Looking at Looking essay by Max Hirshfeld

One perceives the world through the manifold of the senses and vision constitutes a fundamental way in which we process this world. Our individual interpretations of the visual experience provide unique perceptions for each of us.
Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld

One perceives the world through the manifold of the senses and vision constitutes a fundamental way in which we process this world.

Our individual interpretations of the visual experience provide unique perceptions for each of us. Not everyone pays attention to the same thing and it is what people choose to look at that is the variable of life.

As a photographer Max Hirshfeld takes on the role of looking for us, through his lens he directs us. In his series “Looking at Looking”, Hirshfeld presents the narrative of people looking at art. Looking may seem like such a simple act, however Hirshfeld reveals its depth and complexity.

Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld
Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld

Hirshfeld brilliantly moves through the structured space of the museum as Winogrand moved through the streets of America. He brings the serendipity of street photography inside, using the snapshot aesthetic to portray a sense of realism. The seeming casualness to his photographs is actually quite calculated and his anticipated spontaneity enables Hirshfeld to create this narrative of looking. His decisive moments capture not the art but the state of mind of his museum subjects engaged in looking and in thought. He visually records that intangible internal moment — the internal dialogue of subject to object, viewer to art — and makes it an eternal moment.

A museum is the quintessential milieu in which to observe this element of human existence. In the simplest terms, a museum exists to collect, to preserve and to present objects for visitors to look at and experience. The audience is limited to just looking and there is a certain etiquette in looking — not too close and definitely no touching. This perpetuates an often-humorous dance of the viewer around the artwork.

Hirshfeld captures a diversity of viewers and their interplay of looking as they move through the vast selection of artwork. Visitors peruse, stop at one painting, pass by another, linger, and even photograph the works of art. Hirshfeld is not the only one in the museum with a camera, yet his intent is not to focus on the artwork. This fact enables Hirshfeld the freedom to photograph and to go unnoticed in his looking. Cleverly Hirshfeld suggests that he may not be the only one looking at visitors looking. The portrait by Cezanne peers down upon the museum visitor who looks off to the left, focused on something out of the frame. The subjects in the art on the museum walls look at the museum-goers, even if the visitor decides not to look.

Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld
Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld

The people in the museum assume the paintings and sculptures are on display. But they are objects on display in Hirshfeld’s photographs. There is a false sense of privacy inherent in public space. Take, for example, the young couple comfortably consumed by Pissarro’s painting of Paris.  They embrace each other and share a tender moment together. Unknowingly, the moment is shared with Hirshfeld as well.

Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld
Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld

Hirshfeld too is consumed by his own looking. Within a zone of controlled creativity and improvisation, he orchestrates harmony out of a continuous cacophony of movement. To use a term suggested by William S. Burroughs, Hirshfeld is the “creative observer” who points out fleeting connections of offbeat harmony:

Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it ‘creative observation.

This creative observation by Hirshfeld threads together a unique and playful vision. As a jazz musician who expresses melody in an atonal scale, Hirshfeld synthesizes his lens of perception and interpretation.

Hirshfeld also plays with the idea that art is a commodity up for consumption. Just looking is sometimes not enough for these museum-goers. They often relate to the artwork by photographing it themselves. In plate #30, a father snaps a photo of his son in front of a Pollock painting seemingly not even getting the whole painting in the camera frame but rather creating an abstract background in which to frame his son. What is the father’s intent? Does photographing the art make it more accessible? Is it proof of having been there and seen it? Does the photo of the artwork represent the real thing? Or is it less about the artwork and more about obtaining and remembering the moment, the moment of being there, the moment of looking?

Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld
Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld

It is this moment of looking, connecting and experiencing on whatever level and in whatever way that Hirshfeld showcases in his work. Now as you view these photographs in the intimate space of this book or within the public space of a gallery you mirror the viewers looking at art in Hirshfeld’s photographs. As you look are you conscious of your own looking? Or does the object on which you are focused consume your consciousness? If for a moment you refocus on what you are doing instead of what you are looking at, you may realize you cannot concentrate on both at the same time. Sartre would suggest in Being and Nothingness, that you can never really capture your own act of capturing. You may have a mystical awareness of your consciousness but it forever flees from objective grasp. Hirshfeld succeeds in glancing at that moment in which a person’s consciousness joins with its object. He exposes the self immersed in experience and ultimately his work may lead us to contemplate that which we never see: our own act of looking. [Text: Larissa Leclair]

Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld
Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld

About Max Hirshfeld

Max grew up in a house full of books and music, to parents who survived the Holocaust and ended up settling in small-town Alabama. His father, a child prodigy who first performed with The Warsaw Philharmonic, prodded Max to embrace the arts and suffused their home with the curiosity born of generations of rigorous intellectual and artistic pursuits.

