By Geoff Dyer
Alive with perception, wit and Dyer's attribute irreverence, this ebook bargains a consultant round the cultural maze, mapping a direction in the course of the worlds of literature, paintings, images and song. in addition to exploring what it truly is that makes nice paintings nice, operating the Room ventures into extra own territory with wide autobiographical items - 'On Being an purely Child', 'Sacked' and 'Reader's Block', between others gemstones. Dyer's breadth of imaginative and prescient and generosity of spirit mix to shape a handbook for methods of being in - and seeing - the realm at the present time
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Additional info for Working the Room: Essays and Reviews, 1999-2010
Would this photograph be able to make the grade as a work of art if it had not been pumped up with the growth hormones of the artist’s huge aspirations and ambitions? The paradox is that some of the most artistically valuable contemporary photographs are content with being photographs, are not under the same compulsion to pass themselves off – or pimp themselves out – as art. The simple truth is that the best exponents of the art of contemporary photography continue to produce work that fits broadly within the tradition of what Evans termed ‘documentary style’.
And that, I think, is why Lartigue became a model for so many fashion photographers. The most effective form of subliminal seduction – the best way to sell the dresses or hats featured in photos – is to make men fall in love with the woman wearing them, and photographers are all the time trying to emulate or simulate that feeling. With Lartigue, though, it’s for real, and the accessories on offer are what? A daft wig, some zany sunglasses and a hardback of The Discovery of India! That’s the charm of the picture, its magic.
As such she is a role model for the later masters – mistresses, rather – of discreet reportage such as Joan Didion and Janet Malcolm. Most obviously, though, she can be seen as Orkin’s own deputy. Orkin stays in the background, unseen, but as Dorothea Lange, one of the pre-eminent documentary photographers of the 1930s, had recommended, she includes her own representative in the picture: ‘a figure who is part of it all, though only watching and watching’. What makes this picture so utterly contemporary, however, is not the woman’s presence but her posture.