Stevi Sayler Photography » Eugene, Oregon Wedding and Portrait Photographer

Conceptual Project – Above Eugene

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“In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art’ Sol Lewitt 1967
In my series of work as well as in the readings, the fundamentals of conceptual art have been studied and practiced in order to gain a better understanding of the art form and it’s history in photography. With conceptual art, the idea behind the project is the most important aspect it’s sole reason is to accurately display the idea. The artist will decide what their concept is and from there they will decide what the best way to document and display that concept. For many projects including my own, photography is a perfect way to capture and convey the idea and performance. Many conceptual art collections are performance based and the most accurate way to display it is through photography or video.
Conceptual art as a practiced art form is approachable and attainable, a viewer can look at the piece of art and recognize the process that was taken by the artist and they recognize that they can easily do it themselves. The images are used as a form of documentation, proof or evidence of the performance and taken in a straightforward way that does nothing more than capture the event. Another role of photography in conceptual art was to act as a question, it asks you to think about it. It takes the role of the viewer to a whole new level where they are asked to take in the information they see and interpret it in their own way and to read a narrative into the series based off of their own experiences and personal information. This is unique to conceptual art because with most other art forms you are given an image, a title and an emotion that you are to feel.
“Greatest effect of conceptual art on the use of photography has been to make the photograph function like a question and not like a self-evident statement.”
The most important aspect of the medium is to make the viewer participate in the work and to make connections based off of the artist’s choices in the way that they shot, displayed and talked about their work. This forces the viewer to think about the things that they perceive to be important and to think about experiences in their life and relate them to the artwork itself. Since I feel that the interaction the viewer has with the work is the strongest aspect of conceptual art, it is very important to me that I take that into consideration when creating my own artwork. I would like the viewer to think back in their life and relate those experiences to the look and feel of my series. The idea I decided to pursue is a very objective study of the happenings of Eugene from a distance. I chose to position myself atop a parking garage in a location where I could easily see an intersection and many directions of sidewalk, this way I could see traffic and people traveling in either direction. From this distance I could not recognize faces or pick out many actions the people on the street were doing, this physical distance makes the viewer make assumptions and try to figure out what is really going on and makes them wonder what its really happening on this street corner. What makes this particular street corner so special? It also makes the viewer think about traffic and travel, looking at it from a distance the complexity and organization of roads and sidewalks almost seem ridiculous.
The distance between my targets and myself as the photographer was a way to create an objective view of what was actually happening, the viewer is able to take in a great deal of information just from a rather small image of a very large area. The reason I did this was to make the viewer feel that I was not trying to skew the scene or only portray a certain part of it. I shot everything so they can focus in on an area and take notice of various different things. The size and quantity of the images is another way that I was able to show a more objective ‘study’ of Eugene. I took many images through out the shoot; in an hour period I took a picture every five minutes and selected these eight from the very middle of the collection. These images were picked at random and are to be displayed in a grid where the viewer can easily look at all the images at once and compare the scenes. I also chose to print the images somewhat smaller so it is even easier to compare and study the scenes and it also makes the people and cars seem so much smaller and less human. That is the reason I chose the title, “Ants under a magnifying glass”
From the project I would like the viewer to find their own meanings and to think about what this certain street corner or just the regular hustle and bustle of a town means to them. What have they seen in their life that they can make connections to? I feel that with this series that glorifies the everyday and captures the ordinary, it will be easy for the viewer to relate and to let their mind wander until they find a memory or feeling that they can closely associate with my project.

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