New Fotoscapes

Newfotoscapes is a book written by Jonathan Shaw, photographer and currently working as part of the Disruptive Media Learning Lab. It is based on a series of encounters and interviews with practitioners, writers, artists, critics, curators and collectors that are considered to be influential in relation to the changing landscape of photography in the digital age. I chose to research this book to give me further research avenues in different areas as I was already aware of some of the interviewees work such as David Campbell and Stephen Mayes. However there were also some interviews I was interested in learning more about which included Katrina Sluis and Mishka Henner.

My notes and evaluation of the research can be seen below:

Jonathan Shaw

Hybridity and Digital Transformations

  • What makes a good photographer? Pre-visualisation, ability to control apparatus and understanding of resulting outcome
  • Photography embraces technical innovation even if the amateur gains control
  • Moving image has been reunited with photography
  • Photographers both struggle to keep abreast of the change whilst revelling in it
  • Memories can be perceived as mediated reality/representations and perceptions of the event
  • Although digital/virtual was appealing, there didn’t seem to be any capacity to configure the equipment to desire
  • Shaw’s approach today is hybridising media with approaches to original practices

New Beginnings and Mediations

  • 2007 exploring ideas on the 21st century photographer
  • Ignoring divisions like analogue/digital, commercial/artist
  • “Photographic Mediations” – symposium on how to locate/navigate in the evolving landscape
  • Networked image, what is post/hyper photography in relation to the contemporary practitioner

The Generative Photographic Landscape

  • Reflect on the scale of digital change in terms of create industry workforce
  • Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion when it only had 13 employees, Kodak at it’s prime had 100,000 employees
  • Need to capitalise on this change – smartphone can make technically proficient images and globally distribute them
  • The free image culture is influential and global – Getty images made 35 million images free for non-commercial use
  • Contemporary challenges – new approach to photography and new purpose of the image
  • Recognise similarities between George Fastman’s “You push the button, we do the rest” and today’s image culture
  • Innovation in today’s culture and technical development, practitioner approach must change
  • Photography and photographic education must change to address and engage in the generative landscape

‘Open’ To A Refreshing and ReInvigorating Way to Learn

  • 2009 ‘Picbod’ taught and run by Jonathan Worth and Matt Johnston as is the class ‘Phonar’ are open classes are new initiatives revealing the future of higher education
  • Phonar/Picbod explore the potential of visual storytelling using evolving technology
  • In addition to this, collaboration with students, learners and external environments allows for development – classes are hybrid activity with content on blogs and Twitter
  • Use of hashtags allows content to be easily searched for
  • Diversity of connectivity and communication acts as a draw for new collaborators

A Bricolage Approach To Education

  • Education – knowledge is being liberated from scarcity
  • Ecology of ‘knowledge’ abundance – there is potential to educate the masses if we can keep up and decide on content
  • More pressure on education with higher frees (9k for BA Photography degree)
  • Knowledge can be unlocked textually and visually with simple actions – can computer/technology act as an educator?
  • Academic life must be tactical, sustainable, engaged, visible and collaborative (Shaun Hides)
  • The only limit when working creatively is imagination
  • What would happen if we consider the teacher to be the curator?
  • Would a reconfigured digital relationship mean the course becomes more successful?

Publishing As A Fluid Process

  • New lines of desire through emerging landscapes – New Fotoscapes influenced by two moments 1) #phonar book list 2) ‘Liquid Book’ experiments of Gary Hall
  • Newfotoscapes is interested in the publication as a ‘process’ – explore the hybrid potential
  • Inspire new practices in the visualisations of the world

Node Into The Network

  • Web version of NewFotoscapes employ three main terms 1) catalyst – impetus for NF encounters 2) encounter – knowledge container for material 3) antennae – engender flow/enable adaptation

The Compass Analogy

  • NewFotoscapes is all about collaboration
  • Each encounter means to be critical, analytic
  • Collective conversation aims to act as a compass, means of navigation for reader/photographer/teacher for the journey of new perspective
  • Dialogue acts as a good entry point for the reader – all encounters in the book are arranged alphabetically and held within 9 months

 

Andy Adams 

  • Independent producer/publisher
  • Editor of FlakPhoto and host of FlakPhotoNetwork

Everything Is An Experiment

  • FlakPhoto – experiment, new possibilities for photographic functions
  • Audience is the priority, you can have a dialogue with the audience
  • AA not from traditional photography background, studied mass media communications
  • FlakPhoto launched in 2006, social media came later

The 21st Century Photography Discussion

  • All about collective discussion on the Internet
  • Curating this is about promoting and sharing new and interesting information
  • Photographers are also publishers now – expression on social media can be considered as a form of publishing
  • Conversations and discussions are key

Creating Robust Online Photo Experiences

  • Every photographer should have a website – public outpost
  • Social media has the purpose of acting as different touch points for the audience
  • People can curate their own news feed and define what information they are presented with – this is a good way to discover images
  • FlakPhoto does create a digital archive, with social media the content disappears
  • The idea of Internet users being incapable of paying attention isn’t necessarily true, it is user error, the individual can choose to pay attention
  • Photographers must produce engaging work to capture and maintain interest

