Revived and Remade
Since at least the mid-1970s, the theory of photography has been concerned with the idea that photographs can be understood as processes of signification and cultural coding.
Postmodernist analysis has offered alternative ways for understanding the meaning of photographs outside the tenets of modernist perspectives.
Postmodernism, in contrast, considered photography from a different standpoint, one that was not intended to serve the construction of a pantheon of photographic creator that mirrored those established for painting and sculpture.
Heavily influenced by the principles of structural linguistics and its philosophical off-shoots structuralism and post-structuralism, particularly as formulated by French thinkers such as Roland Barther (1915-80) and Michel Foucault (1926-84), this theory postulated that the meaning of any image was not of its author’s making or necessarily under his or her control, but was determined only by reference to other images or signs.
The work of American artist Cindy Sherman (b.1954), with its acute invocation of iconic mannerisms from cinematic stills, fashion photography, pornography and painting, is in many respects the prime exemplar of postmodern art photography.
In 1990s, her Untitled Film Stills series was heralded (somewhat ironically in modernist terms of originality) as a seminal and early realization of self-consciously postmodernist artistic practice.
Untitled Film Stills is therefore a demonstration of the argument advanced by feminist theory that “femininity” is a construction of cultural codes and not a quality that is naturally inherent or essential to women.
Both the photographer and the model in the pictures is Sherman herself, making the series a perfect condensation of postmodernist photographic practice: she is both observer and observed.“I think of becoming a different person. I look into a mirror next to the camera… it’s trancelike. By staring into it I try to become that character through the lens… When I see what I want, my intuition takes over.”
“What is so great about her pictures it is not so much about what your looking at but what has happened before and what happens after?
She is so much of a artist before a photographer, she ‘s been able to create a picture that actually has a soul.” – Robert Longo on Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills
She constructs her images like a painter and she uses the make-up to render the image. She is the creator and central character in her images. There is something about loneliness and disconnection and kind of misfit going through her work. She really reflects on women life and represents it within clear real life scenes.
Is remaking something we do to communicate with others? Or is it something we do to understand the artist with our own experiences? As guardian.co.uk implied: “Remaking art is an experiment in understanding it – while a critic might try to “get inside” a great painting by describing it in detail, a more direct way is to actually try to enter its imaginative world by restating it as a tableau.”
These days you come across paintings that have been remade into photographs, photographs that have been turned into parody… And now: caught in the act, there are world’s soap operas that uses the same melodramatic expression of the performance, creating a study of our ear’s emotional codes.
“At the heart of this lie the possibilities that postmodern practice represents for contemporary art photographers to. Able to knowingly shape the subjects that intrigue them, conscious of the heritage of the imagery into which they are entering, and to see the contemporary world through the pictures we already know”.
Parody and Pastiche
A parody is a work that ridicules another, usually well-.‐known work, by imitating it in a comic way. By its nature, parody demands some taking from the original work being parodied. A fairly extensive use of the original work is permitted in a parody in order to “conjure up” the original.
A pastiche is a work whose style imitates that of another writer or period. Pastiche differs from parody in that it is usually intended as a kind of tribute rather than a satire.
Pastiche is a tongue-in-cheek imitation or tribute used in literature, art, music, etc. It is performed with respect to, or in homage to, other works, as opposed to parody which is done in ridicule or sarcasm.
Taken during the early days of the fierce Tet Offensive in Saigon, at the height of the Vietnam War, was the one for which he would always be remembered.
The image was published around the world and raised public awereness of the events that were unfolding in Vietnam, and it won Adams both the Pulitzer Prize and the World Press Photo Award. In this depiction of a brutal execution and the senseless violence of war, the dark side of photography is revealed.
This image of execution came to epitomize the brutality of war and the conplex role played by the eye-witness.
In Time magazine interview Adams said that ‘The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera. Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them, but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths.’
The word wide web has come of age with an estimated one billion users around the globe. Advances in computer technology allow almost anyone with the right software and creativity to produce impression digital art. Throw a political agenda into the mix and you have a Webagandist.
Today a very talented Brazilian left-wing liberal artist named Carlos Latuff produces extreme anti-US and pro-Palestinian cartoons and caricatures. His level of creativity is astounding even if his messages are abhorrent. Occasionally he uses pornography, more often his work is ghoulish, and generally is amusing. He attacks Israeli policy towards the Palestinians and is violently anti-American. He pays particular attention to the war in Iraq and to capitalism. Latuff must be a Pepsi drinker, as he constantly snipes at Coco Cola by showing that the company is the root of all evil. McDonalds receives similar treatment. One of his cartoons fuels the ridiculous conspiracy theory that the US engineered the AIDS virus, with others furthering the myth that 9/11 was orchestrated by the CIA. /http://www.psywar.org/forum/index.php?topic=76.0 /