"Everything is photogenic once it has been photographed."
January 7, 2013 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Photographer Lewis Baltz came to prominence as part of the loosely knit "New Topographics" movement and its eponymous 1975 exhibition. Largely ignored at the time, it wasn't until Deborah Bright's 1985 essay Of Mother Nature and Marlboro Men: An Inquiry Into the Cultural Meanings of Landscape photography [pdf] that critics started examining the movement's significance more closely. Bright called Baltz the "most articulate and complex of the New Topographics artists," a reputation he has lived up to over the years on film, in interviews and as the eminently quotable professor of conceptual photography at the European Graduate School.

Note: The pervasive influence of Baltz and his contemporaries' deadpan approach to man-made landscapes may prompt utterances along the lines of "Well, I could do that!"—and you surely could.
posted by Lorin (3 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Technically the name of the exhibition came first and was later associated with its members but for the sake of concision...
posted by Lorin at 11:51 AM on January 7, 2013

I have the book. While I am not overly fond of excessive naval gazing in photography, or the crazy levels of over analysis some of the art world can indulge in, I really am quite fond of the New Topographics and the style in general. I've worked hard at doing some work 'in the style', and I can tell anyone who thinks they can knock off a few: either you tried it and you don't get what it is saying, or you didn't try it.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:05 PM on January 7, 2013

The most deceptively simple of Baltz' images do seem to encourage that attitude though, and it is a very accessible style to practice at: anyone in an urban area will find no shortage of subjects. Stephen Shore's work of that era, on the other hand, has a more humbling quality, but then I've always struggled with shooting in colour.
posted by Lorin at 12:20 PM on January 7, 2013

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