Martin Parr on the sofa with...

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Ed Sutton
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Coming up are Chris Killip, Sian Davey, Bruce Gilden, Ken Grant and Vinca Petersen.
 
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Jem Southam - is he taking the p**s?

The Painter's Pool is a load of crap - I've thrown out better - and a lot of the rest look like the kind of thing we might take when we first got a camera!

No wonder I'd never heard of him!
 
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#4
Jem Southam - is he taking the p**s?

The Painter's Pool is a load of crap - I've thrown out better - and a lot of the rest look like the kind of thing we might take when we first got a camera!

No wonder I'd never heard of him!
Five

Four

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Two

One

Emperor's new clothes. :D
 
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The Painter's Pool is a load of crap - I've thrown out better - and a lot of the rest look like the kind of thing we might take when we first got a camera!
That sounds like the rant of someone who's disadvantaged somehow ...

Since Jem's images tend to be sensitive, immersive and very well-judged, I'm at a loss to understand such a viewpoint.
 
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#7
Everyone's entitled to their opinion, I actually agree with Peter here. This guy's images are mostly terrible to my eye, but obviously many people think there's some depth and meaning to them. I don't think he'd have gotten away with it so lightly if he was just starting out today, same with many photographers from bygone eras. I also find Parr a right bore.
 

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#8
I will never understand why people get so upset and agressive about things that are quite harmless like Jem Southams photos. There are lots of things in life I don't enjoy, football for example, but I really don't feel the need to go around ranting about them. If that's what other people enjoy then live and let live, it's not worth bursting a blood vessle over.
 
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#10
By what measure? You might not like them but "mostly terrible", you are going to have to justify that. I find it hard to see that anyone could call them terrible.
Everyone's entitled to their opinion
Don't be so selective, that's reason enough and that was my point.

I don't need to justify it because it's my personal opinion, how about you tell me why his photos are anything but? I won't disagree, because it'll just be your opinion.
 
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I will never understand why people get so upset and agressive about things that are quite harmless like Jem Southams photos. There are lots of things in life I don't enjoy, football for example, but I really don't feel the need to go around ranting about them. If that's what other people enjoy then live and let live, it's not worth bursting a blood vessle over.
I'm not upset about them I just think they are crap and certainly not as noteworthy as some commentators seem to think.
 
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Jem Southam - is he taking the p**s?

The Painter's Pool is a load of crap - I've thrown out better - and a lot of the rest look like the kind of thing we might take when we first got a camera!

No wonder I'd never heard of him!
Whilst I'm not going to be rushing out to buy any of his monographs, I found his photos quite quaint and refreshing in comparison to the deluge of long exposure HDR rubbish positioned from the exact same tripod holes.
 

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#13
I'm not upset about them I just think they are crap and certainly not as noteworthy as some commentators seem to think.
But as I said, live and let live, why go to the effort of coming into this thread and having a rant. If you are not interested in this work then why not just move on the next thing, that's what I don't get. There are loads of images posted in the various Crit sections of this forum which are mediore but most people take a look and then move on, they just don't bother to comment.
 
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But as I said, live and let live, why go to the effort of coming into this thread and having a rant. If you are not interested in this work then why not just move on the next thing, that's what I don't get. There are loads of images posted in the various Crit sections of this forum which are mediore but most people take a look and then move on, they just don't bother to comment.
Because if you get people to accept that crap is somehow good they soon lost the perception of any art as anything other than crap.
 
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Whilst I'm not going to be rushing out to buy any of his monographs, I found his photos quite quaint and refreshing in comparison to the deluge of long exposure HDR rubbish positioned from the exact same tripod holes.
I noticed however that the broadcast didn't actually show a single example of his so called "art", except a montage of rapidly shifting stuff at the beginning which might have been some of his work.

Perhaps because most people would, like myself, view it as crap?
 
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But as I said, live and let live, why go to the effort of coming into this thread and having a rant. If you are not interested in this work then why not just move on the next thing, that's what I don't get. There are loads of images posted in the various Crit sections of this forum which are mediore but most people take a look and then move on, they just don't bother to comment.
An opinion is a rant now? We're not critiquing a forum member here, the guy is apparently famous, he presents his images in public galleries and books, critique is expected in those circles. To me, many of his woodland/forest/landscape images are just bland, lifeless, badly exposed, badly composed, messy or too busy, there's nothing significant about them, they look like someone pretty much aimed a camera at a section of woodland and clicked, nothing more. I'm not apologizing for my opinion on that, to 'me' they are terrible.
 

