Ceci n’est pas une photo: Using Surrealism’s Toolbox in Your Photography
Our understanding of surrealism has become watered down into a set of mainstream clichés: the once-revolutionary images of melting clocks, burning giraffes, and floating rocks of Dali and Magritte are so common that we see them more as design elements on shower curtains and mouse pads than as art. In a series of weekly assignments, we’ll rummage through the surrealist’s toolbox and use key concepts and techniques like chance, juxtaposition, collage, automatism, and l’informe (formlessness) to expand our photographic vocabulary and rekindle the revolutionary spirit of this movement. Taking Rosalind Krauss’s excellent study of surrealism — The Optical Unconscious — as our roadmap, we’ll examine classical examples by Jacques-André Boiffard, Hans Bellmer, Paul Nougé, and others and follow their traces into the works of contemporary artists like John Baldessari, Duane Michals, Lucas Blalock, Cindy Sherman, and others.
Stefan Frank is a photographer living in Heidelberg, Germany. After completing degrees in philosophy and mathematics, he studied photography at Ostkreuzschule in Berlin, and at Atelier Smedsby in Paris. His work has been exhibited throughout Germany, and he has created a variety of different photography series on extensive travels across Asia. In his current project “Deutschlandreise,” he focuses on Germany’s complicated history, his own family, and memories.Stefan teaches the poetics of space, nighttime photography, and much more — including presenting The Photobook Show — for StrudelmediaLive.