Jesse Chehak – Look at this Photo


Taking an idea from Justin James Reed and Amy Stein, I have started a new category to spotlight an individual photograph that I can’t stop looking at. This weeks image belongs to Jesse Chehak.

  1. stewart said:

    Hi Kevin,
    Beautiful picture. Pretty Stunning. Did you find this image online or see it person? Since the colors in this picture seems so important it seems like judging it online is a different experience / medium from a print. I wonder how the image translates from one to another, what size it would be shown? or is it made for the web? at this size? it seems like the internet and blog has become another form of a victorian picture viewer. this image, at this size on this blog IS the picture. the experience. ??

  2. Kevin said:

    I agree with you Stewart, the internet and the blog have become a current form of the victorian picture viewer. The print experience is a different experience all together. Maybe we can compare it to music. A person can listen to their favorite musician through some small portable device or they can attend the live show. Same tunes with entirely different experiences. Sometimes I prefer my small-portable experience.

  3. stewart said:

    i agree. i like the small portable experience as well. its accesible. i like the speed of which we can look at images but I question the actual experience. we have had discussions like this before. i.e. having talking with people about say a Jeff Wall without them having seen one in person. In this case Jesse Chehak’s photograph the color is so important. its a stunning picture. It looks like an American Landscape painting from the 1800’s. something you would find in the Met.

    So for me, in one way it all relates to ideas and questions of surface. It reminds me of Alec Soth’s recent post mentioning Tim Davis photographs of the deterioration of the surface of paintings. it strikes me as a curious experience, and lends to its populist nature how as photographer/artists there isn’t much of a debate of how the images exist online and how they effect the experience. we want people to see our work, create websites etc and send it out into the world. but in most cases i think the work suffers because of it. painters, sculptures, and video artists usually don’t have websites or post their work online. i wonder if bill viola every thought of doing a quicktime and put it on youtube?? 🙂

    dont get me wrong. its all very interesting, authorative, populist, informative and enjoyable but at the same time slightly cursorary. guess im an old fud questioning the effects of new technology. the immediacy of the experience is great right? or is it? should i just accept that this is the work and my experience of it?

  4. Tim said:

    Does the work really suffer when you view it online? I mean, did the work suffer 20 years ago when you viewed it in a book or a magazine because you couldn’t see it in a museum? I think the problem you may have is that its more accessible now, lessening the work somehow. i don’t love everything about viewing a piece online but I am thankful that I am able to do it. I believe that anyone who is going to look at, critic, and judge a piece of art that is available online, understands that their viewing a piece of work online. We once talked about Taryn Simons’ website and we both agreed it was smart: It doesn’t have any images on it, just a link to the MOMA site, which shows only a very limited number of images. I for one am a fan of less-is-more. I used to think all my work needed to be on my site, archives and all, not anymore. I have to disagree with you that the work suffers because its online. But i will say that the work that is not online becomes even more intriguing. Of course, you would have to first know about this work and then you would have to know that it was not available for online viewing and then you can be intrigued – thats the point i guess.

  5. stewart said:

    yes twenty years ago and beyond, as well as today, photographs offer a totally different experience from magzine to book to print and now web. each offers its own idea of image. photographs have always had the criticism of being too quick. too cursorary. compared to painting, photography wan’t really taking the time to look. it happend in 1/250 of a second. the web has sped up the entire looking process. and i want to acknowledge this “box” or “new white cube” that presents the image. its not a question of accessibilty and value but more a question of intent. its something, as i get more and more involved with blogging and my own site, i struggle with. the work is supposed to be reference for the real thing but for most it becomes the real thing.

  6. Kevin said:

    I personally believe that it’s all a reference to the real thing, but I do understand what you are saying Stewart. It’s my guess that you imagine your work in the print form, as do I. Its funny that you brought up Jeff Wall. Viewing photographs online isn’t much different from viewing a Jeff Wall photograph, except for the obvious difference in size. The monitor is a distant cousin of the light box.

    So why do you question the experience of online viewing? It sounds to me that you don’t mind people viewing your work online but you don’t wish it to be their first experience of the image. You consider the online image a reference. This is the experience that you question. Am I right? I believe this to be very interesting. Once we experience something we lose something in the experience. We can never see that image again for the first time. The feelings and the sense of surprise will never hit us the way it did in that moment. Your wish is for the viewer to have this experience in the print form. This is the intended experience of your work. Size, color, frame all in your control. No worries about monitor calibration and screen size. The viewer can then refer to the image online. This will be their snap shot of the experience, a souvenir for their scrapbook.

    I have no idea if you actually agree with any of this Stewart, but I can say that I do. I haven’t given it much thought until now, and now I will have to give it more thought!

  7. stewart said:

    good point about Wall. but Wall used the light box as a form commenting on and drawing from advertising, initially. besides both having similar physical constructs of a light box the computer is a poplular commercial and personal machine. with the internet it has become the very billboard advertising Wall was commenting on. he was making a critque. we are simply using it to display and discuss work.

    plus most are using the computer to get work “out there”, or a “marketing” tool. again these are buisness things, advertising things. carreer things. things Wall was trying to comment on by the form of the object combined with an image.

    which brings me back to this itch i have. but i feel there is a sense, that follows a certain form of photography/art that a can of worms has opened, and not a bad thing if you are going fishing, but nonetheless still opened that is very…..cavalier. for me its on many levels in the idea of where an image exists, an idea of surface, object and form and where they meet.

    Wall most definetly takes his time in making a single image. and makes only one. its not a cavalier process. and Im not trying to be an elitist here saying the value of the online experience of an image is less than a print object in person. just as valuable dependant upon the individual. but at some point the expereince, context and intent has to be justified. its like if i somehow got a slideshow onto the television, on NBC. that might be something to talk about. like why did he do that?? that was weird. whats the point of putting photographs on TV? besides a lot of people being able to see it, you would question the intent.

    So yes, i agree the experience of the work maybe shouldn’t be given up so easily. Be more considered. If its just all data flow about there isn’t much room to breath.

  8. stewart said:

    Either way i think the Jesse Chehak photo is pretty amazing. its difficult not to want to keep looking at it! im away for a couple weeks, leaving in a couple hour, so i wont be chiming in much but keep the great posts coming!

  9. Tim said:

    I’m currently reading Al Gore’s new book, The Assault on Reason. Amongst other things, he kinda touches on this subject.

    “When a new technology emerges as the primary medium for the sharing of information – like the printing press in the fifteenth century or television in the twentieth century – those who adapt to the new technology have to literally change the way they process information. As a result, their brains may actually undergo subtle change. When millions of people experience these same changes simultaneously in the course of a few decades, their interactions with one another begin to take new forms”

    Maybe your brain is undergoing that subtle change, Stewart. Maybe your brain don’t like.

  10. stewart said:

    uggh…no, my brain doesn’t “don’t like”. the exact opposite. i very much “like” but it isn’t matter of liking or disliking. i just think its very interesting what might be the implications, not all practical, it has to photography and art.
    i like thinking about it for the fun of it but esp talking about “surface, materiality and tactilty”..which i guess are popular subjects and concerns… judging by Soth’s blog.

    Which is really where i got started on this. Soth’s Blog about tacility of the photograph as an image /object “in person” and then seeing Kevin’s post about the Chehak photograph made me think about the experience i was having, the idea of taciltiy and separation, through the little plastic box…now im gonna go try to make friends at myspace, after i look at some porn and order my groceries.

    …howdy from PGH….

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