A Sea Of Images

How the photographic reproduction of objects can change meaning with culture, context and time. Photography’s popularity comes from its vastly differing yet very helpful uses. These uses are not static either as they evolve and adapt to societies uses and needs.
First operation performed under anaesthetic was re-staged for photography which borrowed from painterly traditions in its representation and staging.
The myth of tourist and cultural iconography was created by photography so that we become disappointed with the real thing because it does not live up to the photographic image we have come to expect.
And now so we feel responsible to ape the images that came before when the time comes to capture our version of these scenes (image of tourists propping up the leaning tower of Pisa) photography referencing photography ad infinitum
Manovich points out that, just as with film cameras, we only bring out the camera for special occasions despite the fact that we are documenting every mundane little minutia via our smart-phones and tablets. Is this strictly true? How many family weddings, birthdays etc are documented using an SLR compared to an iPad even though they are so unwieldy and awkward to capture compared to a pocket camera?
What ordinary images do you make?…I don’t which is rather worrying – commemorative shots or pretty sunrises, the pets and special occasions are taken by my husband ; what does that say about me and my character?
Benjamin writes of the desire to possess an object “by way of it’s likeness, it’s reproduction” does this still hold true today. There certainly appears to be the need to prove something (an object, possession or experience) by posting it on social media … “You know the rules …. if it isn’t on Instagram it didn’t happen”, but is it not also true that we feel the need to impress with our artistic eye in addition – think all the filter apps that we use to enhance the image we have taken
“Susan Sontag cites Zola with this regard, that we cannot claim to have seen reality before having photographed it, but she goes on to rightly propose that the reality offered to us by the photograph is often merely the norm for the way that things appear or are presented to us, and that this changes the idea of realism itself.”
Benjamin says the meaning of a work of art is changed when it’s reproduced because its value comes from its status as being the original of many copies – yet the reproduction may be the only version many of us are ever able to see. “The value is not in the uniqueness, but in the aesthetic, cultural and social worth of the image. “
We live in a era of ‘hyper-representation’ – where we judge reality through representations & how closely it reality copies representations
how important is a mass existence over a unique existence?
and how can a reproduction reach us in our own situation today?
Are reproductions valuable in their own right?
Do you think that it makes the original even more valuable?
And, are reproductions important for the actualisation of that which is reproduced here?
Baudrillard warns we are in danger of being unable to recognise reality due to the pervasiveness of the photographic reality and we are left with the ‘empty simulacrum’
Image of Che Guevara has morphed so completely that it is no longer the man himself but a logo for left-wing politics & the irony that the consumerisation of his image is anathema to what the man himself stood for.
Sontag “Reality has come to seem more and more like what we are shown by cameras”
We use Instagram to present an idealised version of the self & does this set unrealistic expectations for the people that follow these Instagram ‘stars’? (Chomp Baritone #Slowlife project)
“have subverted traditional notions of truth, authenticity and originality, compelling us to be more knowing about the nature and status of images.”  Robins 1995
“unnatural to travel for pleasure without taking a camera along. Photographs .. offer .. evidence that the trip was made,…that fun was had. “ Sontag
“Rough Guide books, have sections on where to take the best photograph of the scene. Is it really the best, or is it merely adhering to a list of vernacular rules about apparently what makes a good photograph? “
“converting experience into a souvenir” Sontag
Ingrid Pollard critiques the myth of pastoral England in this multi-cultural age where we are too used to seeing the landscape as dominion of the white patriarchy
Are we reaching an age where we can no longer tell the original from the simulacrum?
“(photography) create the comfortable illusions by which we live.” Grundberg
We are used to reading the iconography that we recognise fictional characters in film merely by their physical characteristics (think cowboy with the black hat in westerns)
Cultural myths so embedded in our society we no longer recognise their artifice
Baudrillard correctly reminds us, we live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning
Andy Grundberg reminds us that there is one lesson that we can learn from photographs, that images exist not to be believed, but to be interrogated
how do you interrogate your images?
And, how do you want them to be read?
Do you recycle any cultural myths,
And can we be original anymore?

National Geographic: Representing, Re-Presenting, Reproducing

National Geographic ”ethnographic pastoral” mode.
Iconographic brand – widely recognised & read / accessed (web & TV channel). Is it just “Pictorial Iconography” or does it perform a more important role? The brand does fund charity work & does promote a humanist / green agenda
Beware of taking such beautiful images at face value, when they just show us what we already expect we know about the world. It is made by and consumed by western ideals & therefore is little better than showing us a modern empirical gaze
is it a filter through which the geographical diversity of the rest of the world is represented to us?
Moore in National Geographic Press “re-imagine our storytelling in fresh ways” – the word storytelling does not engender truth – we usually associate this word with fictional tales & myths
Sam Abell’s Red Square (National Geographic disregards evidence for pictorial appeal)
There is always a power differential when speaking or photographing ‘the other’
the image of the other is juxtaposed with western consumer items
Panethnicity –
As John [Holt] writes in Third Text, to name, to write, to image is power. The possession of an illusionary duplicate is an aid to mastery and ownership through colonialism
Does the gaze into the camera confront us, and therefore negate our peeping, or does it comply that the subject acknowledges our right to look at them?

•    Any power relations inherent in your work.
•    Any ideological issues you should consider.
•    How you represent, re-present and reproduce.

Identity in the age of the Internet – Sherry Turkle

The potential to create your very own (ideal?) persona that the Internet has given to us. The self can be split in to as many Windows as you can fit on your desktop – should you wish. Think parallel universes much admired in Science Fiction as well as Alice Through The Looking Glass and it’s tradition of the uncaniness (Das Unheimlich) of the mirror world.
Postmodern ideas of ‘decentered’, ‘fluid’, ‘nonlinear’, and ‘opaque.

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