Six years as a staff photographer with The Smithsonian Institution and a career-altering week at the University of Missouri photojournalism workshop in 1977 propelled Max into over fifteen years of commercial photography before a trip to Poland (accompanying his mother on her first return in 46 years) gave him a new appreciation for the power of photography and added a new dimension to his work.

Max’s images show a strong respect for the great traditions of documentary photography wedded to a deep love of humanity. Over thirty years of advertising and editorial photography in the studio and on location coupled with his vibrant yet emotional personal work has made Max one of the best photographers working today. His work has been featured in Rolling Stone, GQ, Time, Forbes and Vanity Fair and in advertising campaigns for Amtrak, Johnson & Johnson, Ikea and The US Mint. [Official Website]

Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld
Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld

Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld
Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld

NGA #19 NGA #30 NGA #31 NGA #36 NGA #37 NGA #38 NGA #41 NGA 44 NGA #60 NGA #67 NGA #70 NGA #80 NGA #88 NGA #89 NGA #91

Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld
Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld

Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld
Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld

Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld
Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld

Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld
Looking at Looking essay | Max Hirshfeld

More Stories

Terra Mater – Ode to My Family  by Marco Castelli

Terra Mater – Ode to My Family by Marco Castelli

Words are not inherently suitable to embrace any even blurred concept of time, and beside all speech being made nowadays around the sense of family, its true nature belongs to the undetectable trace we leave through centuries, and to our relationship with time itself.
The magical hidden world by Georgi Georgiev

The magical hidden world by Georgi Georgiev

The magical hidden world project was selected and published in our print edition 23. These photos are one of my personal best from the past few years. Most of them are from one place where I spend every spare moment to take photos.
Sleepless by Rebecca Sexton Larson

Sleepless by Rebecca Sexton Larson

Growing up I always had an affinity with the night. It was when I did my most productive work, alone in my bedroom free from noise and distractions. I would find comfort in the subdued light and quiet stillness, losing a sense of time and being absorbed in the moment of creating art.

Portrait Photography Awards

We invite you to participate in the first edition
of the Portrait Photography Awards. We are looking
for the best portrait for this year, 2023.

Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of portrait photography.

DEADLINE | FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2023

PHOTO BY © JOSE GIRL
Pride and prejudice by Renata Dutrée

Pride and prejudice by Renata Dutrée

Pride and prejudice project was selected and published in our print edition 23. This ongoing series of studio portraits of young men is intended to challenge the viewer with social constructs that are centered around masculinity and femininity. Gender bias, gender roles and stereotypes can affect everyone negatively.
Gender identity; Lexi by Timothi Jane Graham

Gender identity; Lexi by Timothi Jane Graham

I first met Lexi at the beginning of her medical gender affirmation journey in December 2020. At 58 years old, she had identified and lived as a woman for decades behind closed doors. She was born and raised in Ecuador where the LGBTQ community faces intense discrimination which often ends in violence.
Metaversic world by Byoung Ho Rhee

Metaversic world by Byoung Ho Rhee

With the innovation of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence in the 21st century, the world of metaverse is being witnessed around our lives such as games and movies. The age of mixing virtual with reality. In the metaverse world, the cyberspace where virtual and reality are harmonized is called mixed reality MR.

Featured Stories

Lorca a Forgotten Girl in Art History by Peyman Naderi

Lorca a Forgotten Girl in Art History by Peyman Naderi

It is the story of a girl who lived through a period of history but was never seen, and though she was a very artist, she always hid herself from others until one day her identity was revealed.
Unequally; Urban Women by William Guilmain

Unequally; Urban Women by William Guilmain

The urban space is unequally shared between genders. Patriarchal cultural codes make the street as a place dominated by men. If it is well accepted that men can stay in the street, women only cross it.
Ordinary days is beautiful  by Takako Fukaya

Ordinary days is beautiful by Takako Fukaya

Takako Fukaya has three daughters. They are so special to her. Also she thinks “Children” like them is a hope and a future in this world.
Ethiopia – Change in the Valley by Matilda Temperley

Ethiopia – Change in the Valley by Matilda Temperley

The fate of the Omo Valley was sealed in 2006 when, upstream of the valley’s arterial Omo river, the Ethiopian government began constructing the ‘Pride of Ethiopia’
180 beats per minute by Ivaylo Yorgov

180 beats per minute by Ivaylo Yorgov

180 beats per minute’ celebrates the determination of the millions of runners around the globe who push through sweat and tears to achieve their goals.
Intimate photography ; I am ready to dream a dream with her by Michiko Chiyoda

Intimate photography ; I am ready to dream a dream with her by Michiko Chiyoda

In my photography, my personal experiences often motivate me to start creating works. Eventually, it leads me to the fundamental theme of our life and I want to express what I think and get from there.
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/bannerpr.jpg

We invite you to participate in the first edition of the Portrait Photography Awards. Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of portrait photography.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/BAnImage.jpg

ImageRights provides intelligent image search and copyright enforcement services to photo agencies and professional photographers worldwide.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/mono2022.jpg

The best 100 images along with the winning images published in the yearly book “Monochromatic – Best Photographers of 2022”

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/banner24.jpg

Call For Entries #24 | After 23 editions and more than 100 published photographers, our print edition has proven to be a simply effective promotional channel.

