an exhibit at MOCCA,
part of CONTACT Photography Festival
Like the introduction of film photography once usurped the role of painters and engravers, the introduction of digital photography has supplanted the photographer of old. We are all photographers now. A smartphone. A little bit of software. And presto, you have a picture. Many, many bazillions of pictures. Photography excels at visually telling stories, documenting events or capturing a moment in time either with a single image or in a series of photos. The expression ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ comes to mind. Even a blurry selfie says something.
Photography has always had an uneasy relationship with art (with the fine art, visual artsy stuff in particular). This art, while also visual, often has a slightly different focus. It too aims to elicit emotions and reactions but no one expects an artwork to document or to tell a story albeit some do. But art too is in flux (and probably has been for a while). What hasn’t already been done? What rules are left to break?
So what’s a photographer to do?
Part of the description of this exhibit states: “placing photography in conversation with other artistic mediums – particularly painting and sculpture – to create hybrid works that are only part picture”.
Experiments with chemicals on photographic paper; experiments with photoshop artifacts as part of the image; experiments with how one frames or hangs a picture. What is photography anyhow?
below: close up of part of the picture from above, the one that is hung perpendicular to the wall.
Just because something is different doesn’t mean that it’s good just as not all experiments are a success but kudos to those who try. I will leave it to you to decide which category (good/bad) these pictures fall into.