The notion that we have entered into a post-photographic era, propelled by digital imaging technologies means the role of the creator, the ‘photographer,’ is questioned alongside this. Which defining feature or characteristic of the photograph is inherent nowadays, if any? It cannot be defined by grain or pixel, or by its history or use of a camera to capture.
This article in Frieze Magazine divides photography in two directions: painting and sculpture. Photography relating to painting may deal with the materiality of physical or digital surface, while photography relating to sculpture is more geared towards exploring the space, depth and placement of object. While this is not a new concept, it does draw a rational parallel with the other mediums and pinpoint a few out of the hundreds and thousands of directions photography has, and will go in. The possibilities are endless.
I do think though at same time as we rebel against the grain of photographic ‘truth’, there is also this resurgent desire for the aesthetics of the vernacular snapshot. It has the ability to fabricate emotion and timelessness or nosalgia. It feels real.
Working and thinking as a both a commercial photographer and a photographic artist, I alternate in creating things that embody both views of the medium; one day working to challenging the idea of photographic veracity, the next to provide images that ‘document’ and ‘capture.’ To be honest it can be confusing, and often a challenge to shift mindset or even confidently explain to anyone what I do to. Perhaps best thought of in the same way a paintbrush can be used paint a house or paint an artwork- the camera does not determine the outcome or serve to be the defining factor in what makes a photograph a photograph.