Not All Photographers Are Created Equal

  • The ‘Making Pictures of People’ exhibition was photography experienced on the Web, robust and accessible – audience consumes it like they would a photobook
  • Photography has become real time expression of people’s activity – this is another medium of photography, different from the fine art medium
  • Images aren’t intended to be objects, they are just a visual experience – to understand the image we need to understand the maker

Screen Experiences

  • Photographers are human they need to communicate human experiences
  • Web browser as an exhibition space – a new language is mediated through screens
  • We witness film on the screen, film isn’t a physical object so in the same respect a physical photograph isn’t superior to the image on a screen
  • Reference to Katrina Sluis and the media/digital wall

Adapting To The Technological Constraints Of The Day

  • Consuming information through a hand held device is of a similar intimacy to that of a book
  • Engage through our sense of touch – unique personal connection

Shifting Photographies

  • There will be photographs/images that aren’t suitable for the screen – at the moment, people are making images to be suitable for the screen
  • Adams just does his best to stay current and explore photographers and people who love photography

Connecting With Not Transmitting To…

  • Social media operates on audience engagement
  • Co-creating and collaboration is also an important part of Adams’ practice

Transcending Geographical Boundaries

  • Adams is not an authority, he is clarifying his own opinion, tapping into the hive mind of the Internet
  • Language barriers are still a constraint in photography and photographic discussions
  • Western organisations dominate the photographic scene, however this will expand as digital literacy develops

Admiring Scholarship And The Academy

  • Does academic training constitute as a better curator/publisher
  • There isn’t really a need to define an authoritative figure
  • There is no need to seek institutional support because we no longer need it to be published – open accessibility is a key concept

Legacy And Perpetual Visibility

  • Projects need to leave footprints on the Web
  • There are restraints to be considered such as payment for information

Partnerships And The Museum 2.0

  • FlakPhoto is a public project – community based landscapes and activity is important
  • The culture of photography on the Internet is being developed

The Potential For The Digital-Native Producer

  • Young photographers know how to blog, use social media and bypass the traditional gatekeepers to some extent
  • There must always be a sense of responsibility with that
  • Openness is key – collaboration, discussion
  • There is enormous potential

 

David Campbell

  • Writer, researcher, lecturer and producer
  • Current secretary of the World Press Photo contest

The Fascinating World Of Multimedia

  • International politics, political geography and photojournalism, his own focal points are in multimedia and academia
  • Multimedia in photojournalism established/emerged in 2003
  • The single image lacked context, multimedia could change that
  • Photography/photojournalism is always playing catchup

A New Conceptual Landscape

  • There is a sense of attempting to remain in a comfort zone
  • The workflow has changed, we can’t call organisations ‘newspapers’ anymore because paper doesn’t have a dominant role in photojournalism/society
  • There is a defining structure in print in which digital is trapped, digital is a new conceptual landscape
  • There should always be a sense of realism and being current, nostalgia about the photoessay isn’t constructive, the information economy is digital
  • As practitioners you have to be able to negotiate the new information economy

A Joint Proposal For Understanding The Issues

  • Multimedia Research Project for World Press Photo
  • Print/journal publishing can take up to 24 months, on a blogging platform it takes around two minutes
  • In digital anyone can be their own publisher

Being Prepared to Engage

  • With publishing on the Web there is a sense of responsibility
  • The Web is all about linking and following/firming up connections
  • With writing you can still be misinterpreted
  • In the digital there is a different audience, you have to believe in what you say and contextualise it and back it up

Experiences and Responsibility

  • Photography and video are a collective experience, there shouldn’t be a binary opposition
  • Investigation the relationship between still and video is important
  • Ritchin’s idea of the ‘meta-photographer’ in Bending The Frame, they are producing, publishing and curating photographs, which in the digital are made up of information
  • Only few seemed to be concerned about context and information alongside or embedded in imagery
  • Photographers/publishers need to utilise the techniques available

No Definitions Here: A Footnote to Nietzsche

  • There is no definitive multimedia, the notion intercepts and links to photography, video, documentary
  • Power is still held by institutions, not the individual/freelancer

Ambitions For The Findings

  • The changes taking place need to be established globally
  • There is a complexity surrounding information and payment in the digital environment
  • Some of the harder, more complex can’t be condensed into language, perhaps not in purely photographic form (hybridity)
  • To establish ideas and change there needs to be discussions

Abundance Vs Front Page: Accessing Better Quality Information

  • Ritchin’s Bending The Frame appears to lament the loss of the front page, this is perhaps a conservative notion
  • The front page is not lost, it is in flux, undergoing change
  • It is more an anxiety about abundance of information which has no defining structure/priority thinning down process
  • There is an increasing amount of information but there is not a sense of being confronted with it all
  • To see someone’s Facebook images from an individual you need to visit their profile/be their friend – there is a set of conscious decisions behind accessing content
  • You need to understand the ‘scapes’ to be able to negotiate your position within and how it will define your practice
  • The only big difference is that to be social now is also to be visual
  • With a network however, you have engagement and potential for mass discrimination
  • In post-photographic photography the key is image, communication and storytelling

