IC - 12 'I don't make sets' / by Chris Chucas

I don’t make sets, I wanna be a bit of a sticky about this vocabulary  for a reason photography is still being id d as an art form i don't believe we really do know it as well as we know painting,… we’ve had painting for a thousand years and its part of our tradition.  


Jeff Wall we are all actors youtube

 Interestingly in this hunter farmer analogy. Intertextual way we view photographs based on other media ( mostly cinema) . Charlotte Cotton offers a very useful unpacking of what he means, that the farmer, the hunter, tracks down and captures their subject matter as prey, whilst the farmer cultivates, constructs, and tends to his images over time. 

‘Postmodern photographic work in particular exploits and challenges both the objective and the creative’ - (Hutcheon.2003, p117)

My working practices are to primarily be as equal as possible to the subject, there are times where I might ask to move to a different place if the light is better when taking a portrait but in general my main concern is not of the final quality of the image but to not exploit anyone and to convey what i believe to be true. Although I’ve already mentioned that I don’t believe in photographs being completely truthful I feel that as the artist we have a responsibility to protect our subjects.

 "They wouldn’t be your friend if it wasn’t worth it, if you didn’t have something they could take" - Chris Chucas

"They wouldn’t be your friend if it wasn’t worth it, if you didn’t have something they could take" - Chris Chucas

When placing myself within the hunter or gather analogy I don’t think I completely belong to one category. Perhaps part of each. When we talk about being a hunter or gather (in reference to raising or hunting animals) would it be a possibility to be an animal oneself. That analogy sits better with me describing my own practice. I try and be as democratic as possible with my approach and place myself within the work to a certain degree. The argument could be made that if the photograph cannot be objective and all the flaws that go along with it then is a hunter completely so? I would argue that even a hunter is part farmer, with the conscious and unconscious decision leading up to the point of the image being taken and what's being framed, whats excluded and what’s not. Surely it’s a big hitch pitch of everything in every circumstance ?

‘The term ‘uncanny’ refers to everything that was intended to remain secret, hidden away, and has come into the open’  - (Freud, 1919 p.132)
Whatever the semantic context of the text, its condition as a signifying practice presupposes the existence of other discourses. Every text is, from the outset, under the jurisdiction of other discourses which impose a universe on it’ -- (Kisteva in Culler, 2001, p.105)

I agree with Kisteva in with this in what I understand is her explaining that our culture and society and exposer to various media ( or texts) can inform how we reread other media ( texts). For example Wall and Crewdson have been described as having a cinematic feel to them. I interpret this as people finding similarities in the stills of these artists and Hollywood movies.

 Jeffery Crewds

Jeffery Crewds

Fight Club directed by David Fincher Director of Photography- Jeff Cronenweth

There’s definite lighting choices and comparisons that are very popular choices in cinema. To me I think of it like Crewdsens work is like a book and you need to wear glasses to read it, those glasses are our indoctrination to cinema. By experiencing cinema and its place in our world you have the instructions almost to ascribe meaning to his images.  

I’ve been fascinated by the devices that make crewdsen’s work so captivating. The way we read the images with an intertextual lens of cinema makes us appreciate every tiny detail in it, especially when it’s frozen in time as opposed to running into the hundreds of other frames that motion films do. I’m not to familiar with his construction of them but I imagine a large set and crew is involved. The part of his work that I love is the power given to the viewer. Its that ambiguity that empowers the viewer to ascribe their own meaning to the image. Its something I explored earlier years with photography but I wanted to explore how I could use this ambuigty and empower the viewer with their own multiple decoding of the image. 



 For me the overall ambiguity of the narrative in my work is less of a conscious nod toward the viewer and more of an inherent trait of how it exists in my mind. I experience the pictures as one singular and fixed moment in time both in my imagination and in the picture itself. So it is inescapable that the pictures would be surrounded on all sides by ambiguity. There is no before, no after; and I offer no motivation or resolution.- (Crewdson, fstoppers.com Oct 11 2014, https://fstoppers.com/fine-art/creating-photographic-art-exclusive-interview-gregory-crewdson-40498)

the accumulation and generation of meaning across texts, with all meanings depend on other meanings. The self-conscious citation of one text within another as an expression of enlarged cultural self-consciousness’

( Barker 2008 p482)

There are artists that use this inter contextual relationship as a big part of their practice and one artists that we looked at was Joan Fontcuberta, he creates fictional work but photograph the in a way that utilises conventions of science and natural history photography. On top of this he also displays the work in arenas that have credibility within the science and natural history world which I feel commentary on the audience and their viewing of the work. By placing somewhere where you wouldn’t expect created or fictional work as it certainly more believable people questioning less, what does that say about our society. Maybe we are to gullible to quick to believe what we shown. This



‘I photograph to find out what something will look like photographic’

(winogrand in Badger, 1985, p18