This self-reflexive strand of Either/And will operate as a space to think about the project as a whole, and tease out links between the different strands below. It will include texts, conversations and images by artists, curators, picture editors, photo-bloggers designers and other individuals linked by practices that offer distinct and evolving perspectives on the roles played by photography in contemporary culture. A collection of commissioned slideshows will also appear each month. While the analogue slideshow has been a dominant mode for learning, story-telling and vernacular expression, its' digital successor has now become a crucial framework for visual communication on the web. As a distinct move away from the traditional online exhibition, and all the notions of undervaluation that term can imply, these visual contributions will seek to address the primacy of digital consumption and curation, and to reflect a culture edging toward a pinnacle of visual literacy.
Archiving on the Line: Photography Collecting and the Web
The digitisation of photographic collections opens up a space to reassess policies of collecting, archiving and exhibiting photography. It might be argued that digitisation fosters the formation of new and different types of archive, disrupting and undermining their formal status and offering fresh channels for accessing, experiencing and producing photography. This section of Either/And seeks to re-frame and re-formulate the meanings and potential of digital photographic archives, examining the phenomenon in relation to a range of issues. These will include the dislocated culture of the globalised present; the materiality, temporality and translatability of photography in the age of digital; and the impact upon art practice and the generation of knowledge.
Duncan Wooldridge, Jelena Stojkovic, Andreia Alves de Oliveira,
Network Society and the Spectacle: Photography and Exhibitionism
The cheapness of digital photography coupled with the ubiquity of digital cameras have led to billions of photographs being taken each year. This has further naturalised the act of photographing and, too, the act of being photographed. Web 2.0 technology has provided the means through which anyone can place photographs of their intimate moments in the public domain to be viewed by a potential audience of billions. This strand of Either/And will examine these changes in relation to a wider culture of exhibitionism, and the erosion of traditional distinctions between the public and private domains they have potentially contributed to. It aims to break from previous theorisations of photography in terms of production and spectatorship, by considering the effects of photography upon its subjects, tracing a desire to be seen across different branches of contemporary culture.
Tilting the Horizon: Reconsidering Amateur Photography
Since its inception, the overwhelming majority of photography has taken place outside of the realms of professional practice, yet little sustained and empirically grounded attention has been paid to the very many nuanced forms that exist within this vast, but rarely well-defined, ‘amateur’ category. Research has tended to cluster around certain sites and themes: the ideology of the family album; the apparently artless and hapless ‘snapshot’; and the ‘found’ photograph as a form of vernacular artistic inspiration, thus neglecting a range of amateur photographic positions beyond and between. Existing literature broadly divides between those who are, at times, vehemently dismissive of the apparently conventional aesthetics of popular practice, and those that privilege the non-professional with an almost outsider status, closer to photographic ‘authenticity’. This strand of Either/And seeks to problematise such binary oppositions, challenge existing knowledge, and reconsider the particular and distinctive positions of the amateur photograph and photographer, past and present.
- Reconsidering Amateur Photography: An Introduction
- When is a cliché not a cliché? Reconsidering Mass-Produced Sunsets
- Reconsidering Amateur Photography Symposium
- The Aspirational Tourist Photographer
- The Becoming-Photographer in Technoculture
- The Guardian Camera Club
- The Relational Amateur
- Mrs. Wagner's Aspirations
- Photography in the Middle
- The Photographer as Reader: The Aspirational Amateur in the Photo-Magazines
- Amateur Ornithology and Amateur Photography: Readers’ Photographs in The Emu
- Who were the amateur photographers?
Protest, Politics, Community: What Big Society?
The ‘Big Society’ was one of the central political slogans of the 2010 Conservative Party election manifesto, and has now emerged as a driving force behind the Coalition’s legislative programme. This ambiguous concept underpins an umbrella of policies supposedly geared towards empowering local people and communities as well as transferring power from politicians to people. Viewed critically, the ‘Big Society’ sanctions the State’s withdrawal from its social, political, moral and ethical responsibilities whilst simultaneously justifying an increase in private entrepreneurial initiatives and the transference of public service contracts to the private and voluntary sector. This interdisciplinary project will operate as a critical response to both the idea of the ‘Big Society’ and recent attempts by the government to direct future academic research. Our goal is to invigorate debate about old and new photographic practices, including community photography, protest photography, citizen photography, accidental journalism and politicised photographic practice in the British context.
