My friend brought in these two images in class for a presentation recently.  It really made me like Jeff Wall way, way more.  I also did some reading about his work (for that same class).  I definitely am so much more appreciative of his photos now.

What’s most striking to me about this particular pairing is the idea of what we value in our contemporary culture, vs. what cultures of the past used to value.  Hokusai’s work often revolved around the presence of volcanic Mount Fuji (pictured here in the background), a landmark that symbolizes a powerful force of nature, but also nature’s beauty.  Meanwhile, Jeff Wall chose to substitute the grey, urban, industrial landscape in place of Hokusai’s Fuji, a man-made canal and ploughed field for the green marshes—suggesting, perhaps, our shift in values.  What is it that we honor and treasure today?


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