Artsuite - Lucas Blalock - Windows, Mirrors, Tabletops - Hardcover, bound in cloth with no exterior printing, 238 pages, with 175 black and white and color photographs. Lucas Blalock plays with the conventions of photography by exploring its limits and inherent contradictions. He examines not only the photograph’s subject but also the internal information of its making.

Lucas Blalock

Book | 2013 | First Edition (shrink wrapped) | MÖREL

 

Lucas Blalock plays with the conventions of photography by exploring its limits and inherent contradictions. He examines not only the photograph’s subject but also the internal information of its making. Transposing Bertholt Brecht’s theory of alienation into photography by making the mechanics of the tools of production an evident part of the picture, Blalock then forces the viewer to question the conflicting realities set before them and, in turn, the contemporary condition of photography itself.

Back in 1978, John Szarkowski curated a show at MoMA called Mirrors and Windows, American Photography since 1960. In it, he made a persuasive argument that the photography of the previous two decades could be divided into two separate camps: work made by photographers who saw the medium as a mirror (the self-expressionists, as embodied by Minor White) and work made those who saw it as a window (the explorers, as embodied by Robert Frank). His analysis and the visual reasoning exemplified in his choices remain a landmark in curatorial history.

 

Blalock’s new monograph, Windows Mirrors Tabletops, makes an overt allusion to this now famous line of thinking, adding to it the current reengagement with the studio as venue for photographic innovation. There is genius in this simple title, as it both describes Blalock’s approach at some level, but also provides a contrasting definition to Szarkowski’s old saw. In today’s contemporary photographic practice, an artist no longer has to choose sides between mirrors and windows, but can reject both and head for the tabletop (the constructed/staged, the conceptual, and the software manipulated), or sample all three and mix them into a new kind of photographic expression; it’s a new world of and not or, a brazen combination of straight and synthetic, and Blalock’s work is running along the cutting edge of this new white space.

Windows, Mirrors, Tabletops

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Lucas Blalock

Book | 2013 | First Edition (shrink wrapped) | MÖREL

 

Lucas Blalock plays with the conventions of photography by exploring its limits and inherent contradictions. He examines not only the photograph’s subject but also the internal information of its making. Transposing Bertholt Brecht’s theory of alienation into photography by making the mechanics of the tools of production an evident part of the picture, Blalock then forces the viewer to question the conflicting realities set before them and, in turn, the contemporary condition of photography itself.

Back in 1978, John Szarkowski curated a show at MoMA called Mirrors and Windows, American Photography since 1960. In it, he made a persuasive argument that the photography of the previous two decades could be divided into two separate camps: work made by photographers who saw the medium as a mirror (the self-expressionists, as embodied by Minor White) and work made those who saw it as a window (the explorers, as embodied by Robert Frank). His analysis and the visual reasoning exemplified in his choices remain a landmark in curatorial history.

 

Blalock’s new monograph, Windows Mirrors Tabletops, makes an overt allusion to this now famous line of thinking, adding to it the current reengagement with the studio as venue for photographic innovation. There is genius in this simple title, as it both describes Blalock’s approach at some level, but also provides a contrasting definition to Szarkowski’s old saw. In today’s contemporary photographic practice, an artist no longer has to choose sides between mirrors and windows, but can reject both and head for the tabletop (the constructed/staged, the conceptual, and the software manipulated), or sample all three and mix them into a new kind of photographic expression; it’s a new world of and not or, a brazen combination of straight and synthetic, and Blalock’s work is running along the cutting edge of this new white space.

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