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44.4 - Effort

#4: Effort

Use a technology, equipment, or process, that require uncommon knowledge (such as resurrecting old technology, immense expertise, and great effort, such as large format photography.

For example, Michael Fallon wrote about the photographer Alec Soth.

Soth's process of photographing is almost unnecessarily complicated, and reliant both on fortuity and the artist's control-freak nature.

This may simply follow the complicated and nebulous process of using the large-format camera, a device that must be reconstructed anew on each use from a variety of parts, and that uses large and expensive negatives that slide into the back.

Further, the camera's lens is particularly sensitive to variations in light and has a shallow field of focus that causes much fussiness in the artist.

Soth says he's lucky if he manages to make one or two exposures on a given day of shooting.

This is, of course, very different from the photographic norm in the load-and-shoot era of 35mm and digital cameras.1

Thomas Demand recreates scenes using paper and cardboard, and then he photographs the construction.

The scenes were often first seen in photographs.

The subjects appear to be mundane, until one learns where the scene was, or what happened there, in reality.

For example, Bathroom (1997) is a reconstruction of an seemingly ordinary bathroom. However, the work was based on a 1988 photograph of Uwe Barschel, a German politician. She was found dead in a hotel bathroom in Geneva.

Anyways, back to effort.

Demand's work requires great effort.

This is always featured in articles and reviews about Demand.

Would you cut out 270,000 leaves from paper to create a forest?

Demand did, for Clearing (2003), a recreation of a location in the Public Gardens in Venice.

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1 Michael Fallon, Alec Soth's Manipulating Eye, interReview.org, Winter issue, http://www.interreview.org/02/02fallon.html.