Duane Michals, Writing with Photography: Hybrid Prints – A Pun of Text and Images?

  • Abstract:

    With the establishment of the photographic technique as an independent art and the development of a very specific artistic trend called the Narrative Art in the 1960′s, new artists were given a voice and means of expressing themselves. Duane Michals, an American photographer of today 92 years of age, is one of them, and in a way, one of the most charismatic figure of this trend. In his work, the previously distinct modes of image melt: he started with captions, words, added to the image, then the words became sentences, then poems, and finally books of texts became associated with images, reversing his original tendency.The aim of this paper is to state how this historical shift of the sixties made it possible for artists to develop new artistic ways of communication but also to open to today’s artistic world. It seems indeed that young generations gaze more and more attentively at those leading photographers who paved the way to a re valorisation and re stating of the importance of photography’s medium itself, its surface. The idea that emerges in this context could be summarized like that: in our contemporary world of interconnectiveness where capitalism and post-industrial society lead to a crisis of for human beliefs in a greater history (dereliction, individualism, economic crisis), can one consider that, as a counter point, the social and economical context of the 1960′s paved the way in the arts to a need for narrative forms? What effects then can we state in today’s artistic practices and how did it all shift?