Also at the Getty

While Chris Killip was the best thing I saw at the Getty there were a few other cool photography exhibitions as well. I don’t have much to say about them but they’re both totally worth mentioning still.

David Hockney

Pearblossom Hwy., 11 - 18th April 1986, #2; David Hockney
Pearblossom Hwy., 11 – 18th April 1986, #2; David Hockney

There was a small, wonderful room of David Hockney Joiners. I’ve loved these for a long time but they’re also things I’ve only ever seen online. As is often the case with art they’re much much much more impressive in person. His earlier ones of just the Polaroid grid are fun en0ugh but as he becomes more virtuosic in his technique and starts layering and zooming with the 4×6 prints they become amazing.

It’s tempting to say they’re paintings or collage rather than photography since they use the photos almost as brush strokes. But they also are profoundly about looking and seeing and how, when we scan a scene, we notice specific details. This is something that any photographer is deeply aware of and looking at a Hockney Joiner feels very similar to the way I asses a scene before taking a photo.

Also, these are huge. They have to be since they’re composed of hundreds of  4×6 prints. But even though I knew this I wasn’t prepared for how big they actually were in person.

Thomas Annan

Close, No. 37 High Street, negative 1868-71; print 1871, Thomas Annan
Close, No. 37 High Street, negative 1868-71; print 1871, Thomas Annan

Right next to the Killip show was a large show of Thomas Annan. It’s a great survey of a photographer about whom I knew nothing. If I were more familiar with Glasgow I suspect I would really really have liked this. It’s a very interesting contrast with Killip’s photos of industrial decline since so much of Annan’s work is about celebrating and demonstrating the rise of industry.

I also enjoy the range of work. We have photographs of tenements and their residents, fancy new buildings, construction projects, and industrial machines. It’s an good reminder that all of these disparate subjects can indeed fit together as a cohesive body of work.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at njwv.wordpress.com, and the web at vossbrink.net

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