Sunday, October 9, 2011

Art Event: Chris Saah Talk

     I was not sure what to expect when I went to Professor Saah's artist lecture. I knew going into the talk that he was a photographer, but I had no idea as to his choice of subject or technique or really anything about him as an artist. With no knowledge about him, I thought it was interesting how he discussed in detail his film influences (particular films, directors, etc), particularly since I am coming from not using/liking film as an artistic medium.
     One major discussion point that I found really fascinating was Saah's discussion about his interest in dealing with light and color in relation to photography. I thought that it was interesting in how Saah talked about using color and lighting to help develop the spaces in his photographs, particularly the images from LA, as "psychological enclosures." I also thought it was really awesome for Saah to show us how these images were mounted and presented in a gallery setting: each image was mounted separately on plexiglass and set up in the gallery to feel like stills from movies in a movie theater. This part of the discussion I thought added an element that I don't always hear about in these artist lectures.
     However, there was one part of the lecture that I did not find as inspiring. The problem I had was when Saah was showing us the last group of photographs he was working on (from an Untitled series), in which he let the audience know that the last images we had seen were composite photographs; in other words, the photographs had been created through combining elements from several different images. At first when I was looking at these last images I thought that they were extremely beautiful and well composed/thought out, but when I heard that they were essentially photo-collages, I found that that took a lot of weight out from the works. Maybe I just feel that a photograph should be more exact in it's representation of a subject, but then again Saah's images were very truthful depictions of certain places. I guess I just wish that the artist had left a little mystery as to the origins of the works.

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