Photographers without Photographs: The Internet as Primary Resource

Photographers without Photographs: The Internet as Primary Resource

Hernando Gómez Gómez (Universidad Europea de Madrid, Spain) and Enrique Corrales Crespo (Universidad Europea de Madrid, Spain)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2061-0.ch003
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The modern society establishes a complex relationship that combines the visual overload derived from technology insertion which is adapted to the today´s needs and executed through devices swiftly embraced. In this certain sense, one of the most overloaded environments currently is, in fact, the photography. The internet and digital mass media development have promoted to get a surprising image surplus, impossible to distinguish between the real occurrence and the photographic observed event. Therefore, is necessary to contemplate a sustainable scenario in photography. It must determinate a balance between images which are produced, consumed and those which can be assumed by society. The photography evolution and the new denomination PostPhotography installs a brand new discourse initially literal, linked to words and needing a unit of speech to make exist the images.
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One of the main consequences of information overload in the digital era is oversaturation of photographic images. This fact causes the nature of photography to change from one related to index to one related to the appropriation, editing and transformation of images. In this article, we intend to demonstrate how this communication overload is directly linked to new photographic/postphotograpic uses and practices.

We take as our starting point the indisputable fact that in the twenty-first century we are exposed to the greatest overload of images ever in the history of mankind, most of them of photographic origin. This fact is fundamentally changing the nature of photography, reformulating practices, interpretations, meanings, categories and relationships with the medium.

This scenario strikes us as especially exciting because it represents the definitive emancipation of the photographic medium from the visual submission referred to by Joan Costa (1991). This submission occurs when an image aims to reproduce or represent a reality outside of itself, when it tries “to present the appearance of an absent object” (Costa, 1991, page 8). If photography seeks to find its autonomy in visual submission, it will basically be redundant. Photography’s current insubordination is reminiscent of painting’s evolution towards pure creation since the mid-nineteenth century.

In this study, we pay special attention to contemporary photographic practices which use the internet as a primary resource. There are some visual artists we like to define with a certain degree of irony as anti-photographers, to borrow the term used by Nancy Foote (2004). The term refers to artists who use multiple strategies such as appropriation, editing, re-contextualization, intervention, redefining archives, etc. We understand the term appropriation to mean the action of taking possession of images already captured by others without contemplating the concept of authorship. The creation of photographs is dismissed and undervalued precisely because of information overload in the digital era. However, the mere fact that the artist reuses existing images causes the appeal of its discourse to have an impact on the debate about excess (understood as an overload).

Many of these practices were already present in the avant-gardes but have been updated through digital media and practices, leading to a profound reflection on the ontology of the medium. Robert Shore, in his recently published book Post-Photography: The Artist with a Camera (2014), focuses on this relationship with the photographic, including it among contemporary post-photographic practices. See Laurence Aëgerter art work “Healing Plants for Hurt Landscapes”

Dealing with these types of photographic practices forces us to redefine Photography and relate it to what is being called Post-Photography; identifying and delimiting the syntactical elements of the medium on the one hand, and the semantic universe of the photographic and post-photographic construct on the other.

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