Kamila Karpinska ; Lifestyle photography

Kamila Karpinska ; Lifestyle photography

A photographer born and living in Poland. She specializes in lifestyle photography. and takes pictures of people in situations where they feel fine.
Kazakh eagle hunters & Golden eagle festival by Sanghamitra Sarkar

Kazakh eagle hunters & Golden eagle festival by Sanghamitra Sarkar

The Mongolian eagle hunters are a dying breed. In one estimate there are only fifty or sixty to two hundred and fifty eagle hunters left The golden eagle hunters capture the eaglets at around four months old
Roadside motel by Fang Tong

Roadside motel by Fang Tong

The “ Roadside motel” series is a continuation of last year's project “ On the Road”. Life is a journey. People always look around while they are on the road.
Stories of Russian women; You are mine by Mary Gelman

Stories of Russian women; You are mine by Mary Gelman

«You are mine» is a series of stories of Russian women who endured domestic partner violence.These stories are about power and control of one person over another.
Landscape photography by Jeroen Lagerwerf

Landscape photography by Jeroen Lagerwerf

Because of my short career as photographer, my portfolio is mainly practice material and shot close to my home. Finding the beauty in things you see every day, requires me to see things in a different perspective and develop myself.
Anchors by Yulia Artemyeva

Anchors by Yulia Artemyeva

While working on this project, I was looking at reasons why people choose to stay in bed while the society requires them to be active from morning till night, unless they get sick, either physically or emotionally.

Trending Stories

A.L.M.A by Mar Martin

A.L.M.A by Mar Martin

In the end of 2013, a high resolution image of the coldest place we know in the Universe was captured by the most powerful set of telescopes in the world: Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in the Atacama Desert.
Colombia; From the Bottom to the Hilltop  by Theo Gould

Colombia; From the Bottom to the Hilltop by Theo Gould

13th November 1985 was Colombia’s worst natural disaster. The volcano Nevado del Ruiz erupted near the towns of Armero, Chinchiná and Villamaría, killing around 23,000 people.
Skyscrapers : The View of the Tokyo’s Subcenter by Masuda Yoshitaka

Skyscrapers : The View of the Tokyo’s Subcenter by Masuda Yoshitaka

If I were to choose a place for me to enjoy such views, I think I would go with an observation deck in one of those skyscrapers overlooking Tokyo's subcenter.
Less is more by Lorenzo Mancini

Less is more by Lorenzo Mancini

His work is meant to be an ode to humans in which models are displayed in their purest forms. As part of a minimalist approach, his work leaves no room for any tricks so as to focus only on the essential. 
Washington Square Park by Jay Patel

Washington Square Park by Jay Patel

One summer afternoon I walked through a park full of young people. It took me a few visits to observe and absorb the energy around me.
Diana Cheren Nygren; The Persistence of Family

Diana Cheren Nygren; The Persistence of Family

During the isolation resulting from the pandemic, family has taken on a new centrality. Our connections to our ancestors and our descendants often feel stronger than connections to those around us.
Welcome Home by Nick Gandano

Welcome Home by Nick Gandano

In this time I have come across some characters, sometimes peculiar, who lived in some of those homes to which I came. At first, their presence made me uncomfortable as they used to interrupt my work.
Documentary Photography; Small Things by Binh-Dang

Documentary Photography; Small Things by Binh-Dang

There is a house by the sea 120km from Hanoi called Thien Giao. In this house the occupant’s heartbeat beats in unison for one hope, the hope that they will all be able to love and be loved. I visited this house one year ago
Body art – a tribal ritual by Trevor Cole

Body art – a tribal ritual by Trevor Cole

The Suri tribe in the Northern Omo valley of Ethiopia, for example, use the paints for camouflage, tribal rituals or ceremonies and also now to show travellers. The tribes in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and along the Sepik river adorn themselves with paint for ‘Sing Sings’,

Other Stories

stay in touch
Join our mailing list and we'll keep you up to date with all the latest stories, opportunities, calls and more.
We use Sendinblue as our marketing platform. By Clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Sendinblue for processing in accordance with their terms of use
We’d love to
Thank you for subscribing!
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted.
- Between 10/30 images of your best images, in case your project contains a greater number of images which are part of the same indivisible body of work will also be accepted. You must send the images in jpg format to 1200px and 72dpi and quality 9. (No borders or watermarks)
- A short biography along with your photograph. (It must be written in the third person)
- Title and full text of the project with a minimum length of 300 words. (Texts with lesser number of words will not be accepted)
This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Contact
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted. This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation.
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Get in Touch
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.