New Commentaries And Critical Thinking

  • Not about investing and characterising the world through notions and movements
  • There are instead extensions of significant and consistent ideology
  • Francis Hodgson ‘No, we’re all camera operators, but not everyone’s a photographer’
  • There is still a notion of skill in creative practice
  • Distinction between camera operator and a photographer
  • ‘What’s the purpose and function of that image and what does it do?’
  • We can’t necessarily see Sontag’s ‘On Photography’ as timeless and ever relevant, especially in the contemporary period
  • Sontag doesn’t have to be excluded/dropped it just shouldn’t be held as the defining, authoritative voice

Open Systems And Audiences

  • The notion of the mass audience could constrain practitioners as they might begin to define their practice through ‘approval’ ratings
  • Mass culture can create a mass phenomenon, it has the capacity for a mass reach
  • It’s not niche against mass audience, just potential and actuality and the limitations which accompany it

 

Charlotte Cotton

  • Curator and writer
  • Sometimes educator of photography

A Creative Life/Conservatism and Creativity

  • Since late 1980s the market for young creative people has been challenging
  • After 9/11, fashion photography declined
  • Photographer’s wages and salaries decreased
  • The list of the top fashion photographers now is nearly the same as it was in 2000

Revolutions and Radical Change

  • Free labour and publishing new ideas come hand in hand
  • About solving visual problems, if you are ambitious/audacious you can be successful
  • Parallel in documentary and editorial in economy
  • 1999 and 2000 documentary moved further into book form and gallery spaces
  • There isn’t a paternalistic structure to enter into and people need to realise this and accept it as a motivator

Questioning Authority And Expertise

  • Analogue is old school idea of the artisan
  • Contemporary photography is more about a set of materials rather than a set discipline from training
  • Institutions are perhaps not engaging as such with new futuristic ideas/technologies as they could be
  • The title of her book was to suggest/persist that the photograph has a place in contemporary art
  • Should the education system focus on current debates in photography

Communities And Conversations

  • Books are definitive not iterative
  • Working as a curator is a good way to engage with debates/practitioners
  • How will visual culture develop in curated environments
  • People do appreciate realistic discussions about photography, way to form a real understanding
  • There is no difference between an artistic and a curator, a photographer should understand the curator role in relation to their practice
  • We need to consider the purpose not the apparatus as the former will decide the latter
  • Can the tablet be considered as a modern version of the experiments with the camera obscura
  • Multitude of modes to suit different practices
  • Geffrey Batchen’s writing has taught us to look at photography as a conception, not an invention

Genuinely Open

  • Response to frustration about photography is to attempt it
  • Museums/galleries can become serious places to have discussions about photography
  • Once disengaging with a project you can lose control and authorship
  • Words Without Pictures project had 300 readers (quite minimal)
  • With technology the design was more suited to the concept and then the reach could expand
  • Create a framework for discussion to happen

Mixed Economies

  • Mixed economy for Cotton means sometimes being the author, sometimes the participant
  • Photography is a vehicle for ideas, photographic technology is an author of the ways we perceive the world
  • You need internal, critical framework

Antennae

  • Fred Ritchin
  • Katherine Hayles ‘How We Think’
  • Julian Stallabrass
  • Grant Kester ‘The One and the Many’
  • David Joselit ‘After Art’

 

Donall Curtin and Nathaniel Pitt

DC

  • Accountant Byrne Curtin Kelley
  • President of the Chambers Ireland
  • Board member of Abbey Theatre
  • Sponsor of The Curtin O’Donoghue Photography Prize

NP

  • Artist and gallerist
  • Director of Division of Labout and PIYY
  • Curation of project Dymaxion Playground
  • Research relationship between sculpture and photography

Collecting And The Ecosystem Of Fine Art Photography

  • Collectors are really important to emerging gallerists
  • Fascination and a connection with photography is an inspiration behind collecting
  • Photography is an extension of the self for the collector as well as the photographer
  • Contemporary art is one global language
  • There is a personal journey for collectors
  • The term ‘consumer’ might be more appropriate than collector
  • There are commercial restraints to being a collector
  • Galleries introduce collectors to new practitioners and environments
  • Some people collect what they think a collection needs
  • Instagram has become really important for gallerists, many collectors use it now

The Contemporary Custodian: A Commercial Perspective

  • Placing and selling of work is really important (public or private)
  • Artists need to be creative in their delivery and distribution not just their own work
  • For an emerging artist, cost is a big problem/challenge to be negotiated
  • Institutions can sometimes not be supportive of emerging artists

Value Is Not Solely Monetary

  • There has to be a visceral response either positive or negative
  • Value and validity comes from established pathways
  • People still value older practices, people still buy vinyl and books
  • Sometimes the physical artefact has a value in affection

