Qs week 1 – 1st Presentation – “Global image: Worldwide Medium”

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Q: Do you see any parallels between the historic spread of photography and the transmission of digital imagery today?  

In both cases, a new technology spread to copying existing approaches, For example, photography was seen as drawing, and then as a form of mimicking art. Then it found novel uses, for example as a tool of science, or a medium for news gathering and reporting.

Digital imagery was at first simply ‘another’ form of photography. Now, for example, it renders itself useful to new forms of self expression via mobile image capture and distribution, not possible with chemical photography.

Q: Can you think of any problems associated with the speed at which the photograph moves?

Keeping up! How do we distinguish between the techno-hype and the real improvements in the process of image-making?

How do we think about quality? Billions of images are made and shared every year. Most is hardly ‘looked’ at. In the realm of video, over 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube in 60 seconds. Something over 65000 images are uploaded to Instagram.

How can we possibly discern what is truly important, what is really good? (2017 data).

For marketing and advertising alone, how can brands ‘break through’?

Content Shock was a phrase coined by Mark Schaefer (2014) who said:

“This upward trend of content consumption is not sustainable because every human has a physiological, inviolable limit to the amount of content they can consume. I believe as marketers, we have been lulled into a false sense of security thinking that this consumption trend will continue to rise without end. That is simply not possible”.

Infographic from Smart Insights: what happens-online-60-seconds

A Global Image Re-Make

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I would like to offer a ‘reverse re-make’, with, I hope, good reason. Sebastião Salgado is rightly seen as one of today’s most influential photographers. As part of his Genesis project, he was in Papua New Guinea in 2006. Here is an example image, a pair of musicians. Beautiful image, which he shot in an ‘outdoor studio’ (hence the background).

In 1994, some 12 years earlier, we visited Papua, in the same Highland areas. In particular we visited the Huli Wigmen. young men who spend roughly 18 months growing their hair, to make wigs for ceremonial purposes – and that’s all they do. I took images of individuals and groups, although without a studio. In fact my current work is mostly ‘environmental’.

I have always been interested in human interaction, and the two men depicted seemed to be having an interesting time. Who said what to who, and why the look?

I don’t hold this up in any way better – that would be rather silly. But I think the approach is different enough to warrant discussion. When we document, what are we, as photographers, looking for?

Image © Sebastião Salgado (2006) used for research and teaching purposes only