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Because if you get people to accept that crap is somehow good they soon lost the perception of any art as anything other than crap.
But clearly some people like his work, why can't they just get on with liking his work?


To me, many of his woodland/forest/landscape images are just bland, lifeless, badly exposed, badly composed, messy or too busy, there's nothing significant about them, they look like someone pretty much aimed a camera at a section of woodland and clicked, nothing more
See , there we go, that's a perfectly acceptable point of view, just saying they are “terrible” or “crap” without justification is what I have an issue with. If you are going to make strong statements about someone’s work, especially someone who is not here to defend themselves, it at least needs a justification. But are they really badly exposed? The exposure looks OK to me.
 
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But clearly some people like his work, why can't they just get on with liking his work?



See , there we go, that's a perfectly acceptable point of view, just saying they are “terrible” or “crap” without justification is what I have an issue with. If you are going to make strong statements about someone’s work, especially someone who is not here to defend themselves, it at least needs a justification. But are they really badly exposed? The exposure looks OK to me.
Some of them have no detail in the shadows, blown skies, awkward and distracting compositions, they're clearly processed but often with garish colours - often looking as if a random IG preset was overlaid. It may well be how he wanted them to be, but if I didn't know this was a well known photographer and seen the same photos in a general google image search I'd have honestly thought they were just random snap shots - at best photos of woodland for surveying purposes. But each to their own, I don't mind if he does come on here and tells me my images are crap :D he wouldn't be the first, but I've a tough chin and no doubt he's been told worse too. I'm just blunt with words at times, when I say terrible, I will have some reasoning , just didn't think it added anything as it is just my opinion in the end.
 
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Perhaps because most people would, like myself, view it as crap?
It would be interesting (or not) to know what your credentials are that give you qualification to pronounce so assertively on his work, being of the type it is.

Going to tell us?
 
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#21
It would be interesting (or not) to know what your credentials are that give you qualification to pronounce so assertively on his work, being of the type it is.

Going to tell us?
Of course I will - I have a pair of eyes.
 
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I reckon what some people have difficulty with is pictures that aren't of what they are used to seeing pictures off, particularly 'boring' stuff. There's a widely held view that photographs have to be of something special, extraordinary and they always have to be stunning. There's also an attitude of taking standalone pictures that creates a problem of appreciating bodies of work which contain pictures which don't stand up so well on their own but aid the flow of the overall work.

"I never think of photographs as being individual. Always as a group." - Martin Parr
 
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#23
I've heard of Jem Southam but never really looked at his work. I quite like it, especially the ones featured in this interview:

https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2013/03/jem-southam-interview/

He shoots 10x8 so I'm sure that prints in person would look a million times better compared to the relatively tiny thumbnails on the web. I like how quiet and and decidedly undramatic his work is, the images are carefully composed and invite the eye to wander.

EDIT:
His latest series is currently being shown starting today, I'm going to pop down and have a look this weekend
https://huxleyparlour.com/exhibitions/jem-southam-the-long-white-cloud/
 
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#25

simon ess

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It continues to be frustrating that, in a thread about a particular topic, people still fail to understand the difference between, "I don't like this because...." and,

Jem Southam - is he taking the p**s?

The Painter's Pool is a load of crap - I've thrown out better - and a lot of the rest look like the kind of thing we might take when we first got a camera!

No wonder I'd never heard of him!
You can take whatever line you like of course, but don't be surprised if people judge you accordingly.
 

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I reckon what some people have difficulty with is pictures that aren't of what they are used to seeing pictures off, particularly 'boring' stuff. There's a widely held view that photographs have to be of something special, extraordinary and they always have to be stunning.
I think this applies to a lot more than just photos. One thing that I always found interesting when the kids were little was the fact that they always wanted the same story at bedtime or they so often watched the same video, there was something comforting in the familiar I guess. And I think it's the same with things like Eastenders, or police dramas, it is basically the same story over and over again. I guess some people just want to be served the pap with which they are comfortable.

But I am still completely baffled why they can't allow any space for people who do want something different.
 
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#29
Albert ('Peter') - I sense that culturally you are a simple soul. Nowt wrong with that, except when you lash out in an uninformative way against stuff that you haven't managed to grasp.

