Friday, 25 February 2011

Thomas Kellner

Eiffel Tower 1997 

The photographer Thomas Kellner produces work that represents his subjects in fragments like the cubists.  Kellner discusses his approach to panoramas in an article for Art in America (1999). He began his panoramas in 1997: “I had been thinking about doing a panorama of the country's entire border for many years, but couldn't figure out how to do it. Finally I came up with a solution: split it up into single situations. I fabricated special cameras that would photograph with eleven pinholes on one negative” (Kellner, 2003 p. 32). 

He later visited Paris and “decided to photograph the Eiffel tower”, that emblem of modernity. It was quite an appropriate choice of subject since he admired and had studied the work of Delaunay. Although at time when Kellner wrote his article in 2003, he was not using digital technologies, there is something in his process that corresponds to the nature of project 3. In fact his prints are not large prints at all, but contact prints. He makes the observation that “the bigger the image gets (that is the more film I use), the more the building itself disappears; the more you begin to see the picture itself rather than a image of something” (2003).

 Washington D.C. The White House (2004)

Houston Texas, Oil Refinery 2006 

He ends his article with this: I have gone on to photograph other icons of our culture that we all know well. A year after New York's World Trade Center was attacked; I am still thinking about the parallels that my pictures have with that tragedy.  These buildings, like the Twin Towers, have become metaphors for a culture in fragments (Kellner, 2003). The “culture in fragments” is the essence of the visual material that is to be produced for project 3. 

Kellner, T. “All to Pieces: Fragmented Monuments” Aperture no. 170 (Spring 2003) p. 32-7

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