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SFMOMA’s Rooftop Garden

I’m working on an actual post with, you know, words and stuff. But in the mean time, let me throw some photographs at your from last week, when I went to see the Avedon exhibit.

Camera Position (View Large)

Composition

I find it hard not to photograph photographers. I don’t know whether it’s some stupid “meta” thing or whether people just tend to look hilarious and endearing when they’re looking at the back of a camera and trying to figure out why their pictures are backlit.

I don’t mean to dismiss snapshots or point and shoots, mind you. The photographer here, for example, at the SFMOMA rooftop garden, was assiduous about exploring changes in camera position and angle, and had no qualms about kneeling on the ground to get a shot. Better a P&S and a sense of perspective than a pricey camera and no notion of composition…

By the way, do click through and look at the large images. In fact, that applies to all of these — I’ve been finding, as I shoot more street photography, that I’m using broader compositions, including more context, and as a result I’m getting photographs which don’t really lend themselves to being viewed as flickr medium images the way my close-up work and bird photography usually do. : )

The rooftop garden is a nice place to photograph, although quite small. A lot of people take pictures there, I think perhaps because they’re getting it out of their system, after spending time in the exhibits were photography is often forbidden. It’s interesting to see the range of reactions people have to art generally, and to the art that’s currently in the rooftop garden in particular — it’s sculpture there, and modern sculpture tends to be more inscrutable than other art forms, I think.

Some folks seem to have a genuine aesthetic appreciation for the stuff, either naive (simple joy in the thing itself) or informed (intellectual pleasure based on an understanding of the work’s place in the history of art). For the record, I have neither for most of them…

Woman behind glass

There are other folks who are manifestly trying to pretend that they understand or care about what they’re seeing, and others still who are perfectly up front about not caring, having been dragged there by their parents or their kids or their significant others. I sympathize with them. There are folks — more admirable, I admit — who greet art with a mixture of curiosity and indignation, and who very much want an explanation for what they are being asked to look at.

Explain this to me

I can’t say for certainty into which category this gentleman falls, but I suspect it is the last, and probably the best, category. Me, I fall into the category who is more likely to dismiss the art and scrutinize the viewers, which makes me the douchebag in this tableau.

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