Tim Davis: My Life in Politics

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This first in-depth publication of photographer Tim Davis's work dissects the disenchantment and dissociation that have come to dominate American civil life. It is Davis's treatise on the state of contemporary politics, politics as an aestheticized banality abstracted from real issues of power. He finds freedom of expression exhibited at its most casual and cursory, with political, commercial and populist signage jostling for space and attention in the social landscape: His documentation of that landscape, as ...
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Overview

This first in-depth publication of photographer Tim Davis's work dissects the disenchantment and dissociation that have come to dominate American civil life. It is Davis's treatise on the state of contemporary politics, politics as an aestheticized banality abstracted from real issues of power. He finds freedom of expression exhibited at its most casual and cursory, with political, commercial and populist signage jostling for space and attention in the social landscape: His documentation of that landscape, as Peter Eeley of Frieze magazine interprets it, asks, "What if campaign signs, badges, bumper stickers and flags aren't simply the ephemera of Americans' political lives, but their substance as well?" My Life in Politics represents photographic seeing at its finest and most subtle. Davis continues Stephen Shore's colorist tradition, meshing the careful management of a quotidian palette with an incisive eye for those points at which light bends and refracts, becoming something other than mere illumination.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It can be hard to tell if Davis's collection of portraits of political activists, office holders and campaign iconography is art photography masquerading as documentary journalism or the other way around. Davis, a graduate of Yale's prestigious M.F.A. program, evinces some affinity with the photographic styles of well-known Yale faculty-the melancholic gazes of Philip-Lorca diCorcia's subjects and the eerie lighting of Gregory Crewdson's suburbia. Nearly all of the images are overtly political, but it would be a mistake to read them as entirely journalistic and ignore their lush colors and calibrated proportions. The most successful ones keep obvious political references at arm's length and instead show off Davis's formal techniques-the reflective glare that obscures a politician's face in a painted portrait, or the shiny abstraction of oozing purple droplets in a puddle of oil. There are moments in this collection when the relentless theme treads dangerously close to clich or sounds a heavy-handed note of cynicism. But rather than the predictable arguments one might expect from an avowedly liberal undertaking, the series succeeds in presenting pleasurable surprises and deeply poignant moments, offering a significant contribution to the art of American documentary photography. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597110112
  • Publisher: Aperture Foundation
  • Publication date: 5/1/2006
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 10.70 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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