Collecting As A Journey Of Discovery: Premiere League Of The Fringe Fairs

  • Locality is more convenient for collectors
  • Five main areas: art fairs, auction markets, commercial galleries, directly from artist, graduate shows
  • Photography is also a tool for the collector
  • There are different levels in collecting, some that are more well known/dominating
  • It’s becoming difficult to get people to engage with all environments of contemporary art

Culturally We Are Very Different

  • Who is a gallerist and who is a dealer
  • Galleries are important as they construct an environment for art
  • US has biggest market economy
  • China is recently emerging
  • There is a current focus on the traditional
  • There is a difference between established and emerging environments

The Responsible Collector

  • Collecting should be personal, not strategic
  • Curational advise can help a collection develop/expand
  • Longterm responsibility: is the collection to keep
  • Short term responsibility: supporting the artist, lending the work, have a relationship with the artist

Making A Future Impact

  • There are many conflicts/challenges for the young photographer
  • They need to push their intellectual boundaries and express that artistically
  • Photographers should understand the artistic world
  • Teach emerging photographers how to avoid being exploited
  • Even if the photographer doesn’t maintain their position in the world, a collector could still own and value their work
  • Ultimately the way artists see the world and think is powerful

 

Mishka Henner

  • Work explores photography in today’s media-saturated world
  • 2013 won ICP Infinity Award for Art
  • Exhibited in various venues such as the Tate and the Centre Pompidou

Photography For Everyone

  • ‘Photography Is’ – book was written in response to frustration in relation to discussions about photography
  • Photography does belong to everyone, therefore anyone can enter that discussion

Freedom? Hacking And Visibility

  • Freedom of information request resulted in document teaching Google hacking and the Invisible Internet being available online
  • National Security isn’t threatened by Henner’s work

Satisfying The Establishment Or The Crowd

  • Work exists in different formats, prints for wall, jpeg for screen, books in hand
  • Ideas are legible in many forms
  • Work with Robert Frank, The American’s in digital forms, altering the way we perceive a body of work/cultural movement
  • A project needs to be altered/rethought to be displayed in different forms
  • Henner sent Frank a copy of the book with a personal note
  • Selling/ self publishing books is about sending ideas out, not being commercially viable
  • Web has huge audiences that can be reached very quickly due to their viral nature
  • There are limitations to existing solely online
  • Economic/political environment appears to not yet exist on the Internet for an artist

Visibility Is Significant

  • Technology gets work out into the world quickly, this is an advantage to comment on current events
  • False notion of neutrality coming from the Web, referencing the NSA scandal and Edward Snowden
  • How/where the work gets out is just as vital as the content

Commodification Of Culture

  • Repackaging/re-contextualising changes everything and alters the interpretation
  • We are in the process of production and consumption
  • People discover and engage with photography in many different ways

Embracing New Optics And Perspectives

  • Connections between Henner’s work and that of cubists/surrealists
  • Language of documentary photography is much richer now with drone imaging, data aggregation and networking
  • Embrace new optics and perspectives develop a concerned visual nature

Concern Lies At The Heart Of It All

  • Age where citizens lives should be transparent but the state is secret
  • Process, style and technique should be the priority
  • Immersed in the production and distribution of artwork, negotiating everything that accompanies it
  • Photography isn’t the only medium in crisis

 

Francis Hodgson

  • Photography critic for Financial Times
  • Professor in the Culture of Photography at the University of Brighton
  • Former head of photographs at Sotheby’s
  • Managed the print room at The Photographers Gallery
  • Founded and directed Zwemmer Fine Photographs
  • Director of photography at Photonica

Understanding Our Visual Culture

  • Old photographic culture is being dissolved
  • Worries about “Digital Soup” – people need to be more adept at the Mac culture
  • It no longer really matters what academic background you’re from
  • Old crafts of 150 years have been uprooted by the digital processes of 10 years
  • Cultural shift, can be a photographer with being literate in photography
  • A lot of the visual from a photograph comes from how it visually is
  • Photography is about communication
  • People are being asked to use rich, complex resources of the visual culture to make images however the same care isn’t taken when sharing/distributing
  • Old fashioned imagery was traditional and tied to specific forms and formats
  • Unlike books, photographs actually change completely
  • The price of digital appears to be the loss of context
  • Huge pleasures in the shift but also risks and dangers

Mediation And Acceptors To Creators

  • Autochromes have come back into fashion
  • The concept of backlit has become easy in the digital age, so people can see the images in the way they were meant to be seen
  • Pictures in magazines/photoessays were only using part of their cultural breadth
  • Receivers/consumers of photographs are important in doing things to the photograph, more important than the photographer
  • There are consequences to the receiver having the power over the image as they can distribute it to different contexts
  • As a receiver/consumer of content you can be your own artist of that content, it becomes part of your self-expression
  • There is a new model of message holding in the digital

Brands And Rarity?

