to look at the black and white prints right up close:-)
          On sexually charged, desire, and the city… I wonder how that would work out if he lived and photographed in Barnsley! In truth I don’t know that you can really trust your camera not to go down that route on its own sometimes.

  • I’m very glad you’ve reinstated this: I’ve put off visiting while waiting for the Study Visit though I was about to give up and go over the Christmas break.
    Thanks for the tip about the progamme Amano – I look forward to watching it.

  • What a fascinating video. Thanks Gareth,
    I found the comments about colour vs b&w interesting as I just went to the colour photography exhibition at Somerset House after Cartier Bresson. http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/about/press/press-releases/cartier-bresson-a-question-of-colour
    The premise is that Bresson believed black and white to be better than colour but asked photographers to prove him wrong. The exhibition at Somerset House seems to do just that… I think it is harder to make colour less vulgar and especially in street photography, to control the palette, but when you look at how some people have done it is is pretty inspiring… Joel Meyerowitz, Hellen Levitt, Saul Leiter…

    • I also wondered at what he meant by vulgar – could it be a mis-translation? After all, his images are of the every day/common life – so why shouldn’t the colours be vulgar = of the common people ? I wonder if he would call Tom Hunter’s images vulgar? His image of the woman reading the possession order is made up of very strong colous, much stronger than those of the Vermeer painting of the girl at the window which inspired TH’s work.

  • Just caught up with the Klein programme – wow! So much energy and visual dynamism. Looking forward to the exhibition even more now.
    Very glad that you managed to get a spot Dave.

  • Ahh, so all the places are gone already? Maybe I won’t go back.
    There’s some wonderful quotes in there, and I particularly like his views on narrative. Doesn’t work for everyone though. As for eroticism and Barnsley, it would depend on where and how you shoot I guess. If you go all Martin Parr, it won’t be excessively erotic (but then, depends what floats your boat)…
    If people get a hankering for Japanese photography, there’s a book from Toluca editions on one of Moriyama’s Provoke stablemates – Yutaka Takanashi (also the name of the book). It features images from Toshi-e, Machi and Golden-Gai Bars – Toshi-e and Machi are very different and more than worth the price of the book on their own. When I bought mine, it was cheaper on Amazon.fr btw.

  • is he trying to create an (erotic) identity for himself through his restless journeying? after all, the stray dog, which he says he is honoured to be compared with, is just roaming the streets, looks rather weather-beaten/threadbare/past it – taken in 1971 when he was in his late 40s – doesn’t look as though he is going to see any place as erotic!
    Thanks Amano, the Klein documentary was excellent & is a much more comprehensive portrait than the brief video in the Tate which gives a very sanitised view of the man.

  • It was interesting to see how he gets his images. Years and years of walking around fast and snapping with a compact. He has thousands and thousands of images, many of which he ‘skips’later. I’m not a photographer, but do use a camera sometimes. Often I consider things for a while, line up, compose etc. It’s often the same with drawing. I am always urging my students to consider as well, even in quick work. But there is something to be said about working in this very fast, spontaneous and intuitive way. It’s an absolute coincidence but, just last week I took my camera out to ‘snap’ bits of my part of the city. It wasn’t people, but bits of buildings, shadows, reflection, details. I walked around with the camera as if it was a motion picture one and pressed the shutter when I was moved or grabbed by something, regardless of what it was. I suspect photographers do this all the time, but I had never worked in that way. So, I feel even more justified now that I have seen his video. His images have a filmic quality which I really respond to. I like what he says about them capturing his movement as well as the city’s.
    I am going to Barnsley tomorrow! I might take my camera. I suspect, though, that desire will be reflected in Christmas window displays like it is everywhere else and I am am trying hard not to get drawn in by it all.

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