The Phonar Finish

Approaching Phonar I had the ideology that the photograph was the same as the image, digital photography and video were completely separate mediums and the key issues involved with photography didn’t stretch much more than the limitations of commerce and commercial manipulation. However after being introduced to practitioners such as Fred Ritchin, Stephen Mayes, David Campbell and Shahidul along with many other contributors, I have been able to identify and reflection the key issues associated with post-modern photography following the paradigm shift from analogue to digital.

I am now considering the concepts of narrative, representation and truth are all to be considered in relation to my own practise; for example sports photography is all about capturing a moment in time however the mechanical nature and ‘decisive moment’ notion of analogue photography would suggest that digital is only appropriate because of the instantaneous technology. With the increasing separation of analogue from digital photography there has been an increasing difference between the terminology of the ‘photograph’ and the ‘image’. The photograph is the physical manifestation of the print produced from the analogue camera where the visual content is the only ‘data’ to be extracted. In comparison the digital image is built up of two elements, the metadata and the visual representation. The latent and manifest forms can exist almost simultaneously resulting in the accumulating reference of the digital image to quantum physics. The idea of truth is a concept seemingly being destructed by the evolution of digital photography and the capacity of editing software to fabricate a scene, however with the credibility of the image we must also consider the credibility of the photographer.

In particular I have been engaged by the notion of representation on the Internet and the growing capacity of the computer to plausibly replicate human actions. There is a dialogue between virtual reality and artificial intelligence mostly seen in video game culture and interestingly enough; this immersive practise has been identified as an effective tool for both photojournalism by Marcus Bleasdale and education through organisations such as the Thing Out Loud Club. However with artificial intelligence comes restriction through the form of online filter bubbles, which is potentially challenging the notion of a democracy by unintentionally limiting the flow of information for the sake of relevance. There is also an issue of online safety through the sharing of inconsequential information, which I have identified in my Post Photographic Portrait.

The Phonar module has been responsible for the change in my ideology and practise from visualising and producing ‘decorative’ work to identifying key issues and responding with the most appropriate tool available to me; whether it be photography or another practise such as video, sound or even the written word. I understand that my work in the most case is a starting point; a raw thought to be developed on however I have been able to interpret and reflect on the key concepts, which will undoubtedly form the basis for my future practise.

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