Is Humanism Dead?
Originally based in Renaissance thought, humanism was revived as a secular philosophy in the 1930s. Humanist photography emerged during a similar period, as a subgenre of documentary photography identified with left-wing politics and an aim to use images as tools for activism or social reform. This section of Either/And asks whether contemporary photographic practices can be considered within the context of humanism, while aiming to reconstruct, re-read and challenge existing views of humanist photography. We will explore the evolution and relevance of the genre through a number of questions: Does the documentation of war, catastrophes, controversies and violence still function as humanist photography? If humanist photography exists, does it serve an activist purpose? What is the role of socially concerned photography in the current financial recession? How might it be used for community empowerment today?
The Social Medium: How Photography Shapes the World
Current discussions of 'social media' often suggest that what makes a medium ‘social’ are new forms of use, for example, as an interactive tool of data exchange like twitter. Such analyses potentially obscure the fact that all media are necessarily social. Probing the question of photography as 'the' social medium, this section of Either/And invites a re-examination of the social properties of media in fundamental terms, by focusing on the relationship between modes of image production, consumption and representation that shape the interpretation of actions and events in the world. Where existing literature has generally divided between a focus on the power of spectacle or the agency of viewers, we seek to move beyond such binaries, analysing the relationship between events, subjects and representation in terms of entanglement, not juxtaposition.
Image/Object: Photography’s New Materiality
Transformations in the digital technologies of the late-twentieth century have provoked an anxiety about the status of the photograph as object and image. Widely understood as immaterial and endlessly reproducible, the ubiquity of the digital networked image has prompted a questioning of the medium. Reconfigured as data for a potential (rather than a fully materialised) image, the photograph as an object has sometimes slipped from view. Perhaps in response, recent theory and practice has attempted to re-locate and redefine the photograph’s materiality. If not simply a nostalgic return aimed at shoring up the medium’s always unstable reflexive limits, or reactionary rejection of technological advance, how might we understand photography’s new materiality today? This project will engage with and conceptualise the materiality of the photograph in both its digital and analogue forms.
Use/Re-Use: Relations of Power in the Scavenged Image
Key branches of photographic theory have sought to discover or construct an ontology for photography, yet the medium’s social promiscuity has meant it remains a deeply ambiguous object of study, obstinate to such definitions. By focusing on the use and re-use of images, this project aims to move discussion beyond the image frame, addressing the photograph as an active catalyst for debate. It will explore the discursive potential of the photographic image, focusing on relationships between makers and users set in place through the use and re-use of imagery, and the encounters between people, histories and ideologies these produce. A focus on ‘re-use’ can challenge orthodox thinking on the medium which privileges uniqueness and authorship. It also raises questions about the adequacy of terms such as ‘appropriation’ to describe the rapid circulation of images in a digital age.
The Déjà Vu of September 11: An Essay on Intericonicity by Clement Cheroux.
Recently Added Content:
Click to View Slideshow by Katrina Sluis
Who Were the Amateur Photographers by Michael Pritchard
What Was Humanism by Blake Stimson. Part of the Humanism strand.
32 Smiths Square by Lisa Barnard and the response from Sarah James
Amateur Ornithology and Amateur Photography: Readers’ Photographs in The Emu has been submitted by Julia Peck and is her response to The Photographer as Reader: The Aspirational Amateur in the Photo-Magazines
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Tate Modern, East Room 14.00 – 16.00
£15, concessions available
Chaired by Olga Smith with a panel consisting of: Jean-Marc Bustamante,Joanna Lowry and Tamara Trodd
2 Day Conference at
De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
EVENT: 27-29 June 2013 - Professional Photography and Amateur Snapshots: Reconstructing Histories of Influence, Dialogue and Subversion
National College's Learning and Conference Centre, Triumph Road, Nottingham NG8 1DH
Uncertain State: Photography & the crisis in Ireland
How is photography responding to the crisis? How are artists addressing the effects of the global financial crisis, changing demographics, contested histories and emerging social and political landscapes?
Leading artists, critics and academics will explore how photographers are responding to this period of uncertainty and instability within Ireland and internationally. The weekend will provide a platform for lively discussion and debate on the role of photography and visual culture in attempting to understand what is emerging from the crisis.
Visit the website for further information and online booking. http://www.galleryofphotography.ie/tbpss/talks-programme/