Uta Barth

Uta Barth

Utah Barth
Born 1958

“I am interested in getting you to engage in looking rather than losing your attention to thoughts about what you are looking at.”

 I came across this photographer’s work while researching Narrative and thinking about the unseen and how we observe our surroundings. Barth’s work is not about photographing what is seen, more the act of seeing. In her images she removes all or part of the subject and often blurs the background thus forcing the viewer to fill the void, construct their own narrative.

Barth 1

Ground Series 1994-1997

Simplistic and literal, but I really like her work and think she is conveying a strong message. If we look at the above image, there is no subject so we try to fill the space with our own subject matter , making the image our own unique piece of art. Everybody views every picture differently and adds their own interpretation.  Does this method amuse and intrigue or does it make one think more philosophically? Do we see what actually exists or what we are conditioned to see?

Barth 2

Untitled 2005

Here I see a vase of flowers on a surface and a bunch of keys. There may be something else attached to the keys, but I cannot see outside the frame. So my mind gets to work on what could be there and what the link is between the keys and the flowers, if any. Uta Barth wants us to see beyond the keys, beyond the flowers and also beyond the vase.

This photo is in stark contrast from the sharp and sparse images above.

Barth 3

Field #20 1997

Field #20 is a photo of a street corner taken deliberately out-of-focus and with a shallow depth of field. I like the way the red traffic lights are positioned randomly thus causing the eye to flit between the two focus points, in time the image becomes a little more transparent. “The Fields” series was generated by moving the camera while shooting, this resulted in abstraction and a fusing of space and light. Barth has stated:
The Fields … imply movement both by the camera and whatever activity that is motivating the image. One has a sense of being made aware of one’s peripheral vision, of what you see when you turn your head toward something, of what you might see while in motion. I have incorporated a similar image in Assignment two “Postmemory”. This image has also given me some further inspiration for Assignment three.