Monthly Archives: October 2017

Pandora’s Camera: A Review

Pandora’s Camera; Photography after Photography (The mystery of the missing nipple)
Author: Joan Fontcuberta

Spoiler Alert: Digital surgery is a lie.

The use of image manipulation is discussed by Joan Fontcuberta in ‘The mystery of the missing nipple’. The text’s accessibility allows the reader to follow the excerpt through topics of photoshopping celebrities and the use of digital retouching in photojournalism.
The text begins by exploring the use of photoshop on commercial photographs. Keira Knightley has formerly posed for film promotional posters and company advertising campaigns where her breasts have been digitally altered to appear larger. Fontcuberta discusses how instances such as these are now seen as normal due to our ability to become more focused upon the image than the real thing, it is taken for granted and has become a default post-production process. Continuing on to discuss the use of theses processes through photojournalism; Fontcuberta verifies the complication of the distinction between intent and moral issues by drawing our attention to photographer Brian Walski. In 2003, Walski who was a staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times; had a photograph published of a British soldier on the outskirts of Basra, pointing his gun at a group of Iraqis. Walski later admitted that he had digitally combined two photographs to create more drama within the composition. Having done this, the photograph displayed civilians in the background of the photograph that appeared twice. The editors at the Los Angeles Times saw this as an ethical issue that discredited the authenticity of journalism. However, the readily available techniques of digital manipulation enables editors to also photoshop images without being held immediately accountable. ‘The hypocrisy in all this is that editors rend their garments and wave codes of ethics in the air when these things are done by photographers, but are perfectly happy to permit and justify them when they coincide with the institutional or corporate interests of their papers.’

Rebranding Photography; A Review

Changing places: The rebranding of photography as Contemporary Art.
Author: Alexandra Moschovi

Spoiler Alert: Photography IS Art

Alexandra Moschovi discusses within this excerpt the reasons and ideas behind the exclusion of and prejudice against photography from the rest of the art world and how those views have been refashioned through the emergence of photography as contemporary art. She starts by explaining that major Art galleries such as the Tate Gallery would prefer to collect an array of artists rather than photographs. This is evidenced with a quote taken from a published interview; in which the then director of the Tate Gallery Alan Bowness states rather retrogressively that unless the artists were to use photography as an immediate and natural extension of their usual practices, their photographs wouldn’t be collected.
A further point made, focuses upon the concept of ‘Monopoly Rent’. The justified ‘Monopoly price’ for a specific commodity that is based upon varying criteria. Reproducible, widely available, easily distributed and marketable are some of the qualities that a photograph hold, which are said to erase any given Monopoly advantages. Photographs are seen to be particularly commonplace, easily created due to a wide array of photographic technologies, and the elitist community of artists and galleries couldn’t place the value within photography when copies of the same photograph belong to more than one museum.
Photography has now been rebranded as a form of contemporary art. All lens-based Media is now sectioned under the same thematic as it has become a more affordable and available art form.

Beauty in photography; A Review

Beauty in photography; essays in defence of traditional values

Author: Robert Adams

Spoiler alert: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Form creates beauty. When considering the former; it is wise to distinguish whether the beauty applied to a specific photograph or artwork is embodied directly through the subject matter or situated in the construction and composition of the piece. Robert Adams dissects the relationship between beauty and art. He specifically applies his thoughts and opinions to photography in the text ‘Beauty in photography’.
Adams discusses the concept of beauty needing to feel accessible and commonplace to the viewer. He states that a photograph that looks as if it has been easily executed is more convincingly beautiful. However, it is explained; that he certainly doesn’t feel that any artwork is easy to make and brings to our attention an example (Mu Ch’i’s ink drawing ‘The Six Persimmons’) of an unforgettable piece of artwork, that looks beautifully effortless whilst appreciating the study and control that it took to create.
Another aspect of this text, that I found interesting, is the idea that artists choose to create based upon their ‘amazement at subject matter’. The subject could be as limited as a bell pepper. Although, the photographer Edward Weston’s shot ‘Pepper No. 30’ depicts the unlimited beauty, form and tone found within a simple black and white image. Lastly, the text indicates towards the idea and well known saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. If the particular form of a subject matter; whether abstract or realist, allows both the photographer and the viewer to witness the rediscovery of beauty, it has been a successful experience.