FlakPhoto Books on FaceBook

The announcement and programme for a discussion of Gerry Badger’s book of essays was posted in advance on the FlakPhoto Beta website. It directed people to Facebook where an event was created which soon had 144 people signed up as “going” (i.e. participating). The schedule below outlined a schedule for posting comment threads within the FlakPhoto Books group on Facebook. [Click on any of the days of the week for a link for the discussion initiated that day.]

I imagine that anyone engaging seriously with a new collection of essays will begin with the introduction. Badger’s is three pages long. (page 6-8) It is followed by an 11-page essay, “The Pleasures of Good Photographs”, setting out some of the basics of Badger’s approach to photography and to the issues discussed in the individual essays that follow.

Monday, May 7 – “Literate, Authoritative, Transcendent: Walker Evans’s American Photographs” (page 22)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Monday, May 21 – “A Certain Sensibility: John Gossage, the Photographer as Auteur” (page 87)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Monday, June 4 – “Without Author or Art: The ‘Quiet Photograph'” (page 210)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Monday, June 18 – “Elliptical Narratives: Some Thoughts on the Photobook” (page 221)

Monday, July 2 – “It’s Art, But Is It Photography? Some Thoughts on Photoshop” (page 234)

Not scheduled for discussion was “Simply the Best: John Szarkowski and Eugène Atget” (page 35) or “Ruthless Courtesies: the making of Martin Parr”. Martin Parr is a friend and collaborator of Gerry Badger and, of course, one of the most important of contemporary photographers. Badger on Parr is simply essential reading, not to be missed. And the essay on Atget is an incredibly rich and detailed settling of accounts. It addresses an issue important for Badger, that of the relationship between photographs as documents and as art, and between the documentary imagination and the claims to be considered as an artist.

In the middle of the book (pages 108-143) Badger offers us an interlude: discussion of 15 images each of which present a path of some sort. Badger calls this section “A Walk to Paradise Garden”. For each of the 15 photographs, each by a different and well-known photographer, Badger offers us a little more than a page of commentary. A reading of the image.

I must offer my thanks to the discussion initiated by Tom Griggs on Facebook on Monday June 4th, 2012. The inadequacies of Facebook have provoked me into beginning this blog, which in turn has led me to give more sustained consideration to some of the images and projects discussed than I might otherwise have done. This has unlocked in me a desire to reconsider some of the photographers that I find truly inspiring — and in some cases, awe-inspiring.

This blog which began as reflections on the notion of “the quiet photograph” but it will take me further, into a re-examination of the work of Atget, and of Mark Power and David Goldblatt and into serious reflection on my own photographic practice. Gerry Badger’s reflections on the difference between 35mm and large-camera work in his essay on Anthony Hernandez (page 161-3) is very relevant here.

Finally I would just like to record my thanks to Gerry Badger for introducing me to photographers with whom I was not familiar, including Thomas Joshua Cooper and Susan Lipper (although I had a book of Lipper’s – Trip – on my bookshelf). And I was more than happy to read his enthusiastic essay about Robert Adams, to whose writings about photography I return to again and again.

2 thoughts on “FlakPhoto Books on FaceBook”

  1. thank you for starting this blog. I have been one of the readers of comments about the book in question. the discussion of this book has opened my eyes to other ways of thinking. I like it when I feel that I am learning. I too have been introduced to photographers unknown to me. I have trouble with that old problem of “is iti art or photography” why is that still a question?
    and then we have the issue of “I use a view camera so Im more of a photographer than you”when it comes down to it to me its content and understanding and image making,somehow describing the world.

    1. Cheers, David. Thanks for leaving your comment. I wonder if you would care to offer any of the questions that have been highlighted for you in reading the essays / comments.

      I know that I will have to go back to the essays on Atget and Parr again. And I want to try and trace the whole argument about art gallery interest in photography. It is quite subtle — although in some essays it comes across as a bit petulant. And I want to find the essay by Paul Graham in which similar arguments are made.

      Anyway, thanks again. Be grateful for any specific questions you are reflecting on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s