Is It Post-Photography Yet?

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                  IS  IT  POST-PHOTOGRAPHY  YET?

Postmodernism in photography and the notion of post-photography seen through a retrospective analysis of color implication in  Evergon’s work.

This research is inspired by an inject print “Vegator Beach, Goa, India” 2001, by Evergon and baised on “Photography After Art Photography”, an essay by Abigail Solomon-Godeau and a book by W.J.Mitchell “Reconfigured Eye: The Visual Truth in The Post-Photographic Era” 

“Post Modernism : What does it mean? Rather than a style post modernism presented photographers with strategic options. To use it more self-consciously, exploring depictions of the body, for example, through contemporary social, economic, and political discourse. As a consequence, postmodernist photographers break into taboo subjects, representing for instance sexuality, (of children, of adolescents, gay men, ..) A second postmodernist strategy is to exploit and embrace earlier styles in art, even styles condemned as artificial, and use them to make photography.” (Pultz, John, Photography and the Body, The Orion PublishingGroup,London,1995(chapter6pp.144-169).

Postmodernism is a complicated term, or set of ideas, one that has only emerged as an area of academic study since the mid-80’s.  The problem with postmodernism is that it is hard to define because it is striving to be new all the time. How does it do this? It denies the any existence of the past  but it re-uses it by deconstructing it into forms and pieces, which are unrecognizable. It is not only subject matter which is new it is also form. In order to achieve new forms it uses past by referring to previous styles, genres and forms that creates something original. Once it has been created it is no longer post-modern because it has become real, solid, it is no longer about the future it is about the past.

Consequently, postmodernism is hard to define, because it is a concept that appears in a wide variety of disciplines or areas of study, including art, architecture, music, film, photography, literature, sociology, communications, fashion, and technology. It's hard to locate it temporally or historically, because it's not clear exactly when postmodernism begins, but according A. Solomon-Godeau, talking about postmodernism in photography, we may take as a point of departure a “Mirrors and Windows” photo exhibit, organized by john Szarcovski in 1977, where within modern photography the idea of postmodernism came to the fore of the days of the issues of respective uses of photography, raised by Andy Warhool, Robert Ruchenberg and Ed Rusha. Those (postmodern) ideas actually encompassed photography and encouraged the mixing of other media with photography, allowing photographers to experiment with the medium and its possibilities, crossing borders and breaking down taboos in relation of art making.

“Those process of quotation, excerption, framing, and staging (…) necessitate uncovering strata of representation”  stated A.Solomon-Godeau, in “Photography After Art Photography” essay, and as we can see it in Evergon’s early collages,  Xerox color prints, Interlocking Polaroids, and large-format Polaroids.

        In the catalogue to Evergon’s 1988 retrospective exhibition, Martha Hanna (the Canadian curator for the show) accurately described the most important concern in his development to be “to working out of his own sensibility as a gay male.” According to Hanna, this was reflected in the evolution of Evergon imaginary through the mid-80’s, from early work ‘where the clues were often obscure signifiers for particular friends or relationships’ to the more open references in the later large-format (40x80 inch) Polaroids and  Polaroid multiples which dominated this 1988 exhibition and for which Evergon is most commonly known.  Citing his St.Sebastien (1984) and Re-enactment of Goya’s ‘Flight of the Witches’ (1986) as specific examples, she notes that some imaginary in the later works follow homosexual themes…To other photographs Evergon simply applies his sensibility. The beauty, the luscious quality of the Polaroid print, the extravagance of detail are enough to infuse the image with a gay detail.’  What Hanna does not articulate sufficiently, is that these manifestos of his sensibility are essential to the impact and compelling appeal of Evergon’s work, the sexual nature of the majority of the work is simply present because his involvement with life is implicit in his photography, being initiated, however, by personal experience,  not theory.  Thus, in further retrospective analysis of implication and use of color in Evergon work, I will not label this work as “homosexual photography” and analyze it from the sexual identity expression point of view only; this work arises my interest not because it was done by a gay artist, but by the  great  Artist.  

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       Evergon studied traditional arts of paintings, sculpture, drawing and printmaking as well as photography at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. His experimentation in photo-related media began in 1969, when, as Evergon said, “We are talking about the time of the hippies, when there was return to everything. (…)  We were looking for ways of making the  image other than the slick glossy color or black and white.”  Encouraging by the social and sexual revolution of the 60’s, clashing flower-power brights became the rage of the often chemically altered drug culture, rendering colors more and more brilliant. ...

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