  • Old values of photography were craft values
  • A picture was valuable because of the craft and artistry behind it
  • Corbis model of a picture
  • New branding model which has displaced rarity, limited editions have been reproduced
  • Vermeers are rare because there are only around 50 in museum collections
  • One ‘super edition’ which is a model which hasn’t been digitised
  • Commercial models like Getty Images have been digitised
  • Receiver now ‘controls’ the image and could be perceived as the author
  • New models, open models like Flickr which allow content to be produced and reproduced frely
  • Debates whether photography as art have been resolved and now the photograph can assume many different roles

The Slipperiness Of Digital

  • Many pluralities associated with photography
  • The idea of context is sliding from photography
  • But photographs are becoming reliant on words and linguistic context
  • It used to be that everything was in the pictures
  • Mishka Henner and others like him make work that needs explaining
  • Photography has diminished in importance

Culturally, Confident Messaging

  • Photographer is being more associated with the researcher role
  • People who are using social media platforms wouldn’t be likened to the old concept of publishing photographers
  • Experiential photographers don’t have to conform to any pattern
  • Photography responds to analysis
  • Digital photography is pushing cultural ‘elitism’ to one side

In Spite Of The Authentic

  • Photography is loosing the power to communicate
  • It’s not that digital photography has changed culture, it’s more that the audience has been changed by the digital culture
  • Attempt to maintain analogue is a bit like clinging to an archaic notion

Writing For The Broadsheets

  • We are only working with a small proportion of available material
  • Additional circulation is enabled through the Internet
  • However quality matters, there isn’t a standard of shared vocabulary of quality
  • There hasn’t really been a top-down effect in quality in photography
  • At an academic level photography is becoming interesting but this doesn’t reach professional photographers
  • There isn’t really a level of confidence when talking about photography
  • You can’t define every single person studying photography as ‘training photographers’ because they won’t necessarily be a photographer afterwards however they may still be involved with visual culture
  • The key of academic study is a critical understanding of the visual

Photography Remains A Cottage Industry

  • Getty Images, other publishing houses and institutes somewhat monopolise and control content
  • Although publishing occurs on social media sites, it is still controlled by professional organisations
  • Recent examples include Snapchat
  • Policies employed by ‘free’ corporations are built on advertising and information of the audience

Most Images Are Valueless

  • Most images are valueless, to acquire value the image must be judged/accredited
  • Value is assigned by the receiver, not the ‘outputter’
  • The outputter puts content out hoping it will be taken seriously but the receiver/revolution decides
  • Marvin Heiferman’s ‘Photography Changes Everything’ – pictures only mean what the person using them wants them to mean
  • All culture is historical, photographs are increasingly divorced from history
  • Analysing and picking up all the traces is a very slow process
  • The new model of recycling photography means a bit of interest is lost each time
  • The tales and stories are lost, not attached to the image anymore, the audience has to search or the words to go with the images
  • We lose the old context and have a new context

After The Big Bang Do We Only Have Camera Operators

  • Hodgson is a ‘specialist reader’ of photographs
  • Photograph has absorbed a lot of culture
  • There is no discipline which isn’t affect by photography
  • Photography changes/is shaped by each discipline
  • A camera operator is where photography is used in other disciplines, a photographer is a different concept

We Have Got To A Very Odd Position

  • It comes down to the purpose and intent behind the practice
  • New technological inventions leave scholars/analysts behind
  • New mass use of photography is breaking down the paradigms of photography
  • Advertising culture capitalised on the aesthetic of people’s family snaps
  • Instagram is not visual communication, it is adding an image to a verbal message
  • Modern images are odd because there is visual data and metadata, no one know what to do with them
  • Metadata marks territory, marks presence, identifies – it is qualitatively different from the visual content
  • It is about passing on the skill and ability to read imagery

 

Dewi Lewis

  • Established a publishing house in 1994
  • Founding member of The European Publishers Award for Photography
  • Founding Director of Cornorhouse, Cornorhouse Publications in 1987
  • Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society

New Audiences And The Photobook Renaissance

  • There is a renaissance of the photobook, very much when digital developed
  • Digital has expanded the interest in photography and this means the artefact as well
  • Bringing new audiences in is very interesting – similar to that of the interest in film/movies
  • As a culture artefact, photography has become more significant
  • Awareness of historical background is diminishing
  • It’s not just about relying on photographic heritage

Obsolescence, Recognition, Stability And Change

  • The rules are definitely changing in digital photography
  • We respond and move on from things very quickly on the Web whereas the physical photobook gives stability and certainty
  • Younger photographers can still go and seek out the physical books from traditional organisations
  • There is a longevity to the physical book
  • Photographers who have access to money can produce as many photobooks as they want
  • The Internet takes affordability and reduces the issue significantly
  • Digital isn’t a portable portfolio like the photobook is

Beyond Production: The Photobook As A Collaborative Opportunity

  • The book is a collaboration between the publisher and the photographer
  • The role of the publisher is to challenge the work and work on edits
  • Even a self-published photographer will have a group of consulting people
  • The book is a vehicle
  • In the digital age the book has become an art object
  • The techniques for construction haven’t really changed that much
  • Book is going beyond simple production values
  • The ideal is understanding the potential of the photobook form
  • Michael Mack commentary “at a time when photobooks are overloaded with diverting tricks”
  • The photobook is a means to interpret, not just a container