The use of emotional language that smacks only of the bar room isn't unusual on these forums, and it demeans them.

If you want to make a statement, then you owe it to us to give a reasoned account.

On the other hand, if you don't understand the subject, it isn't necessary to over-compensate by adopting a dismissive, chip-on-the-shoulder attitude and lashing out.

This isn't about your value as a person, and I hardly understand why some people can get into such a dismissive stew about material that others appreciate and they currently can't.
 
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#30
But I am still completely baffled why they can't allow any space for people who do want something different.
Probably a manifestation of that comfort thing again. They see anything different as a threat in some way and have to run it out of town.
 
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Probably a manifestation of that comfort thing again. They see anything different as a threat in some way and have to run it out of town.
I have no problems with anything different and do not see it as a "threat."

I have seen and done more different things in my life than you could possibly imagine living as I'm sure you do in your own comfort zone.
 
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Albert ('Peter') - I sense that culturally you are a simple soul. Nowt wrong with that, except when you lash out in an uninformative way against stuff that you haven't managed to grasp.

The use of emotional language that smacks only of the bar room isn't unusual on these forums, and it demeans them.

If you want to make a statement, then you owe it to us to give a reasoned account.

On the other hand, if you don't understand the subject, it isn't necessary to over-compensate by adopting a dismissive, chip-on-the-shoulder attitude and lashing out.

This isn't about your value as a person, and I hardly understand why some people can get into such a dismissive stew about material that others appreciate and they currently can't.
I do understand the subject, far more than you do obviously.
 
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#34
I do understand the subject, far more than you do obviously.
Saying 'obviously' is so confrontational. Is this how you behave in public?

Ok, you've seen some of Jem's work? Please explain your pronouncements about it because so far they've been uninformative ... or do you just come here to shout?
 
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#35
Also, is it right that photography was once your livelihood? Would that qualify you to pronounce on every sphere of it? Are you maybe fuelled here by some kind of professional jealousy?

And are you like this with everything in every realm?

I have no vested interest in this matter, I just feel that I ought to defend Jem since his work's been maligned in public.
 
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Also, is it right that photography was once your livelihood? Would that qualify you to pronounce on every sphere of it? Are you maybe fuelled here by some kind of professional jealousy?

And are you like this with everything in every realm?

I have no vested interest in this matter, I just feel that I ought to defend Jem since his work's been maligned in public.
Here are some examples of his "work":

http://visualarts.britishcouncil.org/collection/portfolios/the-raft-of-carrots

I described his work as "crap" - I should have said "pretentious crap"

Please explain to me the artistic merit of these images?
 
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#37
This is a discussion forum. They only reason they exist is so that we can all sprout off our opinions as if they they're the most correct ones in the world. A forum where there's only a single Correct Opinion would be too boring to bother visiting.

Personally; Southam had flown below my radar. This thread made me go look. Maybe they work as a collection of large prints but online they leave me unmoved. I can't say they work for me either as eye-candy or thought provokers; they come across as messy scenes without focal points.

But what do I know?
 
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#38
Ok, Raft of Carrots.

His framing is decisive, and welded to the chosen meaning that he wants to impart.

Every photograph in the world is either wittingly or unwittingly an extraction, and these examples show a fully-conscious knowledge of what he's up to and what he wants to impart.

They also make a good series. Were they on 10 x 8 film?

What are some of the things you choose when you make a photograph? Subject, light, framing, focus, dof ...

He's made choices in all those, chosen a medium and a palette which all contribute to the message for each image that's his intent. I don't see anything sloppy or anything that doesn't work. I'd love to have one on my wall but I'd never be able to afford it, most likely.

His photographic voice is quiet but firm. The images are teasing statements that have a subtle, visionary quality.

I also find them very accessible - nothing too obscure.

You want me to wear my pen out? Are your own images better?
 
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#40
And so the age-old debate rumbles on... Do you think the work in question is something akin to the 'Emperor's new clothes'? Do you find it pretentious? Can you see nothing 'special' about it at all? Does it appear to ignore the photographic rules of 'correct' exposure, focus and/or composition? Do you think it would it be laughed out of a local camera club competition?

If your answer to one or more of the above is yes, then it's probably the reason why you are not a famous photographer!

OK, so good luck and fortune in being 'discovered' may have something to do with that too, but I suspect that particular thought is probably more akin to a comfort blanket than a justifiable excuse?
 
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