I am the photographer O Zhang August 24, 2007 11:25 AM   Subscribe

The photographer of the "white men with chinese daughters" thread has joined the conversation.
posted by empath to MetaFilter-Related at 11:25 AM (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Statement or not, the hands on the butts and crotches is going to make eyebrows raise.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:29 AM on August 24, 2007


Made something else raise too.
posted by ND¢ at 11:41 AM on August 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


If you know what I'm saying.
posted by ND¢ at 11:41 AM on August 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


My penis
posted by ND¢ at 11:41 AM on August 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


1) somehow I knew they would turn up in thread, if MEFi has taught me nothing else it is to be careful of your words as whom you are criticizing may just pop up unexpectedly. Not saying one shouldn't be critical, but being so in a less than assholish way goes a long way.
2) parental hands in those areas, in of itself, is not really a big issue
posted by edgeways at 11:44 AM on August 24, 2007


I thought you were going to go with "the bar on discussion of the intents and motivations of the photographer, now that they're present and able to respond in-thread to further input from mefites."

I hate always being wrong.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:44 AM on August 24, 2007


I'm not enthused that now this person gets to be skewered. I'm pretty into analysis of art aside from the determinism of authorship. Oh well. The blue beast must be appeased. Sometimes I feel like we're these guys.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:44 AM on August 24, 2007


Appropriate use of -tag
posted by AwkwardPause at 11:46 AM on August 24, 2007


Sigh. Appropriate use of [small]-tag (directed at ND¢)

Ah, forget it...
posted by AwkwardPause at 11:48 AM on August 24, 2007


A good joke mangled, but good nonetheless, AwkwardPause.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:03 PM on August 24, 2007


Sometimes I feel like we're these guys.

God, I love that movie. Reminds me I haven't actually seen the whole thing in a while.
posted by loquacious at 12:09 PM on August 24, 2007


Got a big TV? I've got a DVD and an assortment of drugs...

I just realized: I should suggest the Guerilla Drive-In show it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:16 PM on August 24, 2007


I could actually get a projector, a large sound system, a generator and maybe even a screen or scrim. Or at least a location with a big wall. (I'm also probably 1 degree of sep. from the GDI folks)

I'm not sure if I could get enough people to hold still long enough to watch it, though - at least, in regards to justifying setting up a large rig for a movie night. I think most of my comrades have seen it at least once or twice.

That would be cool, though.
posted by loquacious at 12:20 PM on August 24, 2007


Why has no one in that thread yet said "So, that's how it is in their family" a la Ed Rooney?
posted by sneakin at 12:44 PM on August 24, 2007


If I click on the "joined the conversation" link, it crashes Firefox. Just me?
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:48 PM on August 24, 2007


I've seen a Kecak perfomance in Bali. It was mostly just for the tourists, but it did have some energy to it. It's an invention of a Westerner, you know.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:04 PM on August 24, 2007


....if MEFi has taught me nothing else it is to be careful of your words as whom you are criticizing may just pop up unexpectedly.

Yep. I learned that lesson the hard way... when the amusement park mime that terrorized my childhood actually ended up sending me an e-mail basically saying you're welcome. And thanking me for the hits to his web site.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:51 PM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd still like to know what the fathers she photographed think of the final group of pictures.
posted by mediareport at 8:03 PM on August 24, 2007


mediareport: do you feel that way about all documentary subjects?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:35 AM on August 25, 2007


Not speaking for mediareport, but I always feel that way whenever I watch a documentary with people that I feel are presented in an unfairly negative light. I'm not sure what your point is.
posted by zixyer at 2:37 AM on August 25, 2007


My point (and now that it's Saturday I can sit still long enough to make it... I hope my linking of non-layperson's terms isn't seen as hoity-toity) is that documentary or photography subjects are necessarily cloaked in a mantle of realism, which has been decided for them by the context created by our culture at large for the resulting work (our expectations of portraiture, in this case) than by any maneuvering within the diegesis by the author or other circumstance. Therefore, subjects are always are presented in an "unfair" light, because representation is always slanderous, and we can never be seen as we "are"; and the realism we seek to use to judge by is an illusion. One way of understanding this idea is "the photographic principle of surrealism," which asserts that photography inherently embodies two temporal realities at once. A value judgment of whether the effect of a subject's representation in media is negative or not is totally subjective, and determined more, as I said above, by our cultural perspectives, than by choices of mise-en-scene. There are linguistic elements to photography, as explained by DaShiv, but, like all forms of language, these are created culturally, are subject to mutation and dialectification and are not viable as a lasting measure of content. ...My point is that positivism is unworkable as a tool for art criticism.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:38 PM on August 25, 2007


Ambrosia Voyeur writes "Therefore, subjects are always are presented in an 'unfair' light, because representation is always slanderous"

Always inaccurate, I can buy, but always slanderous? If a person is presented as saintlike and perfect, that's inaccurate, but it's pretty much the definitive opposite of slander. And representation can include self-representation (self-portraiture, etc.), and I think it's technically impossible to slander oneself (though I'm not sure about that).
posted by Bugbread at 4:08 PM on August 25, 2007


bugbread: I definitely overstated that, just trying to be more sympathetic to the point of view recurring throughout this thread, that the photographer was malfeasant. I do think "inaccuracy" is maybe a weaker description of this phenomnenon than "misrepresentation," (which I would argue is yin to the yang of "representation" itself) which is again weaker than "slander." I just think we need to recognize and acknowledge that spectrum as one metric of the judgmentality of realism, and wherever you decide to come down on it with regard to a piece is, as I said, subjective.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:21 PM on August 25, 2007


mediareport: do you feel that way about all documentary subjects?

Yes, of course, very often. One of my majors in college was anthropology; the opinion of the subject of a presentation about that presentation is almost always a fascinating - not to mention important - piece of the story. Particularly when the presentation is as heavily massaged as O Zhang's.
posted by mediareport at 7:29 PM on August 25, 2007


Hmm, maybe we're unknowingly in agreement, then. I approach all documentary/photography as ethnography, though I don't think I give more weight to the subjects' exceptionally subjective opinions of their own portrayal or the overall significance and meaning of a piece than to anyone else's. A wonderful film that comes to mind is The Good Woman of Bangkok. (And Nanook of the North, actually.) To me, it's mostly ethical questions that are to be explored here.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:06 PM on August 25, 2007


To me, it's mostly ethical questions that are to be explored here.

We don't have to prioritize the subjects' reaction above all others to see that some information about what the fathers think about their portrayal in that photo set would be very useful in exploring those "mostly ethical" questions. If you don't have any objection to that, then we probably are in agreement.
posted by mediareport at 12:10 AM on August 26, 2007


No, I don't, but I'm also not preoccupied with the ethics of all incendiary art, I remain more intrigued by the information we can mine from its effect.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:48 AM on August 26, 2007


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