Week 10 – Daniel Gustav Cramer Trilogy (2003/2013)

I first encountered Cramer’s work some months back and was taken with it then.  I found it was quite similar in overall character and aesthetic to work I hade begun pursuing in the winter.  It reminded me of the work of Axel Hutte, about whom I had written extensively in past modules.  I also think Cramer’s Trilogy work bears resemblance to that of Risaku Suzuki.    Thomas Struth’s Haptic Green also bears some resemblance the Woodlands portion of Cramer’s Trilogy, but it seems to be much more intensely about colour while Cramer’s work is more about form.

We were asked to comment on the edits Cramer choose and whether we would have done it differently.  I happen to like the photos he included and while some may be stronger than others it is important to have some distinctions.  Also, I am certain those that I might think strong are not necessarily the ones someone else might choose.  And that is I think one o f the key points of Cramer’s work, as well of that of Hutte and Suzuki, that there is no intent to dictate the narrative to the viewer.  The mystery, masking of location and even to an extent subject, force the viewer to engage with the photograph to figure out what it is, where it might be, what is in the frame and what might be just out of the frame.  So, to that end, and because there is no real overall intention to Cramer’s work beyond the three broad categories, the photographs are not intended to hang together in a linear fashion to create a narrative and therefore can be viewed in any order as standalone images, each waiting for the viewer to create their own story.

Darwent noted of Cramer’s work they are “images shot through with story and place, but which demand we ignore both place and story. This is what we are, they say, but what are we?” (Darwent, 2007) Cramer’s images are tantalising, looking familiar and foreign at the same time, clearly of something almost recognisable, but what. He presents the viewer with a puzzle to which the solution will be based in the knowledge and cultural experiences of each viewer.  For example, the underwater photos were to me as a scuba diver immediately recognisable as such, but to someone who had never dived, may have been quite confusing and disorienting.  The woodland photos were likely more familiar territory for many, and I liked how Cramer choose to include a mix of photos, some of which seem to invite the viewer in and others that seemed to want to hold the viewer out.

It is very moody and atmospheric work.  It defies time and place merging both into the space of heady dreams and fantasy.  I wish it had been published as a book as it is one I would enjoy owning.

 

References

DARWENT, Charles. 2007. ‘Weblet Importer’. [online]. Available at: http://danielgustavcramer.com/infotxt.html [accessed 1 Apr 2019].

 

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