Martin Allums

Professor Warpinski
ArtO 250

Photography after Frank – The Staged Document

Photography after Frank by Philip Gefter pools all of the different photography
styles that popped up after the 1950s (Robert Frank’s defining era) together via 6 classifications:
The Document, The Staged document, Photojournalism The Portrait, The Collection and The
Marketplace. The focus of my summary, The staged document, deals with the fact and fiction
aspect of photography. Before the 1970s, Photographs were used as a visual representation of
facts. A great example of the pre 1970s era are the 1962 reconnaissance photos of Cuba taken by
the United States military.


The Spirit Leaves The Body (1968). we knew exactly which ones were false because advertising agencies were known for creating staged scenes. While most people knew that all of the images in the sequence were staged. you could easily believe that they are real. The premise of the staged document was only enhanced by technological improvements and programs like Adobe Photoshop. we took them so that we could find the locations of Cuba’s military and nuclear bases. .These photos were purely representational. They were able to imply a certain situation onto different photographs by manipulating the environment around the scene or by manipulating the subject (sometimes both). It works so well that at first glance. The prime example Gefter uses in his book to visualize this idea is of Duane Michal’s sequence taken in his series of Phenomenological nature. the viewer then lost the sense of factuality that images used to have. Once we progressed into the 1970s however. the artist was no longer content with taking a simple journalistic photo. photographers began to have full creative control over the scenes they shot. As such. Michal was able to make the image feel factual by using the natural light coming through the window to accent the subject and film. While most scenes that were shot were true.

In September of 2002. the world trade centers and the pentagon were attack by members of a terrorist faction group from the Middle East called Al Qaeda. Another image had the opposite situation. Just days after. This image was not staged. Despite all of the praise the image received. This image represented the United States victory over Japan in World War II. it does look as if it could be staged because its degradation. the image following it in which the soldiers were smiling was staged. and won a Pulitzer Prize. Old Glory Goes Up on Mt. a staff photographer for the New York Times. Suribachi by Joe Rosenthal (1945). The image has faded over time. so environment around the men give the scene a dream-like feel. and action shots were not very common during WWII. took a photo of a young boy aiming a gun outside of a store with a sign that . everyone believed that the image was staged by Rosenthal because he stated that he took a staged image. Gefter uses the image Iwo Jima.The confusion the viewers can get can go two ways however. Edward Keating. When you look at the image.

was fired. There had been arrests in that area as an early strike against Al Qaeda (Aperture Mag). fabricated photo. his paintings had the feel of a quick snapshot of an event. He falsified information. but Keating had asked the young boy to hold the toy gun (other photographers reported him doing it). He was a graphic designer by trade who became a photographer. This type of photography is a sub-genre of the Staged Document. He attempted to restore the buildings’ original hues Pre-flood in his images. Of these artists. and they boast her artistic yet photographic design when placed in galleries. . JoAnn Verburg an artist who photograph performance like pictures of scenes that were taken decades ago. Eric Fischl a painter who uses photography skills. In essence. One of my favorite pieces of Fischl’s work is New House. Gutschow works without any idea of what she wants the final product to look like. Despite all of the confusion and controversy around The Staged Document. an artist who photographs architecture and reworks the color conditions. Eric Fischl’s work really started jgetting noticed in 1981 because of his ability to essentially paint candid photograph. Robert Polidori. this picture captured that moment in time perfectly because it allowed readers to visualize the life stories of the men in the article. Ryan McGinley an artist who invited guests to be photographed in unconventional scenes. an artist who dissects images and reconstructs them with elements of other images. and the Times released a statement the following day renouncing the photo. my favorite was Eric Fischl.said Arabian foods. it is still the most widely used and accepted Photography art style. and he would ask guests to undress before photographing them. Photojournalists are not allowed to alter a scene in any way. His most noted works were of the battered buildings in the post new Orleans flood. Gefter goes on to talk about Beate Gutschow.

. nude and on the phone. the television is on and at the lower end of the scene. meaning that none of the events depicted are actually happening. Maybe she is calling someone about a missing item. To her right. As a photograph the scene uses both perspective and a deep depth of field to accent the feeling that something is happening. This however is still a staged image. or letting someone know that the move in was successful. she is doing something spontaneous l. Fischl captures the model in an in-the-moment type of pose. her boxes lay flat and open. The model is staged on a normal kitchen.Unlike the majority of painters (the ones who attempt to Paint a portrait of someone or a figure drawing).

As we progress into the background. The majority of Fischl’s work deals with nude models doing activities they would normally do if a camera wasn’t present. there is a man playing with fire to the right and another man grilling to the left.Another great piece by Fischl is Barbeque. and the house is in the deep background. I have always had to create staged images to draw from. A bit into the distance. I have to take images from the old masters and try to re- . This Scene uses a shallow depth of field to draw your attention to the object in extreme focus a boy entertaining people with his pyro technics. This image represents a party or possibly a summer outing with the family. like a candid. The reality of the situation however. is that these models spent hours in the same position because Fischl painted the photograph. I find that like JoAnn Verburg. I think that I am so drawn to this artist and the staged document is because as a pencil artist (but moving into the digital realm). two people are playing in the pool.

Since I have to work in these ways.create the effects to match the style of art emerging today. I have to be able to construct challenging still-life setups as Beate Gutschow does in her bodies of work. seeing Fischl’s work is like a breath of fresh air in innovation and an older take on modern painting and action .