22 October 2009

Best Shots (90) ~ Jim Goldberg

(117) Jim Goldberg ~ Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2008
(21 October 2009).

I normally don't comment on these entries, other than to say that I think The Guardian does a great service by running the series. There, I've said it again. This time, though, I think it is important to note something the photographer says - about framing.
"I took this picture last year, before Christmas, in a refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I was finishing up a six-year project on immigrants, refugees and trafficked people. This man is sitting on a rock overlooking the camp. To his right you can see around 50 huts; if you looked in the direction he is looking, you would see the other 90,000 people living there."
This is important because what we get here, in this image, is not truth, certainly not 'the whole truth and nuthin' but the truth.' We are offered a sliver of the reality that was laid out before Goldberg. I am not criticizing him. I just get tired of hearing the refrain that photography somehow provides 'evidence.' It is, as I've suggested in recent posts, a way to communicate.



Blogger mbuitron said...

I went to the opening of New Topographics at LACMA last night and it seemed obvious from the images that the camera was being used as a framing device. Even the new work by the Center for Land Use Interpretation cropped out the horizon, which underlined the fact that information was being left out.

Having Goldberg pick one shot for the Gardian is probably going to tip the balance from documentation to some aesthetic criteria. I guess a single image can only amount to a sliver of evidence--or as Goldberg states, a single jigsaw puzzle piece.

22 October, 2009 16:07  

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