42112 (by brittanymarkert)

I like this image—perhaps for the wrong reasons.

To my eye, it represents a discontinuity with the rest of Ms. Market’s work because I am not inclined to associate it with an obvious photo-historical reference (i.e. Untitled is an obvious homage mashup of Francesca Woodman’s Untitled Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-76 and Untitled Providence, Rhode Island 1976; this still from the hotel haunting screams Diane Arbus via Kubrick, while room 109 invokes David Lynch with the subtlety of a thunderstorm.

Influence is crucial—sheer force of will and work ethic only goes so far. Hell, without inspiration, how many would have picked up a camera to begin with? Let alone kept on after all those rolls of ruined film, struggling through plateau after plateau in the work, etc.

So called fine art photography operates off the principle that imitation of your influences forms the most effective framework for becoming a photographer. Although seen through rose colored glasses, Arno Rafael Minkkinen presents the essential premise behind fine art photography with insight and aplomb in his renowned Helsinki Bus Station Theory.

While I disagree with the notion that gallery owners would so much give you the time of day let alone inquire as to your familiarity with X or Y artist and object to prejudicing the destination over the journey, Minkkinen’s theory does have special resonance for photographers with a vested interest in visual narrative or those—like Ms. Market—who count filmmakers among their foremost influences since the Helsinki bus station presents us a bit of a conundrum.

Even though I am not, let’s say—for the sake of argument— I am a enamored with Stanley Kubrick’s films. But for whatever reason, I prefer the medium of photographer so I arrive the Helsinki bus station and after looking around decide that to take a bus departing from the same platform as Diane Arbus. However, once on board I don’t even make it as far as the suburbs before realizing this isn’t for me. I go back and decide to follow the Walker Evans’ line—which departs from a platform on the opposite side of the station as the previous one. Maybe I make it a little further this time but quickly discover it’s still not for me. What then?

I go back and merely because I have no idea what else to do I wander onto the platform from whence Ansel Adams departed. This time the route choice sticks—but not due to being on a line the focuses on landscape photographer so much as finding a route pathologically preoccupied with the technical. (After all, what Kubrick lacked as a storyteller he more than compensated for with his exacting abilities as a technician and unparalleled production designer.)

Filmmaking and photography are sibling art forms and like siblings, you cannot approach them in an identical fashion. Those of us who come to photography by way of narrative/filmmaking share a frighteningly similar list of influences that, to stick with the metaphor, are dispersed all over the Finnish countryside. Most are contradictory.  Mistakes are going to be made; routes will need to be abandoned and subsequently re-chosen as the line that works for each person is almost never the first choice.

But back to this image—I like it. And I like it because it is one of the few images where I do not feel the photographer is not leaning on something that has been said well before in order to add feeling, depth or relevance to her own ideas.

Flattery is the sincerest form of flattery. Brittany Market demonstrates she handle imitation flawlessly. My interest in her work is what she will produce when she finds herself on a line long enough to leave the Helsinki suburbs behind. This image suggests a great deal of potential that will hopefully be realized in her maturing work.

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