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  • 标题:Private Life. . - Media - book review
  • 作者:Alexander Charles Mouton
  • 期刊名称:Afterimage
  • 印刷版ISSN:0300-7472
  • 出版年度:2002
  • 卷号:July-August 2002
  • 出版社:Visual Studies Workshop

Private Life. . - Media - book review

Alexander Charles Mouton

Martin Mlecko

Martin Miecko's recent publication Private Life is a collection of 300 appropriated German snapshots, all made within the last three decades. Selected from a diverse pool of 10,000 images, none of them his own, Mlecko has brought together a collective image of what Germans look like when they allow themselves to be photographed in private. His selection of only color images unifies the collection, and all of them are vertical in format, portraying two or more figures. Mlecko has altered the images digitally by slightly shifting them out of focus, thereby literally taking the edge off and distancing the individuality of the subject from the viewer.

Munich, Germany: Prestel, 2002

In the book's presentation, the images appear in size from full-page bleeds to roughly the dimension of a passport photo. A conversational interview with Mlecko, conducted in German by Corinna Weidner but presented with an English translation, accompanies the pictures. Within a historical context, Private Life is reminiscent of August Sander's survey of the German people from early in the twentieth century, and culturally it echoes Edward Steichen's populist anthology of photographs, The Family of Man, Private life is, however, much more about the relationship people have with the intimate recording of their lives through photography than Sander's cataloging of German archetypes. Nor does It really aim to convey the same universality as Steichen's ambitious work. In presenting these snapshots. Mlecko is not asking us to reflect on German society or on the individual lives that make up the images. Rather, the images are to work as representative narratives of our lives based on the memories snapshots hold for us. In his conversation with Corinna Weidner, Mlecko makes It clear that his image selection was a conscious one, assuring no image would denounce or embarrass anyone, but show the very craziness of ordinary life.

In discussing aesthetics, Mlecko indicates that beauty is a value he would rather consider in relation to the condition of society than in reference to design. He further explains how the 300 images in Private Life are all beautiful because in them there Is barely a moment in which people aren't interacting in a positive way. Private Life does not strive toward analysis, but works in an associative way, as a kind of invitation for us to reflect on the important moments in our own lives and the intimate circle of family and friends that define it. The anonymity of the images also reminds us of our participation in a larger society that shares similar values about which moments are worth remembering, worth immortalizing through photography. He says "it may seem hackneyed, but in my eyes this is Pop Ar t--it comes from the people, it's popular, and as an artist I'm giving it back to them." I am uncertain how complete the associative workings will be for an American or English audience, but Mlecko's generosity of spirit is notable in this work, which could easily have taken a much darker turn in the hands of another artist.

New Chinese Cinema: challenging Representations by Sheila Cornelius and Haydn Smith. Columbia University Press/133pp./$17.00 ($b).

Okefenokee hi Lucian Niemeyer. University Press of Mississippi/192 pp./$45.00 (hb).

Psychoanalysis and Cinema: The Play of Shadows hi Vicky Lebeau. Colombia University Press/137 pp./$17.00 (sb).

Ralph Eugene Meatyard: The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater edited by James Rhem. Distributed Art Publishers/128 pp./$45.00 (hb).

Realism and 'Reality in Film and Media edited by Anne Jerslev. Museum Tusculanum Press/275 pp./$40.00 (sb).

Reality Squared: Televisual Discourse on the Real edited by james Friedman. Rutgers University Press/336 pp./$22.00 (sb).

Rethinking Marxism: Dossier on Empire (Vol. 13, No. 3/4) edited by Abdul-Karim Mustapha. Guilford/246 pp./$22.00 (sb).

Sam Taylor-Wood with essays by Jeremy Miller and Michael Bracewell. Steidl/256 pp./$35.00 (hb).

Teenagers and Teenpics: The Juvenilization of American Movies in the 1950s by Thomas Doherty. Temple University Press/288 pp./$20.05 (sb).

The Art of History: African American Women Artists Engaging the Past by Lisa Gail Collins. Rutgers University Press/224 pp./$26.00 (Sb).

COPYRIGHT 2002 Visual Studies Workshop
COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

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