Commercial Realities And The Screen Experience

  • How does the commercial viability of a book affect it’s design?
  • There is a difference between a book which is an art object and books which operate in a commercial environment
  • Commercial books generally look similar because they need to be physically resilient
  • Print on demand is still in it’s infancy, Indigo process can produce some good work
  • Many photographers try to make a difference and make a small number of editions
  • Physical and Digital book compliment each other
  • Digital book is as well in it’s infancy
  • We have designers attempting to adapt their skills for digital methods
  • Only a few years into multimedia and other similar techniques
  • There is a problem with converting the print into digital form effectively
  • There are all sorts of techniques that are used in print that can’t be utilised in digital books

I Want People To See The Work

  • Status of photobook is becoming more subject to fashion
  • Some popular photobooks from people like Martin Parr might have continual interest
  • Photobooks might not be considered in terms of longevity but as a calling card
  • The Reluctant Father  project is ‘open’ on the Web
  • Fear that if you put content in the public area then no one will buy a physical object
  • The website features what’s in the book but it’s a slightly different form to suit the different medium
  • Open methods pose conflict to publishing contracts
  • Photobook publishing was so people could see the work, now maybe a gallery would be more appropriate
  • Limited editions, special editions could help financially

A New Era For The Screen-Based Photobook

  • E-book development is important
  • Can an e-book be sold at the same price and the same quantity as the physical book?
  • As an e-book buyer for experimental projects because of the reduced cost
  • Books referencing poetry perhaps need a physical book
  • Print book will continue to exist but the challenge will be commercial viability
  • A lot of books are sold through smaller suppliers now

Slow Down, Truly Believe And Experience

  • Self-publishing route is not new
  • Books of 400/500 mean more people will know about it
  • Blog sites and social media are influential in promoting awareness
  • All Zones Off Peak by Tom Wood took 15 years of work, a longer approach can be more effective
  • Photographers shouldn’t be afraid of small projects

Culturally Relevant And Critically Stimulated

  • Self criticism is crucial and sometimes not seen today
  • Examine work from every perspective to decide whether it’s working
  • Networking is critical
  • Commercial value shouldn’t be the motivator, projects should be inspired by interest
  • Landscape is changing, now individuals and smaller publishers can get involved
  • Digital has provoked new, different approached
  • Fear new works is going to be really marginalised

 

Stephen Mayes

  • Creative director of eyestorm.com
  • Director of Image Archive with Art+ Commerce
  • Founding management team of Getty Images
  • CEO of VII in New York
  • 2004 to 2012 annual World Press Photo Secretary in Amsterdam

Where The Value Is

  • All about monetary return on imagery
  • Getty has billion dollar turnover
  • You pay for the license and use of a picture, that’s where the value is
  • Economy of photojournalism is in trouble because prices are falling
  • At VII established integrity is value
  • The Value is not the image anymore, it’s what the photographer has brought to the process
  • People consume information on the basis of telling who’s telling it rather than the visual content of the actual image
  • On a higher level people will take interest in the photojournalist who is well-known and trusted over the less well-known

Introduce Ourselves To New Audiences

  • In photography our icons are being challenged and questioned
  • Nachtwey is having to reinvent himself and introduce to new audiences
  • Nachtwey’s current audience is digital migrants, generally over fifty
  • Social media is being used increasingly to reach a vast audience
  • Social media can be used for commercial purposes because of the bigger audiences available
  • Scalability is an issue, can social media really work on such a large scale

Placing Yourself In Society

  • Jake Levine, General Manager of Digg.com which is a user driven site, the more votes a story gets, the higher up the story goes on the page
  • The user being active in positioning themselves and affirming their place in society
  • Social media is a psychological tool more than it is an informational tool, it’s fulfilled a need society had
  • Attributes similar to advertising because it is a metaphorical communication
  • Advertising has educated the audience in conceptual and metaphorical communication so now the audience is sophisticated

The Fluid Image

  • Images are streams, there is no archiving of information
  • How do we identify which are the important images?
  • Images that were published on covers became cemented as a good image
  • A picture has no impact until it is adopted by a political or social cause
  • We might call it a meme now not an icon

Arguing With Fred

  • Mayes and Ritchin agree over lots of things but not the front page
  • The front page is an exclusive paradigm and quite limiting because it focuses on only one story when there are many others worth considering
  • Attention now spreads however it does in a sense lose focus
  • However the audience has an active part/role in seeking out their own news, there is no excluding information except for the intentional exclusions
  • The idea that instead of reaching 6 million views that are uninterested in the content, you can reach 500,000 people who will respond and react

You’re A Storyteller? Please Tell Me That’s Not True

  • Content on social media is mostly pictorialism
  • ‘Pretty pictures’ are creative and expressive
  • The dedicated image making is harnessing methods of metaphor and story telling
  • Is the term ‘story telling’ a modern pervasion?
  • Storytelling is more of a metaphorical process, beyond the traditional literal representation
  • Is video going to eclipse photography or can it take over journalism and let photography continue storytelling

