Essay/Script

Is the Photographic era in its decline?
‘Even as the photographic as a rich vocabulary of conventions and references lives on in ever-expanding splendour, in short, it appears we have already entered a “post-photography”, that moment after but not yet beyond photography’.
1 It is argued that photography as an art form is in its decline. This is due to many different factors, one being the impact photo-manipulation has on the foundation of truth in photography as a documentation aid. A second factor is the ease of availability. Photography is everywhere; magazines, posters, books, adverts, online, even on television. Every day we are overwhelmed with images and codes that are quite possibly severing the connection between photography and art. For these, and for many other reasons it is argued that we are entering the ‘post-photographic era’. I intend to investigate into the possible causes and the arguments behind this phrase.
Deleted: The photograph emerged as a revolution in the art world, one that many were reluctant to accept in the beginning. Painting was art, and photography was not seen as an acceptable art form when it first began to emerge.
2 Over time, the influence of image manipulation has led to a lack of trust in the photograph, something that was initially seen as a documentation; a truthful way of recording events and an honest resource that couldn’t really be questioned. However nowadays, every image we see needs to questioned and scrutinised simply because of how easy it is to alter a photograph with the ample of new technology around today. Through the aid of programs such as Photoshop, photo editing and manipulation is all to easy; we can completely alter an image, and with that the story it is depicting in a way that is, in most cases impossible to notice. After researching more into this however, I discovered a vast number of political images that have been edited for a number of reasons, listed alongside the image shown. In my opinion, this completely removes trust in the news world. This contradicts the original concept and understanding of the photographic practise, meaning that in more cases than not, we cant trust what we see. And the majority of the time we cannot tell we are being deceived, no matter how slight the alteration. ‘The suggestion is that a diminution of our collective faith in the photograph’s indexical relationship to the real will inevitably lead to the death of photography as an autonomous medium’. This short video is a simple example of how drastically a photograph can be changed, and how difficult it can sometimes be to differentiate from the truth when seeing the final result.
[insert video of photo-manipulation]
3 The phrase ‘post-photographic era’ sounds all too sudden and final, however when it is considered, there is a slight truth there. We have millions of images thrown in our faces every day. everywhere we look, from adverts on the internet, magazines, billboards, posters, as illustrations in books, snapshots framed on someone’s wall, in a lecture, is just to name a few. There are beautiful photographs everywhere, from the critically acclaimed pieces by well known photographers to the odd image you come across when trawling the internet. But being bombarded with images left right and centre every single day has possibly numbed people to its beauty just because of the ease of availability. Pick up any magazine in the shops and it will be choccablock with photographs, whether they are advertisements or accompanying the articles. The point is that there are a hundred pages of images there. Images that have used up someone’s time considering the composition, the lighting, the subject. Do people stop and consider any of them? Maybe not, because we’re seeing hundreds of images in this magazine alone, never mind elsewhere. Even the photographs depicting something shocking, something not seen every day are not given as much time as they deserve, because it is all readily available on the internet. Search anything, no matter how strange and alien it would be to us, we can still find it.
4 A piece can be reproduced a million times and yes, it will loose a lot of it‘s charm and authenticity, Being in a digital age means that we can see a photograph in the exact same quality that we would have seen had we gone to the exhibition and seen it printed on the wall. Digital dissemination. You can own an original painting, and know that it is truly original, because no matter how many copies are made, each one will differ from another in lots of little ways. A photograph however, can be printed off a hundred times, with the first one to come out and last being completely identical. Even finding that image online and printing it at home will be identical. And with the internet and search engines we can find a high resolution version of almost any photograph we want to find. Post photographic era, I think relates to not only photography being disregarded as an art form, but as a profitable business with regards to the art world.
deleted: but it is still more likely than not that viewing a piece of art will make most people pause…look….consider the brush strokes, the realism or the lack of it. If you went and saw the piece up close, it would undo all of that and still amaze you Even if we think it looks like a few squiggles on a page and can’t even begin to understand why it is classed as a piece of art, we will still pause for a moment and look. The same with sculpture. Most would pause for a moment or two to consider what they are seeing, especially in an age where it is not so readily available. Photography however, is the exception.
[interviews of peoples reactions to certain images]

