PRINT March 2003

’80s AGAIN

Collier Schorr

In the ’80s it seemed all the pictures had been taken. If you were talking about issues of representation and how they played out in popular media, about the effect of Calvin Klein, then the best place to go was Herb Ritts or Bruce Weber. So many ideas were bound up in the “popular” image, and it seemed natural that one’s own commentary could be marshaled with someone else’s pictures. But once the idea of having ideas went out the window, you could take your own pictures—because you weren’t necessarily trying to say something about the world; you were just talking about yourself. The Boston School people took their own pictures; they broke a double spell in photography, against the anti-sentimentality of the ’80s and the patriarchal technicality of the ’70s. Artists who wanted to talk about intimate life needed to go into their personal image bank, redrawing documentary photography and the notion of family.

As told to Tim Griffin