I watched a very good documentary called Corwin last night, about a very influential writer, essayist, director, and producer of radio shows in the late 30’s and 40’s. I had never heard of Norman Corwin before but his broadcasts were considered by many to be uncommonly good, because he wrote the scripts unaltered and unedited by network owners/execs.
In the late 50’s and early 60’s, the networks moved to television for news and commentary. TV moguls learned to create and push their own agendas with respect to information dissemination. And, Norman Corwin was nudged out. He saw his medium changed beyond recognition.
I can feel his pain. And shock. I look at the recent photographic work that fills the sites of so many galleries, online as well as bricks and mortar. There is a certain look to a good deal of them. Here are some of the categories:
Ninety nine percent of these are digital color.
1. Subjects staring into the camera, motionless, emotionless, with a simple pale background. They say nothing, unexpressive, muted figures. They are relatively attractive. Usually the figures are young and thin; maybe they could be reject models from an ad agency.
2. Another look is the domestic scene, in color, nicely lit, lots of light, vacuous and generic. Usually the environment is upper middle class, comfortable, and suburban.
3. Then, there is the landscape. Color pleasing, horizontal, frontal, and somewhat rural with fragments of human bits as commentary. There are hundreds of these.
Here is a sample of number 1.
This replaces the masters. This satisfies the buyers. This pushes no boundaries. Ay, Ay, Ay.