Friday, November 09, 2007

Loving the camera

This image of Julian Dashper’s Untitled, a work has appeared on overthenet before. This time it is on the cover of Burley Katon Halliday a book just published by Thames and Hudson about the Sydney based design practice. The cover shows Dashper’s work in somebody’s home. The fact that no one asked Dashper’s permission or paid him for the image is odd given the heavy duty copyright protection claimed on Burley Katon Halliday’s own site, but that’s another story. What interested us is the way this work reproduces so well and what this implies. The reproducibility is partly owing to the highly skilled graphic and smart colour sense that Dashper brings to his work; the camera loves simple, clear images. That reality got us thinking about how some artists get left out of many publications simply because their work does not have, in photographic terms, what the auction houses call “wall power”. Woollaston is a good example. It’s hard to think of iconic images, and the one that does come to mind is Sunset at Greymouth, one of his most graphic works. Woollaston’s paintings do not reproduce well, this affects the number of times you see his work reproduced, and its longevity. We checked this theory out using the simple test of putting contemporaries Walters, McCahon, Angus and Woollaston through Google Image searches. On the first ten screens it came out:
McCahon 78
Walters 35
Angus 33
Woollaston 14
Rule of thumb of course, but it makes you think.