Post-Photography Assignment Brief

The aim of this module is to enable students to show the transition from a “traditional” photographic supplier to an informed “post-photographic” storyteller.

Start by considering Fred Ritchin’s comment from After Photography;

‘In the digital environment a new kind of photograph emerges, neither mirror nor window but a mosaic. It allows for multiple pathways leading to new avenues of exploration – a hypertext. Like Alice’s mirror, the hypertext photograph can lead to the other side, whether to explore a social situation or to create an image poem. The photograph is no longer a tangible object, a rectangle resembling a painting, but an ephemeral image made of tiles.’

Was he saying that digital images are now all ‘Simulacra’ in the manner that Baudrillard interprets their connection to reality?

Photographs have always been half-truths, so can we use that to our advantage in creating visual poems?

Through a set of 10-15 photographic pieces* you should examine a journey inspired by truth or fiction. This could be an epic adventure like the Life of Pi or the distance from your fingers to the keyboard.

Your images should provoke the reader to interrogate their meaning. The images could be accompanied by text or they could become a pathway through to another screen. The final work should take the audience on a journey, one that leaves them compelled to ask questions about your presented virtual reality.

You are expected to experiment with different approaches and challenge the boundaries of visual photographic expression.

Useful reference material might come in the form of images from social media, magazines, blogs, films, books, music, advertising in all its forms, the family photo album and other practitioners.

Your research (included within your blog) should detail the development of your ideas, and your practice as well as any shifts in the direction of the project. The blog should include weekly reflections (approximately 100-200 words in length) throughout the duration of the module.

*A “photographic piece” refers to either a single photographic image or collection thereof (in the form of a montage or diptych, triptych etc).


Initial Thoughts:

The key element to this brief is to try and embrace the concept of post-photography, changing from a traditional photographer, to a post photographer. The brief draws on the ideas of Fred Ritchin in relation to post-photography, however I believe that the lecture material will continue to develop and build on this concept. Fred Ritchin comments on how the digital age has changed the traditional analogue practice of photography. With advanced technology, which is more user-friendly, there are many more photographers now than there was when only analogue was available. In addition to digital cameras, the camera phone has become such a prominent element in daily life and the practice of photography.

The term photography now covers such a vast range of equipment, purposes and outcomes and there is much debate about what the photograph is anymore. In the context of the module Phonar (Photography and Narrative) we explored the idea of the photograph representing this analogue creation, using the term image to define an outcome that was created using digital technology. This separation between photograph and image helped us better define what practice we were considering. However the creation of the photograph is not the end point, traditionally photographs could be displayed in various different physical ways, from galleries to newspapers. This complicates the idea of a separation between photograph and image, because a photograph that has been made with analogue technology, could then be made digital through processes such as the scanning and uploading of a negative or print. In addition to this, the original form of the photograph could be changed once in a digital context, with the advanced and extended editing capabilities available from digital technology. Although assigning different terms can help to identify different types and approaches to photography, it is extremely hard to simplify a process that keeps growing, developing and intersecting.

My initial idea of what a post-photographer is, stems from an introduction to what a post-digital publication could be, which I was introduced to on the module: Open and Social Media. A post-digital publication is an outcome that considers the physical and digital technology available and chooses a process and practice that is suitable for the content the publication engages with. This choice doesn’t necessarily have to be exclusive to the physical or the digital, it could be a hybrid of both or take different forms in a physical/digital context. The key element is to acknowledge all processes and not be distracted by the revolutionary nature of developing digital technology, using it just because it is new. Post-digital isn’t necessarily a retro-rejection of digital technology, but a retrieval of methods that might have been forgotten or overshadowed by the digital age. Therefore I my idea of a post-photographer, is one who considers each and everyone of the different types of photography being practiced in the world and choose which approach suits the subject matter you want to represent. Just like the post-digital publication, the post-photographer doesn’t necessarily have to be exclusive to one photographic process, as some of the most interesting projects have engaged with a notion of hybridity. Or they have acknowledged that the form of their photographic project might need to change to be viewed effectively in a physical/digital context. I believe that the key concept of the post-photographer is the ability to understand the motives, purposes and effects behind each method of photography and be able to reflect and comment on this in their own work.

I expect my definition of the post-photographer to develop throughout the module and as the brief states, I will be making weekly reflections on the content that is explored and how this changes my idea of what post-photography is and what my response to this brief could be.


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