To follow-up the preceding blog post: What are the comparative advantages of all this? Aren’t we just obsessed with newness and becoming techno freaks hunting down the latest versions of some manipulative tool? Yes, that is a risk – but!
You are still the one to decide what kind of image you want to produce and why. You are still choosing how much you are prepared to let technology rule you, or you rule technology. You can still decide that this particular picture should not be touched but printed rightaway as raw as it’s been shot.
Here are some reasons why I like these recent tecnologies and their potentials:
1. They are fun, full of surprises, keep me alert, open up creative spaces.
Having fun – playing! – is an absolutely essential part of any creative process and art creation. Spontaneity and exploration, experiementing are other words for it. I don’t believe in the necessity of suffering to create art.
2. By changing an image, particularly an everyday image, it invites – nay forces – you to see more deeply or mindfully what is really there.
Take the pair of pears in the preceding blog. Had this just been a colour or black-and-white photo os what they really looked like, you would not stop and look. You’d probably rather say – why on earth did he take that, it is so ordinary and not even special or beautiful.
With the app I used and the succeeding Photoshop processing this picture became more interesting, I believe. It conveys the warm evening light (electric) in that kitchen, the colours and the softening makes it appear bit more like a Stilleben. You are invited to look more closely at their shape exactly because their contours are not sharp but slightly blurred and “grainy”.
A photo like this could hang on a wall and keep alive somehow, whereas a strict reproduction of this plate with beans, napkin and two pears would not catch anybody’s attention and if it would – only once.
I posted this image on my Facebook page and it yielded a comparatively good response. A “documentary” of two pairs, with no processing hardly would have made anyone press “Like” or comment. Also not myself!
3. Broaden the scope of what a photographic image is and can look like.
Depending on age, many people still associate photography with an image mounted behind glass in a frame. It can be in colours but it is called “classic” if black-and-white or sepia-toned.
Here is the same photo in two very different versions. The latter is much more like a water colour, the street lamp has become a sort of sun at daylight, in short – we can just as well forget about the fact that it was taken at night. It is now the same picture but different; another aesthetic, a nother type of appearance and another reality has been created. And min you, I am not saying what is better – I am just illustating how photography does not have to be a factual re-presentation of some kind of reality. As they say, reality isn’t what it used to be – and it never was.
I guess what we are seeing these years is a tremendous change in shooting, processing and presenting photographs – and also the way we share them and now exhibit them not only live but also virtually, on the Internet. Gone are soon the days of the photo album and slide projection on your wall. The earlier distinctive features between film, photo, painting, and graphics will become much less significant.
You will also increasingly see photos at places you never did before. Photos belonged indoors (sensitive papers), in albums and for the little group to sit around and see. Not so anymore – we share them on social sites, we see photos outdoors and often in huge formats, and they are no longer for small exclusive group, rather we shar across the world and people we never knew or will know will see our pictures and sometimes follow also where and how they were taken.
So now photos can become public in a new way, be put up on house walls, in parks or as a sculpture at the central square in your city too. Students around the world will read academic texts but use interactive pictures and instructive videos – text that was everything in the academic world is being reduced and even finding role in some cases as accompaniment to or even subordinated to interactive media and instructions.
Just yesterday I found an app for the Art Basel Miami Fair, free of course. No, it does not substitute the “live” visit, viewing and talking to gallerists and other visitors, or whatever. But why should I read a long newspaper article describing what I can see when I can see it right away on that app? Text will increasingly become interpretative to pictures and videos.
Similarly, art museums and galleries are increasingly finding that they must be able to present, on the Internet and virtual tours so we can prepare ourselves better before visiting the live exhibition. We can also have it all available should we be too far away or – even better – making the art treasures available to people around the world who have never had a chance to see these treasures, or as in the education system, access them any time they need to analyse a painting, photograph or sculpture. What has so far been stored away in museum basements can now be available to millions.
And it is free, or almost so. All in all I find that fascinating and I am determined to explore the meaning in a longer time frame of it all. By the way, there is a facinating book about all these things and their societal, human and cultural dimensiosn and consequences, Fred Ritchin’s “After Photography” – an enigmatic title of something that has hardly ever been more present in our lives!