Stephen Mayes in conversation with Wired

This blog post is a reflection on the interview conducted by Pete Brook from Wired Magazine with Stephen Mayes on the concept: ‘Photographs Are No Longer Things, They’re Experiences’.

Smartphones are a pivotal force in the transformation and expansion of photography in relation to mass consumption by the citizen population. The images produced from phones truly reflect the latest paradigm shift; where digital SLR’s attempted to replicate the appearance and characteristics of analogue cameras, smartphones are completely different. There is a fluidity in the digital images that allows the user to make continuous changes that wasn’t seen in analogue photography and the instantaneous nature of communication accentuates this. Ritchin described digital photography as “quantum imagery”; the more we try to examine the medium the more possibilities are opened up and it becomes harder to evaluate. The smartphone device was originally designed to communicate and stream; it is this process of immediate reaction that fuels the existence of smartphone photography. Our relationship with photography is changing from documenting and cataloguing evidence to the act of experiencing and streaming. However we still try and relate the digital image to traditional norms and values, we are embracing the digital culture but are constantly relating it back to familiar ideology, as we did with the automobile.

The main catalyst for the rise in smartphone photography in the media is the accessibility and the ease of the citizen user to produce and publish content. Most of the current events have been documented and experienced through phones; some of the most integral imagery from the Japanese tsunami was captured and shared from a smartphone. However the greater capacity for freedom of speech has created an unstable environment as the traditional gatekeepers are no longer in control of the information. This raises the questions of who should be the individuals providing the information? There is a certain credibility and trustability with the imagery and videography seen from mobile phones however it is not appreciated as a solid, serious medium. However should the population pay photojournalists when there is an online network of citizen journalists willing to provide information for no cost? These speculations are being made by many in the world of media however for now there it is apparent that there is still a role for the professional photographer as they have the skill to construct and read an image in a professional sense.

To see my Storify notes on the interview – follow the link below

https://storify.com/rebeccawoodall/stephen-mayes-and-wired-interview

To read the full interview – follow the link below

http://www.wired.com/2012/11/stephen-mayes-vii-photography/all/

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