Here is an interview with Uta Barth http://www.jca-online.com/barth.html.
Through http://jmcolberg.com/weblog/ or Conscientious, I found a couple more inspiring blur photographers
http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/idris_khan.htm sometimes achieves his effects by a complex layering of images,
some from other photographers. This one uses Edward Muybridge's images, an early
photographer, creating a mysterious movement and grace to lovely images that each
captured one moment. The layering to me is not copying, nor derivative, because,
it finds new meaning and reinvigorates historic work. The strangeness of the layering effect is difficult to pin point, and this seems to me to be the case with many blurred images.
When they work, a blurred image is recognizable and/or moving. Often the images play with ideas about time, animation, stillness vs. movement,
and the nature of perceived reality. Something about the lack of clarity speaks to these themes more efficiently
than a "normal" photograph. An in focus photograph sends a message more clearly, perhaps comparable to an essay
or short story, while a blurred photograph communicate more like an oblique form of poetry, perhaps like a koan
or modernist verse, or haiku. Because the line between what works and what is just a mess of colors is so slim,
I find the forms of blur photography like Khan's more comparable to a verse form subject to strict
In addition, traditional artist's training in the past always including rigorous copying of major works. This difficult excercise
requires patience, an open mind, and allows the emerging artist to better understand
the techniques and obstacles as well as the solutions that defined their predecessors.
I find the Khan's results compelling and mysterious. See comments here http://westendarttoronto.blogspot.com/
Also Jason Salavon, below, who burs some of his images to the point that one just has to take
his word that the subject was, indeed, houses for sale in Orange County. On the other hand, why any abstract
poses the same problem for the viewer--the artist can name the blur or smear or spatter of paint anything
he or she wants, and we as audience, have to take their word for it. Why should photography be any different?
The debate about the nature of this media and its proper role and whether or not the camera is just one among
the artist's array of media, piled in with their brushes, pens, glue, etc. is too large a debate to take on here.
Nevertheless, personally, in an image like Salavon's, I am willing to take his word for it, and enjoy the piece for its intrinsic beauty, or lack
thereof. I have some images similarly unidentifiable, but which I like anyway. So these questions go to the heart of my
own questions about "allowable" and "disallowed" forms of photography. I lacked the courage to post those, figuring they were
indeed, disallowed. Just goes to show the lesson that fear or permission shouldn't rule personal artistic decisions--to create any type
of effective art, the fear factor must go.
This is "121 Homes for Sale" Orange County. More can be seen here:
http://salavon.com/HomesforSale/HomesforSale.shtml. Conscientious finds these problematic, since there is no subject at all, and one
just has to take Salavon's word that there are homes for sale here at all. This is true, and I think I prefer my blurs with a little more subject, and yet sometimes
an image, like any abstract, is unexpectedly moving. This image by Idris Khan, twisted my gut, for no know reason, and I have no idea what the heck it is.
See it here: http://www.victoria-miro.com/artists/_14/ along with other pieces of his work.
Here are a couple of the least penetrable of my blurs. Here I am going to actually say, I will find the courage
to say.....uh I like them. Umm I LIKE THEM. So there.
Like Grasses in the Field
Cattails at Wagon Mound