By Geoff Dyer
Alive with perception, satisfaction and Dyer's attribute irreverence, this ebook bargains a advisor during the maze of recent tradition. throughout ten years worthy of essays, 'Working the Room' spans the images of Martin Parr to the work of Turner, and the writing of Scott-Fitzgerald to the feedback of Susan Sontag.
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Additional info for Working the Room 1999-2010
In this sense, it could be said, he is a reporter rather than an artist. As well as being the source of a peculiar kind of information about the world and its ways, his pictures also offer gory solace – in the form of knowledge. Maybe this is one of the reasons the crowds gaze at the photographer: in the hope that he can provide an answer as to why such terrible things happen. Within the limits of his chosen medium, Metinides does his best to oblige. In this sense, he is a storyteller. His stories often involve a bus.
As a result the aura was ‘banished from the picture with the rout of darkness through faster and faster lenses’. With Avedon – ‘that wonderful, terrible mirror’, as Cocteau called him – the wheel came full circle. Absolute whiteness took the place of the darkness against which the light had struggled to emerge. And in this renewed and reversed congruence of subject and technique, a new aura and order emerged, one based on the reciprocity of fame. A famous photographer takes pictures of famous people (people whose aura has seeped into their cravats – or shirts, or dresses – and whose aura, in the kind of inversion beloved by the Frankfurt school, is often the product of the cravats – or shirts, or dresses – which they have been paid to model and which he has been paid to photograph).
H. Auden on St. Mark’s Place, New York, in the middle of a snowstorm. A few passers-by and buildings are visible to the left of the frame but the blizzard is in the process of freezing Auden in the midst of what, in the US, is termed ‘a white-out’. Avedon had by then already patented his signature approach to portraiture, so it is tempting to see this picture as a God-given endorsement of his habit of isolating people against a sheer expanse of white, as evidence that his famously severe technique is less a denial of naturalism than its apotheosis.