New Television Workshop Collection

New Television Workshop Collection Program MaterialsAlive From Off Center

Video clip of World of Photography, The

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World of Photography, The

1 videocassette of 1 (ca. 25 min.) : sd., col. ; 3/4 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (ca. 25 min.) : sd., col. ; 3/4 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (ca. 25 min.) : sd., col. ; 3/4 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (Betacam SP) (ca. 25 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (D3) (ca. 25 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (VHS) (ca. 25 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.

Copyright Date:

Wegman, William
Smith, Michael

Includes multiple 3/4" screening tapes of the work. From one of these, Betacam SP and D3 preservation masters and a VHS screening copy of the work have been created.

Screening copies of "The World of Photography," 1986, a collaboration between performance artist Michael Smith and photographer and video artist William Wegman. The work is structured like an educational or instructional video, but ultimately spoofs that genre. The work begins with Mike (Michael Smith) expressing his desire to learn more about the art of photography. Mike arrives at the studio of William Wegman, who takes Mike under his wing and shows him some of the tricks of the trade. After giving Mike a photography aptitude test, Wegman brings him to the equipment cage and gets him outfitted for his first shoot. In the New York streets, Mike goes wild taking pictures, and brings his film back to Wegman, who is taking photos of his dog Faye. Lessons in lighting and darkroom techniques follow, but at some point Mike begins to feel he has lost the aptitude for photography and that he may not be able to find his niche in the art form. As a despondent Mike searches for shots on a ferry and beach, we hear his voice singing the rather forlorn song "World of Photography" in the background. Eventually, Mike decides to give up and communicates his decision to Wegman, who is in the middle of a studio shoot with a couple of clowns. While Mike is dressed like an average guy throughout the video, Wegman sports a beret, false facial hair, and somewhat stereotypical artist's garments. Throughout the work, preconceived notions about the art of photography provide comic fodder.

Mike Smith wrote and sang the song "World of Photography."

Fischer, Mark

Smith, Michael

Alive From Off Center, KTCA
Contemporary Art Television (CAT) Fund, The

Crawford, Tom (Online Editor)
Feist, Rick (Online Editor)
Matrix Standby Program, Raindance Foundation (Online Editor)

Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, New Works Program
New York State Council on the Arts

Wegman, William
Smith, Michael
Harris, Montgomery (Clown)
McMahon, Paul (Clown)


Educational/cultural works

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