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Week 1: 11 Days Through My Window

In the first task of the new module we were supposed to create a small book based on one of Ed Ruscha’s. The purpose of this exercise was to get us thinking about production and new themes as well as expand our relation to images. Ed Ruscha is an American artist associated with the pop art movement who has worked in the media of painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, and film. He produced many artist books and priced them at just a few dollars as he claimed a singular disregard for the artist’s book as a precious object. He describes his work as “snapshots with only an average attention to clarity,” or merely “technical data”. With his ‘no-style’ photography Ruscha has documented the milieu of gas stations, hotel swimming pools, etc. Ruscha’s first book Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963), was conceived purely from the words in the title. His laid-back factual photography and choice of book format was a considered element. The “technical data” of Ruscha’s books may be aloof, but it is animated by the notion that in commonplace words, ideas, and sights, something exceptional can still be found.

11 Days Through My Window: At first I didn’t really know how to grasp this task as I simply couldn’t relate to his work in any way. I found myself disliking the fact that his work is not visually pleasing and it took me a while to accept it and understand why. I decided to start documenting the view from my window. For 11 days I would use the very same composition and take the photograph within a similar time range (I wasn’t too strict about keeping the exact time each day, it was usually when I would be sitting at the window having coffee). The purpose of this project was to capture the mundane existence but also document the changes that happened within the same scene/frame. My goal was to point out that no day is the same even if the change is insignificant. Isn’t this what makes every day special? The scene I chose was a pure logical decision. I didn’t consider it appealing. The photogenic scenes I had available would be good for capturing a single photograph only, not for documenting a project. This one served its purpose the best because it contained elements that were likely to depict the differences between each day (parking lot, local car service, junction, traffic lights, pedestrians, sky, etc.).

Why is it related to his books: As mentioned above, Ruscha’s books are rather collections of visual information about his subjects. My project is related to his work in terms of capturing the mundane occurrences without trying to be artistic in the process of creation. However, I was longing to convey a message, therefore I added my observation about a uniqueness of each day. References: Text about Ruscha: Photographs of Ruscha’s books:

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