The Compass Analogy

  • To think in a fixed conservative manner is trapping
  • Each individual technology is not new it goes beyond technology and is more about psychology
  • Cellphone is a fluid extension of the self, being intimate and public at the same time
  • The gatekeepers of information have changed and expanded

A Collective Way Of Working

  • VII values of integrity, that is the brand image
  • A good agency now would have individual developments in different mediums but working under one ethos
  • It’s about the collective, saying ‘also’ as opposed to ‘instead of’

The Limiting Resource At This Point Is Imagination

  • Getty has a few more years left but other agencies like VII might not
  • A photographer only used to have to maintain their kit, now they have to care of everything
  • To operate individually now you have to understand the technology of the Internet
  • The system has been broken down and expanded however there is still a trap of imagination

So What Do You Bring?

  • Each leap of faith brings new experiences and knowledge
  • The concept of forced inventiveness and creativity is a good challenge
  • You can learn things from different areas and relate it to photojournalism
  • Crossover between disciplines is really interesting
  • It’s not not necessarily about being original, rather than bringing a new perspective

Everyone Has Something

  • Loss of Tim Hetherington is a shock because he was a great innovator
  • Jonathan Worth is making new ideas in relation to education
  • Gary Knight is a big thinker with ambition
  • Samuel James although new to the industry stands to make some progress
  • It comes down to curiosity
  • Can advertising converge with photojournalism, Mayes is working with Chris Riley

 

Katrina Sluis

  • Antipodean curator, writer and theorist
  • Worked in media education since 200
  • Curator of Digital Programmes at The Photographers Gallery
  • Senior Lecturer at London South Bank University
  • Background in systems and administration means she researches photography and the relationship with computation

Becoming Part Of New Topologies In Network Culture

  • Interest in photography comes from being a practitioner then an educator
  • Influence is ‘Photography Is Dead! Long Live Photography!’ exhibition and the post-photographic movement
  • Around the 1990s the debates revolved around the ‘truth’ value of the image
  • Photography became increasingly wedded to the iPhone
  • Pressing questions weren’t about the single image and it’s relationship to the real
  • Photography is becoming a networked and screen-based practice

Curation And Image-Making Culture

  • The role of curating Digital Programming is a recently started role
  • Digital technologies are becoming increasingly important in art and culture
  • The challenge was finding suitable content that engages people in the right manner without perhaps ‘polluting’ the institution
  • Next stage is building up the same cultural authority with the digital that there is with the analogue photograph
  • ‘The Wall’ is a programme that has progressed as a series of experiments
  • ‘Born in 1987: The Animated GIF’ was a decision to engage with screen-based imagemaking

A Converged Set Of Practices

  • Hybridity has been achieved but still needs exploration
  • Questions about the cultural associations and values with the digital photographic image
  • ‘For the LOL of cats: Felines, Photography and the Web’ was addressing trends constructed externally by the public
  • Bringing in knowledge from different image making from different image making communities

Heralding The Annihilation Of Photography

  • The term ‘image’ is being investigated, looking at how ‘photographic’ is implicated
  • Once a ‘photograph’ is on a ‘screen’ it could be perceived as a video
  • We understand the Jpeg on-screen as a photograph
  • There’s been a transformation of the photograph to radical data
  • Online environment is a content-hungry machine, how can images have an effect as a viral entity?
  • ‘The Wall’ can be a portal to feedback into the gallery
  • Size and scale can have such implications

Rethinking Visual Literacy And The Audience

  • Inclusion of audience is an important concept, museums and galleries can be quite alienating for young people
  • Potential for The Photographers Gallery to become more porous and engage with different audiences
  • Education has always been a key factor however it has been perhaps traditional
  • There is a real opportunity to collaborate
  • There needs to be a qualitative not quantitative engagement with the audience

The Computational Image

  • Academic writing has been engaged with the ‘softwarisism’ of photography
  • The social circulation the photograph is also important
  • What are the implications of photography as a computational object
  • Decoding what the image now represents
  • Moving away from the reading the traditional Sontag and Barthes and thinking more about Google Street View or drone imagery
  • Lev Manovich is an accessible writer investigating new media
  • Paul Frosch’s ‘The Image Factory’ investigates the stock photography industry and the data-base driven industry
  • Laurel Ptak and Matteo Pasquinelli’s ‘Undoing Property’ which looks into authorship and ownership

Antennae, Inspiration And Brokering New Relationships

  • MIT’s Camera Culture research group
  • Google’s Cultural Institute and Microsoft labs
  • Twitter has become a really good way of discovering and researching
  • James Bridle’s work on Tumblr, the research and the ‘new aesthetic’ went viral last year (dronestagram)
  • Allesandro Ludovico, Penelope Umbrico, Mishka Henner, David Raymond, Conroy, Dr Lop Lop, Wendy McMurdo, Rainer Usselman, Sakrowski
  • Marco Bohr’s ‘Visual Culture’ blog concerning the photographic image
  • People have been working with technology since the 1990s such as Olga Goriunova, Annet Dekker, Inke Arms
  • Rhizome, Furtherfield are influential organisations

