If you got some spare time: interesting piece by Trevor Paglen on the excellent photography blog Still Searching. Paglen asks what, if anything, has “changed” about photography over the last decade or so. To him, traditional approaches to doing-photography and thinking-about-photography feel increasingly anachronistic, not only because the rise of digital photography and image processing software have fundamentally altered the craft. The digital “revolution” has meant an upheaval in the photographic landscape.
Over the next few weeks, Paglen will explore and expanded definition of photography and at the same time explore the implications of that expanded definition:
I’ll start by introducing the idea of photography as seeing machines and explore questions such as: How do we see the world with machines? What happens if we think about photography in terms of imaging systems instead of images? How can we think about images made by machines for other machines? What are the implications of a world in which photography is both ubiquitous and, curiously, largely invisible?
Without question, the 21st century will be a photographic century. Photography will play a more fundamental role in the functioning of 21st century societies than 20th century practitioners working with light-sensitive emulsions and photographic papers could have ever dreamed. So while in one sense photography might be “over,” in another, it’s barely gotten going. And we haven’t seen anything yet.
As said, if you got some time read the whole thing (and the comments!).
Better even, stay tuned and follow the online discourse on Fotomuseum blog to find out what it’s all about these 21st century seeing machines…