Notes On Attention Paid

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08 Keld Helmer-Petersen

Brad Feuerhelm tells us he is a pioneer in the use of color photography, not completely groundbreaking, but with significant accomplishments…

Being first or the most original is not everything. I can say with 100% conviction that though Helmer-Petersen may not have been the first artist to invoke a particular affinity to konkrete Photographie, Deformations (After Penn) geometric abstraction, or silhouetting as found in many of his sub-interests, I can say that his execution of these subjects was masterful.1

… this need to break new ground, to be masterfully breaking new ground, what is it?… isn’t it enough to be a master of the ground you stand on?…

… these sentences catch my attention…

Largely due to the lack of economy afforded to artists working in photography at the time, unpaid work could largely be de-manacled from its relationship to the market. As the market would not develop in American until the late 1970s, this allowed artist working with the medium in the first half of the twentieth century a freedom to create bodies of work which existed independently from one another. The artists were not expected to form a career from highly stylized and easily recognizable features thus making experimentation a pursuit that would be rewarded with approval from one’s colleagues over the pressures of the gallery to perform sequential hits. The downside of course is that one’s life in photography may continue on forever unobserved outside of intimate circles.2