27 Feb 2011

Robert and Shana Parkeharrison.

Came across Robert and Shana Parkeharrison today. Their images remind me on a few things: The dreamy/fantasy photography I used to really love; listening to The Smashing Pumpkins; being in the darkroom; 'Blackbird' by The Beatles and watching old MGM movies.

In all seriousness though it is safe to say these can be viewed as the essence of dream photography of contemporary art. The images are manipulated and also made to look older than their time.

“[T]he ParkeHarrisons printed their photographs from large paper negatives made by cutting and pasting a variety of images together. The underlying mechanics of this technique–including the seams between individual images–are carefully painted out in the negative. A photographic print is then made, which is often painted with a layer of varnish or beeswax. This genuinely original technique, combined with their elaborate process of set construction, crosses many creative boundaries. The result is a fascinating hybrid of sculpture, performance, painting and photography.”

"My photographs tell stories of loss, human struggle, and personal exploration within landscapes scarred by technology and over-use…. [I] strive to metaphorically and poetically link laborious actions, idiosyncratic rituals and strangely crude machines into tales about our modern experience."
--Robert ParkeHarrison

I think there would've been a time when these series' would've had me in complete awe.  I think the images are incredible, I do, but I think more that they've helped me see a growth in myself and my interests. Before I would've tried to recreate images like this just because I could. Other than the aesthetics of my own attempts they wouldn't mean or say much more than that. I'm still captivated by the imagination of others (certainly when it comes to film) and I value so much the background of parkeharrisons themes and explorations.  To me the honest works of Robert Mapplethorpe or Nan Goldin say a lot more to me at this time. It's not to say there images aren't honest in there message or actually content, because so much of them deal with exactly that.

When I look at my own work, any of my work. Its the honest moments I favour. I think right now I look for the RAW and the truth of the moment.

All the same I'm glad I found these images today. And more so this:

This is part of Parkeharrisons's new work (2008) titled 'Counterpoint'.

“Nearly a decade after the publication of The Architect’s Brother, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison will be releasing their second title which revisits themes explored in the first book including man’s destruction and healing of the planet. Shot in color, the photographs also utilize the ParkeHarrisons’ early technique of applying pigment by hand, directly to their large-scale prints. Robert ParkeHarrison once again appears as the Everyman of the book’s visual narrative–one who despite the will to effect change, is all too often rendered impotent and ineffectual. The ParkeHarrisons also explore the epic landscape as a metaphor for the state of mankind, particularly alluding to recent natural disasters and their aftermath.”

Looking at these colour images make me think of a more modern time and I can relate to them better because of that. I recognise the purpose and feel more connected, despite the fact they still carry this conceptual manipulation, more so the 'Winter Arm' below.

hmmm... actually I really love these images.

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