I had the pleasure of being part of a photo geekfest this weekend, and one of the names that came up (with me & Justin James Reed) was Lewis Baltz. For some reason I feel like he does not get a lot of attention in the US, especially his color work of the late 80’s and early 90’s. I had the pleasure of seeing it at the Tate Modern several years ago, but when I google image search him, I come up mostly empty handed for that work. It is very strange how some artists have almost no internet presence, or a limited selection of images online. These days I find it odd. What is someone really going to do with a 5×6 inch 72 dpi web image? The Steidl website has such a small rendition of the book, you have no clue what you are even looking at. I did find a slideshow at an Italian gallery but not the best way to see the work. His new book, Sites of Technology, is going on my ‘to buy’ list when it comes out in July. One of the core reasons we started Women in Photography was to provide a great research site, so photographers could find work of artists online easily, in one place, with links to more info.

There are definite links between my work and Baltz’s. His vision of the post-technological age, specifically the relationship between man and technology was extremely precisest. If you look at the images and think of how important computers have become in the 15 or so years since the images were made, it is startling

I highly recommend you take a look .

I love all of these quotes by the artist himself:

The questioning of the photograph in its relation to reality, the interrogation of representation, the famous crisis of representation, really took place before digital technology. Digital technology is not the villain here, it simply offers another dimension.
Lewis Baltz

Jean Nouvel is interested in a building that would respond to change in temperature, in time, in use. He’s always been fascinated by the idea of integrating architectural space with image space, signage. Jean proposed making columns of images, and then we began talking about what kind of images these would be, how these columns would be structured, whether they would be autonomously illuminated, or whether they would respond the light in the building, what kind of subjects would be interesting to introduce in this particular building. It is not a question of putting my work into Nouvel’s building but a question of using that building and the activities in that building as a way of generating a dialogue of images.
Lewis Baltz

I assume that once something goes on the Internet, it belongs to everybody.
Lewis Baltz

I never had any profound loyalty to the idea of photography as a medium but simply as the most efficient way of making or recording an image.
Lewis Baltz

I think it’s interesting that the questioning of the photograph in its relation to the reality, the interrogation of representation, the famous crisis of representation, really all took place before digital technology. Digital technology … is not the villain here. It simply offers another dimension. I’m not sure if it’s a farther remove from reality than analogue. I think if we can speak of reality, if reality and representation can be spoken of in the same sentence, if reality even exists any more, digital is simply another way of encoding that reality.
Lewis Baltz

Photography is less material than painting; digital is less material. But the dematerialisation of art again is something that began thirty years ago as a conceptual gesture and long before people realised that it was not only a possibility but would in fact become the dominant technology.
Lewis Baltz

Almost everything now has that possibility, maybe even the necessity, of some kind of digital interface or intervention. So in that sense, the sense that it proliferates, that it’s everywhere in society, I think that will yet further detach people from whatever 19th century idea they had about reality, the phenomenal world and their relation to it and in it.
Lewis Baltz

Cinema structured time in a very different way than any other medium had ever devised before. With video you have a double structure. You have that structuring of time in cinema but also you have this possibility of zapping , that is, the director of the film is not absolutely the final determiner of the order or the speed in which you see the images. … That’s a different kind of time; that’s a different kind of intervention. It’s an intervention done by a user, in their real time.
Lewis Baltz

The digital technology may make it possible, at least theoretically possible, for everyone to be everywhere all the time. This really runs in a way counter to the post-modernism dictum of the disappearance of the subject. You could say it becomes the multiplicity of the subject. The subject is no longer one. The subject is two or four or many or billions.
Lewis Baltz

To work in a way integrated with architecture, I think the work we’re speaking about here is not a question of putting my work in his building but a question of using that building and the activities in that building as a way of generating a dialogue in images. The work is not even site-specific, it’s really site-generated. It’s something that’s made exclusively for that space and that space with its present series of functions. In that sense it becomes like most works today ephemeral.
Lewis Baltz

[The] question of [the] medium is something that seems to be kind of mercifully disappearing now. I don’t think anyone really identifies themselves by the medium, except maybe painters — who will hate me for saying that.
Lewis Baltz

It seems like there’s another generation that’s arising; that it’s almost become a genetic change. There children all over the world who seem to have some innate ability to deal with information on the screen, to manipulate digital symbols, to feel comfortable with this as though they had drunk it in with their mother’s milk. It is almost their second nature. And perhaps a new kind of human being is evolving in front of us and we’re not sure how to name it yet.
Lewis Baltz

What I found that was younger artists no one is going to be media-defined. They simply take for granted that all these mediums such as computer, video, photography, film are available and have their particular qualities. They move very gracefully from one to another. So I think that question of medium is something that seems to be kind of mercifully disappearing.
Lewis Baltz