Evaluation:

This book has been brilliantly put together as there is a real balance between all areas which are influential in photography. Where I have been more focused on researching writers and practitioners Newfotoscapes has introduced me to other aspects of the photographic process such as curating, collecting and the influential role of the audience in receiving and distributing the work. As expected I particularly related from the content from Stephen Mayes and David Campbell as I was already introduced to their ideas in the Phonar module and really engaged with them. David Campbell talks about his experience in working with multimedia techniques, identifying that the landscape of photography has changed into the digital and that as practitioners we need to engage with the audience in a different manner which is more contextualised. The key idea from Campbell was about embedding or attaching context with the content of the image to ensure the audience gets an effective, informative viewing experience which is sustainable and contextualised. Campbell disagrees with writers such as Fred Ritchin who appear to lament the front page paradigm as it could be perceived as a trapping format conceived by analogue photography. Stephen Mayes agrees with Campbell on this concept, stating that the front page is an exclusive method, appearing to rule out any other important stories. With the digital viewer having a more active role in seeking their own news there is less of a need for the front page as an entry point, practitioners and photo editors need to reinvent their working methods to engage with the audience to digital natives effectively. I need to consider these ideas in relation to my final major project, the content references digital culture therefore I need to consider how it would best operate in the digital environment to be viewed by digital natives.

Being introduced to Andy Adams was brilliant, I had previously followed him on Twitter because I noticed that a few of the practitioners I followed on Twitter also followed him but I hadn’t taken the time to properly research what he did. The idea of circulating and raising awareness and collaborating this with digital processes and social media is a really effective idea; Adams is effectively a curator of digital content and provides his audience with ‘touchpoints’ into new aspects of photography. However in order for the audience to capitalise on his curation, they need to become active in construction their own newsfeed to receive important and quality information. This is a key concept identified in relation to the digital age, as the consumer can now become and producer and publisher perhaps we need to be teaching them to curate their own experience with photography, news and communication. I need to consider how the audience will experience my final major project and whether this will inspire an effective interpretation in the exhibition space. In addition to this I need to consider whether I will use this project outside of the exhibition space and how I will curate this to ensure the best possible viewing experience. With this in mind I will continue to track Andy Adams on Twitter and Instragram and start visiting the FlakPhoto page more regularly to research methods of digital curation which I could potentially apply to my project.

One of the most interesting ideas I read was that of Francis Hodgson in relation to the power the audience has over the content produced. Donall Curtin also briefly engaged with this idea by explaining that collecting photography is another form of a self expression beyond the photographic process. Hodgson takes the concept further and poses that the audience can actually become an author of the content because they have the power to re-contextualise it by releasing and sharing it into different environments and potentially in different forms. The photograph can assume many different roles but I hadn’t really considered the role of the photograph for the ‘receiver’ and how this can actually affect the interpretation and essentially the effectiveness of the project which could reflect back and affect the integrity of the original image maker. Although I can’t completely control the manner in which my work is used after releasing it, I can consider how I can tailor this. I could release my content in a completely open space and take on the same ideals as Flickr where I am allowing my content to being reproduced and shaped by other practitioners, or I could attempt to restrict how the content is shared by putting a license on it and disabling the ability to reproduce in as many ways possible. Each approach has their advantages and disadvantages and I need to evaluate them in relation to the final outcome of my project in order to establish which is best suited to the content.

The curation of content is definitely a practice I need to consider as essentially I am producing this body of work to inhabit an exhibition space therefore I must make sure that it can communicate effectively. Katrina Sluis’ chapter in Newfotoscapes examines her role in the curation of the digital content at The Photographers Gallery and how the digital contemporary art can operate in a physical environment. Once the photograph is introduced to the digital environment the terminology surrounding the practice becomes uncertain and full of ambiguity; the Jpeg image on a screen is usually perceived as a photograph however it could also be viewed as a static video. Sluis described one of the most recent exhibitions which examined a trend generated and supported entirely by the public: which is cat videos. Although comical there are still serious undertones that reference the dynamics of online culture, similar to that of my final project. The curation of digital projects is definitely an aspect I need to research further to explore methods which I could utilise for my final major project therefore I will research Katrina Sluis’ work for The Photographers Gallery further.

Overall Newfotoscapes has been incredibly useful in providing me an overview of all the aspects to be considered in the production of digital photography from the research and the narrative of the content to considering how the audience might become authors and owners of what I produce. I have identified several research avenues to pursue beyond this book such as how Andy Adams discovers and shares content and Katrina Sluis’ curation of digital pieces for exhibiting. In addition to this I have the ideology from Stephen Mayes, David Campbell, Francis Hodgson and Dewi Lewis which I can continually refer to through my process of decision making and relate it to the narrative behind the project itself. I also have the work from practitioners such as Mishka Henner who works against some of the constraints and issues associated with the digital image and the image culture created. By combining all of the research and considering each different perspective I can make sure that my final major project is informed and that every decision made is done so for the right reasons.

 

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