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The Cruel Radiance of the Obvious

The Cruel Radiance of the Obvious essay .................... by Tom Rankin Photography in its finest and most decisive moments is about those tired or ignored or unseen parts of our lives, the mundane and worn paths that sit before us so firmly that we cease to notice. Tenant farmer, Alabama, 1936, photographed by Dorothea Lange, courtesy of the Collections of the Library of Congress. am at war with the obvious," wrote William Eggleston as he reflected on his own photography in a brief afterword to his book The Democratic Forest.1 Like other seemingly simple, terse dictums, one could initially find Eggleston's words clever but all too evasive. I increasingly come back to his words, however-- or, rather, the words come back to me--and see them as a concise and profound summation of the stance of the visionary photographer, as a definition of the role of the truest of artists. Photography in its finest and most decisive moments is about those tired or ignored or unseen parts of our lives, the mundane and worn paths that sit before us so firmly that we cease to notice. It is, we might say, about rebuilding our sight in the face of blindness, of recovering our collective vision. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

The Cruel Radiance of the Obvious

Southern Cultures , Volume 17 (2) – May 27, 2011

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
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Copyright © University of North Carolina Press
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1534-1488
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Abstract

essay .................... by Tom Rankin Photography in its finest and most decisive moments is about those tired or ignored or unseen parts of our lives, the mundane and worn paths that sit before us so firmly that we cease to notice. Tenant farmer, Alabama, 1936, photographed by Dorothea Lange, courtesy of the Collections of the Library of Congress. am at war with the obvious," wrote William Eggleston as he reflected on his own photography in a brief afterword to his book The Democratic Forest.1 Like other seemingly simple, terse dictums, one could initially find Eggleston's words clever but all too evasive. I increasingly come back to his words, however-- or, rather, the words come back to me--and see them as a concise and profound summation of the stance of the visionary photographer, as a definition of the role of the truest of artists. Photography in its finest and most decisive moments is about those tired or ignored or unseen parts of our lives, the mundane and worn paths that sit before us so firmly that we cease to notice. It is, we might say, about rebuilding our sight in the face of blindness, of recovering our collective vision.

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 27, 2011

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