Cinematography in photography: Jeff Wall
Published: Friday, October 5, 2007 - 11:20pm
An artist who doesn't make any art for seven years seems a little eccentric to me.
Actually, scratch that thought.
An artist who doesn't make any art for seven years is incredibly intriguing to me.
Jeff Wall is that artist, and it isn't just his 1970-to-1977 break from photography that intrigues me, but practically everything that man has done with his work. If photography is a room and Wall has just entered, he has pulled all the clothing out of the drawers and strewn it about, upturning tables and tearing pillows open (maybe quite literally … check out this Sonic Youth album cover he did).
I don't mean that his photographs are chaotic, but that Wall has always expanded his work outside of traditional methods. This revolution in photography could be summarized as cinematography in photography. Sure, Wall takes photos; he just does it with a cast, crew members, sets, and digital post production.
This is completely different from most modern photography, which is all about candid shots and people in action. Of course, that is outside of fashion photography. What is perfect about Wall's photographs is that he can capture that same feeling of candid while still knowing exactly what he is going to capture.
To wrap it up, I'll point out a few of my favorite Jeff Wall pieces, all of which you can see at this page that MoMA made for an exhibition of his: "Mimic," "An Octopus and Some Beans," "A Sudden Gust of Wind," and "Milk."