Hive Photos
November 19, 2009 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Kyle Cassidy's In The Hive "As fine art photography increasingly at times adopts the tropes of snapshots I often find myself in galleries wondering if the artist didn't possess some sort of faulty camera whose shutter tripped randomly... I asked twenty-three people scattered around the U.S. to wear their cameras everywhere and over the next 48 hours I sent eleven text messages at random intervals asking everyone to take a photo of whatever was in front of them at that moment."

If you don't like the interface you can see them all in this flickr set.

(Previous Cassidy: 1, 2)
posted by muddgirl (13 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
People spend way too much time indoors.
posted by philip-random at 1:07 PM on November 19, 2009

Nice idea but Found Photos did it better.
posted by fire&wings at 1:15 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I love Kyle Cassidy's work. He inspires me. I can't think of any photography he's done that I didn't find utterly fascinating. Thanks for posting this!
posted by velvet winter at 1:38 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Many of these images are quite calculated and are probably not what was in front of the shooter when the text message came in. I mean, a hummingbird hovering right in front of a flower before a seamless, neutral background? Hmmmm... And why don't we see more computer screens? Most people spend most of each day staring into a computer screen. For instance, if I were to take a snapshot of what I was looking at this very moment -
posted by Faze at 1:39 PM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

From the artist statement:

Ultimately, I'm not sure what this proves....maybe that it doesn't take an Infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of cameras to get a gallery show in New York.

I would love to see that show.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 1:48 PM on November 19, 2009

Seems to work as an effective way to generate random images, but the result is still fairly pedestrian and doesn't seem to capture "moments", random or otherwise. Most of these are reasonably well composed shots of banal subjects that don't feel related to each other. The narrative only exists if the viewer knows the method used for creating the images and even then it's only somewhat interesting as a (failed) experiment.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:03 PM on November 19, 2009

Is he splitting the revenue from the sale of prints with the photographers? Or is this along the lines of 'I am ze great Artiste! You are ze talentless drone whose job is to realize my mighty vision! Behold! I make ze art by simply willing ze art into existence! I am a god!'

He doesn't come across this way, but I'm not too enthralled by his splitting the world into 'the guy pressing the button' and 'the people holding the cameras'...none of whom are individually credited for the portfolio pictures, though I notice several chose to add some detail about themselves on their photo. One wonders why none of them have an email address, though.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:59 PM on November 19, 2009

At 10 dollars a print, he's really not making much profit, unless he's having them done at Kinkos.
posted by muddgirl at 3:23 PM on November 19, 2009

I would like to have the email of the woman in image 18. HUBBA HUBBA...YOWZA.
posted by UseyurBrain at 4:05 PM on November 19, 2009

I often find myself in galleries wondering if the artist didn't possess some sort of faulty camera whose shutter tripped randomly

I agree. I was at the Vancouver Art Gallery the other month, and they had an entire floor dedicated to a couple photographers. One of them had a series of photos of ordinary life in LA circa, I dunno, 1950ish.

Every. Single. Photo. looked like a tourist snapshot taken by my gramma. There was no art to the photographs. There was no rhyme or reason.

As a historical record of fashion and urbanity, it was fine. It was certainly not worthy of the name "art," though. Artless, yes; artful or arty, no.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:59 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, anon from Burbank is a cheater.

There was no rhyme or reason.
So you got the point!

Even though some of the photos are pretty interesting to me, the art isn't the photographs, it's, well... everything.
posted by cmoj at 5:31 PM on November 19, 2009

I admit I have a low opinion of art that shows no skill. If there's a meta-concept to that the Anthony Hernandez VAG installation, it flew right over my head. Regardless, the photographs themselves were of no artistic quality whatsoever, lacking both art and craft.

Meanwhile, the Dutch collection was astounding. I was absolutely blown away by the incredible detail found in some of the paintings: surely, the artist was using a magnifying glass, a two-hair paintbrush, and an obsessive-compulsive approach to the task.

Almost all of the artists had masterful understanding of light, of fabric, of tone, of texture: they depicted a realism that was not photographic, but that conveyed more than a photograph. They are like a photomanipulation: details enhanced, irrelevant detail blurred, a deliberate juxtaposition of interest points that lead the eye through the scene. They are in every respect the finest of traditional art, and a wonder to behold.

17th Century. Some Four Hundred Years Ago. Wow. So very sophisticated.

Many of the pieces contained details that conveyed a political, moral, religious, or folk message; there is a language to these paintings that to the uninformed eye is often opaque: bees signifying death, or an ordinary object held indicating a craving for wanton sex.

Anyhoo, all to say that the Dutch Masters was an entirely awesome exhibit, straight up. I think it's a travelling show, so make sure you see it.

Ummm... GYOBFW fersure, and de-rail. I'll STFU now.

If there was sophisticated mastery of the media in A.H.'s photos, I'd sure like to hear it put in dumb layman's terms. I failed to find any mastery of media, messaging, wit, new conceptualization, or other indication of artistry in his work. To me, it felt as if I'd been given a brownie camera and sent back to 1950 to wander the streets as a ten year-old, popping off photographs of this and that, some of it grubby, some of it clean, some of it this, some of it that. Unless that was all shot post-y2k, I fail to see anything amusing, surprising, awe-inspiring, inspirational, etcetera, etcetera in it. I Just. Don't. Get. It.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:09 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

But, hey, actually on the rail:

The problem with "Hive Photos" is that the artist did not restrict the media. If you don't set some limits, you get nothing. You get random noise. No meaning, no message, no mastery, no value. All you have is the raw, least-effort expression of an idea.

There are many ways she could have improved this. "Take a picture of the nearest red object" would at least have resulted in something that isn't entirely random noise. Include some basic instruction on how to use their cameras and how to compose an artistic shot, and ask for three shots from different angles for each red object, and maybe you'd now start having a chance of composing a worthy exhibit. Get the co-operation of high-quality photographers and you'd really be cooking.

But the raw, least-effort expression of the idea? It's not worth the clicks.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:22 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

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