los-angeles

Ed Janss

Multiples, Inc.

There are good reasons not to review Ed Janss’ show of “In-Water Photography” at Multiples, Inc. The artist is a big real-estate developer/art collector and his photographs are obvious high quality hobby products. Then there’s the title and, finally, there’s the persistent problem of photographs as gallery material; the first two I acknowledge and capriciously overlook, but the third point is worth some explanation.

No fool would maintain that, in theory, photography isn’t, or cannot he, an art as highfalutin as painting or sculpture, printmaking, or composing piano sonatas. Steichen showed us that firsthand with “Photo-Secession” and “291”; then we were able to see beyond the curio quality of Brady and Atget, beyond the heartrending in Lange, Lee, and Evans, and beyond the design in Adams and Weston. But in those prewar days, painting and sculpture hadn’t set up the stupefying expectations

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