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Starstruck - Photographs from a fan

Nordlund, Sara LU (2015) KOV203 20142
Division of Art History and Visual Studies
Abstract
In his teens Gary Lee Boas (b. 1951) began photographing famous persons with a Brownie camera. He spent the following decades in pursuit of celebrities and by the end of the 1980’s he had accumulated over 60 000 snapshots. He was a self-professed fan of fame without any artistic interest or intent. However, approaching the new millennium his amateur archive was discovered by editors and curators who produced a book in addition to art exhibitions containing his images.

His work juxtaposes photographic genres as well as fields of culture. It creates a curious intersection between low and high brow, personal and public spheres. The following paper is a literal and literary investigation of what aesthetic, historical, artistic and... (More)
In his teens Gary Lee Boas (b. 1951) began photographing famous persons with a Brownie camera. He spent the following decades in pursuit of celebrities and by the end of the 1980’s he had accumulated over 60 000 snapshots. He was a self-professed fan of fame without any artistic interest or intent. However, approaching the new millennium his amateur archive was discovered by editors and curators who produced a book in addition to art exhibitions containing his images.

His work juxtaposes photographic genres as well as fields of culture. It creates a curious intersection between low and high brow, personal and public spheres. The following paper is a literal and literary investigation of what aesthetic, historical, artistic and photographic discourses are evident in his work and an examination of the transformation of his private collection into “fine art.” Theories of fandom and collecting, the role of media and celebrity culture, as well as perspectives on photography and art are explored to understand his work.

His photography has the visual sense of a domestic snapshot aesthetic, yet contains faces of public figures. Like a paparazzi, he stalked public subjects, although never with the aim of financial gain or a rude exposure. Likewise, he can be compared to a photojournalist or a documentary photographer. His photography fills a purpose within a star making machinery, but is not part of normative mass media. His practices also allowed him to build a social role and an identity within the fan community, reminiscent of feminized aesthetic practices of the 19th century. All the same, his intrusively executed tactics could be seen as masculine. A common theme of affect runs through this study of his work.

The critical mass of the collection and the fascination with Boas’s actions as a fan rather than the photographic qualities of his pictures drew attention from the art world. The intellectual exploits of the editors and curators pronounced his private, mid-20th century photographical archive to be publically relevant and commercialized art in the early 21st century. (Less)
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author
Nordlund, Sara LU
supervisor
organization
course
KOV203 20142
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Snapshot photography, fan community, collection, appropriation, private paparazzi, celebrity, affect, archival potential, twentieth century tendencies
language
English
id
5011041
date added to LUP
2015-03-20 09:58:51
date last changed
2015-03-20 09:58:51
@misc{5011041,
  abstract     = {In his teens Gary Lee Boas (b. 1951) began photographing famous persons with a Brownie camera. He spent the following decades in pursuit of celebrities and by the end of the 1980’s he had accumulated over 60 000 snapshots. He was a self-professed fan of fame without any artistic interest or intent. However, approaching the new millennium his amateur archive was discovered by editors and curators who produced a book in addition to art exhibitions containing his images.

His work juxtaposes photographic genres as well as fields of culture. It creates a curious intersection between low and high brow, personal and public spheres. The following paper is a literal and literary investigation of what aesthetic, historical, artistic and photographic discourses are evident in his work and an examination of the transformation of his private collection into “fine art.” Theories of fandom and collecting, the role of media and celebrity culture, as well as perspectives on photography and art are explored to understand his work.

His photography has the visual sense of a domestic snapshot aesthetic, yet contains faces of public figures. Like a paparazzi, he stalked public subjects, although never with the aim of financial gain or a rude exposure. Likewise, he can be compared to a photojournalist or a documentary photographer. His photography fills a purpose within a star making machinery, but is not part of normative mass media. His practices also allowed him to build a social role and an identity within the fan community, reminiscent of feminized aesthetic practices of the 19th century. All the same, his intrusively executed tactics could be seen as masculine. A common theme of affect runs through this study of his work.

The critical mass of the collection and the fascination with Boas’s actions as a fan rather than the photographic qualities of his pictures drew attention from the art world. The intellectual exploits of the editors and curators pronounced his private, mid-20th century photographical archive to be publically relevant and commercialized art in the early 21st century.},
  author       = {Nordlund, Sara},
  keyword      = {Snapshot photography,fan community,collection,appropriation,private paparazzi,celebrity,affect,archival potential,twentieth century tendencies},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Starstruck - Photographs from a fan},
  year         = {2015},
}