Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A Sudden Gust of Wind

Jeff Wall has been one of my favourite photographers since seeing his exhibition at the Tate Modern in 2005. His style of photography is cinematographic, and each picture creates a context and scene for its purpose.

A favourite of mine from the exhibition was A Sudden Gust of Wind, an interpretation of Katsushika Hokusai's wood carving Yejiri Station, Province of Suruga. The photograph took over a year to get right and over 100 images were captured to obtain the perfect shot, giving the illusion of a coincidentally caught moment. It's not until you see Hokusai's original that you notice the beauty in the correspondence of Wall's photograph with its partner. I'm not surprised the image took so long to achieve, as every detail is perfect, from the pose of each character to the wind flow and direction of the flying paper. Even today I noticed a character in the background, who is perfectly positioned to fit Hokusai's piece, despite having looked at this image hundreds of times. His choice to dress his actors as modern characters makes this interpretation a new creation of something incredibly classic, and gives it, in some way, a sort of comical feel. I feel quite strongly at this point that this classic to modern feel is probably the angle I want to aim for.

Jeff Wall, A Sudden Gust of Wind, 1993
Katsushika Hokusai, Yejiri Station, Province of Suruga, ca. 1832

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