Deleted: Photography is said to be without a set place in the art world. It can be argued that the reasoning behind this lies with its involvement with other artistic forms such as painting, collage and sculpture. Photographs are used in many different layers of other artistic movements; as an addition to the aesthetic values, for instance being pasted onto a sculpture, or being incorporated into an artistic collage. In this case, photography as its own form is lost, and is simply adding to the value of another form. To quote Geoffrey Batchen, ‘it would seem that each medium has absorbed the other, leaving the photographic residing everywhere, and nowhere in particular’. Another instance, is photography used as a record. Everyone in this room will have photographed some form of sculpture at one time or another, but who’s to say that your photograph is true to the photographic movement, and not simply a record of someone else’s creative ability? Photography is used to illustrate books and show us pieces of art we will never get the chance to see close up; page after page of other artists work. But, when you use photographic technique to document these pieces, such as the rule of thirds as such, who is to say whether it is a stand-alone piece of photography, or still just a documentation?
altered: There are beautiful photographs everywhere, from the critically aclaimed pieces by well known photographers to the odd image you come across when trauling the internet that you think is a work of art, everywhere. However, we are being numbed to them all by the ease of availability. The most shocking images, such as (vietamese war), the message behind it, and the raw power it conveys is completely lost, simply because we have seen this image over and over and over again. It is not the same as art, where a copy of the piece can be reproduced a million times, but still, if you went and saw the piece up close, saw the brush strokes, and the tiny little imperfections, it would undo all of that and still amaze you. Photography however, being in a digital age means that we can see a photograph in the exact same quality that we would have seen had we gone to the exhibition and seen it printed on the wall. Digital dissemination. Now you can own a n origional painting, and know that it is truely original, because no matter how many copies are made, each one will differ from another in the marks the paint has made. A photogaph however, can be printed off a hundred times, with the first and last being completely identical. Even finding that image online and printing it at home will be identical. And with the internet and search engines we can find a high resolution version of almost any photograph we want to find. Post photographic era, I think relates to not only photography being disregarded as an art form, but as a proffitable business with regards to the art world.
6
Original Paragraph: Photography has become such a universal skill with the constant advances in technology, and the dropping prices of these super cameras, that we are actually going backwards. No one wants to take a perfect, beautiful photograph anymore, that’s too easy. For it to be artistic, it has to be awful. Bad lighting, bad focus, bad quality. Almost every blog you come across writen by someone who claims to have some photographic talent has a perfectly normal photograph that has been destroyed in photoshop to make it look like they picked it up direct from the seventies and ran over it about fifty times in their car. And that is art. How ironic that twenty years ago, to take a perfect photograph was considered the skill; the art. We all had those huge film cameras when we were children that produced more fuzzy faces than smiling ones. Now though, it’s been turned on its head as a clear as day photograph can be taken out of a window when you’re driving in your car. So everyone can, as long as you have the camera. The real difficulty today is finding the fuzzy faces. When comparing the styles of photographers whose work is considered artistic, this concept becomes clear.
Altered Paragraph: Photography has become such a universal skill with the constant advances in technology. We all had those huge film cameras when we were children that produced more fuzzy faces than smiling ones. Now though, it’s been turned on its head as a clear as day photograph can be taken out of a window when you’re driving in your car. The dropping prices mean that anyone can afford to by a high tech camera that comes with built in settings to take a perfect photograph in any situation. There are also hundreds of you tube videos helping anyone to edit their own images like a professional. I personally think this advance has taken value out of the photographic practise.
Deleted:And of course, everyone can be a photographer now. Television advertisements will tell us every day that if we run out and buy the new cannon we can all be the next Ansell Adams! We can watch videos on you tube and learn how to edit our own images so they look just like that one in the magazine. It’s not so difficult, you think. I could do this! Advertisements making us think that hey, with my new cannon that practically grows legs and does somersaults I can be the photographer myself, who needs to hire one?
7 The phrase post-photographic era relates to the loss of value. Though opinions may differ, I think that the advances in technology and the lack of trust in the practise due to the extensive manipulation that takes place, has ultimately lead to a loss of interest in the art of photography. The ease of availability has meant, I think that there is a lack of appreciation for the work of skilled photographers. The ease of use and the high quality images produced by the reasonably priced cameras on the market may also be responsible for the lack of appreciation with regards to photography as an art form. Thank you for watching.

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