Week #61 Close Proximity: a photographic series

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Andreas Gursky has an eye for the ordinary and yet, his particular brand of observation transforms the ‘taken for granted’ properties in life and gives them a majestic quality that’s both confronting and thought-provoking. What are we to do with the beauty that comes from witnessing people’s working reality? How are we to take it in? And where on earth did all this stuff come from? It’s not ours, surely?

Here in lies Gursky’s talent. Because the photographs manage to captivate us, we want to look, we must see, and we are forced because of it, to acknowledge the glorious and ghastly contents.

Close Proximity is my title for what I think links Gursky’s pictures. Whether he is photographing inanimate objects or humans, a breathtaking conglomerative overwhelms here. Like other art I’m drawn to, the impact is contrary, with calming, static, even peaceful results. But, a ruse perhaps, Gursky is interested in keeping us looking. He doesn’t want us to put aside this actuality, he wants us to be present. And it is in this way that he strikes the perfect note, finds the right ingredient and then knows how to fuse it into one frame. We are privileged to see the things he has sort out. The fact that we don’t want to look away denotes a mark of brilliance.

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