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PHOTOGRAPHS
Welling, James
U.S. (1951 - )
Crescendo
1980
Gelatin silver print
5 x 4 in. (12.7 x 10.2 cm) image size; 7 x 6 3/8 in. (17.8 x 16.2 cm) sheet size
Joseph and Elaine Monsen Photography Collection, gift of Joseph and Elaine Monsen and The Boeing Company
FA 97.187
Keywords: Abstract

Like other post-modernist photographers, James Welling makes pictures that pose questions about the way images mediate our relationship with the world. The subject of this picture begs to be identified. Is it the sea or sky? Or is it an aerial view of some unusual topography? In fact, it is a piece of crumpled aluminum foil photographed in raking light. The viewer with more knowledge of photographic history may recognize a deliberate reference to Alfred Stieglitz's Equivalents, early modernist pictures of clouds intended to inspire responses far less intellectual and critical than those prompted by Welling's pictures. Ultimately, Welling’s pictures encourage critical viewing of photographic images, which in this culture are largely taken for granted as evidentiary or true. -- Label copy for The Photographic Impulse: A Critical History of Photography, The Joseph and Elaine Monsen Collection, Cincinnati Art Museum, October 12, 2001 to January 6, 2002.

The subject of this picture begs to be identified. Is it the sea or sky? Or is it an aerial view of some unusual topography? In fact, it is a piece of crumpled aluminum foil photographed in raking light. Welling’s pictures encourage critical viewing of photographic images, a medium of representation taken for granted as evidentiary or true. -- Label copy for The Photographic Impulse: Selections from the Joseph and Elaine Monsen Photography Collection, July 12 to November 10, 2002.

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