Research

Conceptual artists David Rule and Kenneth Goldsmith work with the relationship between photography and text. Rule analyses whether text can be as descriptive as a photograph. While Goldsmith does similar, he also examines the online world as a tangible object in his project printing off the internet. Eric Kessels instead works with mass media and shows us the amount of images uploaded to flickr in 24hours. He presents the images within the walls of an exhibition space that is left visually damaged by multitude of photographs. Through understanding the ideas from photographers, I then looked into theory. Fred Ritchin looks for ways we can move forward with digital photography, suggesting that we look into metaphotography to make sense of redundant content online. Metaphotographers take the images of others and contextualise them to tell a more appropriate and accurate narrative, not by manipulating the images, but surrounding them with other images and text that gives them the voice that they didn’t have on their own. Furthermore, both Paul M Smith and Joan Fontcuberta question authorship and truth. Smith tackles more about the digital world and how we can manipulate images freely to create different faces. Fontcuberta shows more about how we can place manipulated images in a context of familiar documents, and consider them more as a truth, but constructing narratives about fiction. Clay Shirky and Kevin Kelly however question the internet. Shirky considers the quality of online content to be reduced, purely because we are all publishers regardless of our knowledge or values. The internet is seen as a copy machine by Kevin Kelly, he argues that it fails to embody like the artefact can, and therefore lacks originality because it is a skeuomorphic representation of the artefact.

However, other research employs connectivity and community. Understanding the conversation about metaphotography, we see youtube as an incredibly collaborative medium. Michael Wesch extends this point and uses the Romanian song ‘Numa Numa’s rise to fame as a product of youtube’s participatory culture; people making videos in response to it, thus sharing the content and spreading the community. We see films like ‘Life In A Day’, ‘Senna’ and ‘One Day On Earth’ as examples of this participation. Films that appropriate the content of others to create a film edited together to tell a narrative. Appropriation shows us how we can now take work from others more freely. It shows the accessibility of content, and contextualises it to tell a specific narrative. Helen Stead believes it adds new dialogues to the work. Mishka Henner does this with his project ‘No Mans Land’, taking photos taken by google street view to tell a narrative about prostitutes in Italy. It in fact contextualises the images and the medium shows us how common these scenes are on the side of Italian roads. John Maloof presents the life’s work of Vivian Maier, regardless of whether she wants us to see the work, it is there for us to see in because of appropriation. The late Maier’s secrecy is what makes the work so intriguing, and Maloof publishes what she might never have wanted us to see.

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