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  • Damien Williams

Positions and Practice Week 1: A Worldwide Medium

Do you see any parallels between the historic spread of photography and the transmission of digital imagery today?

I feel that the parallels between the historic spread of photography and the current transmission of digital imagery are clear. A sudden democratisation of both which rested with easing of the process of converting the capture of an image rather than the techniques involved in creation or observation. The net result was increased portability and a sociological impact on how images were consumed and used.

The fascination with ‘self’ and the perceived sense of capturing reality or subverted reality to create an avatar. The development of the selfie and augmented reality avatars is moving our self-projections towards the abstract and moving away from depicting reality in our images. This is a return to ‘capturing the essence of the subject’ in a portrait similar to the late 1800s.

The speed at which the photograph moves presents certain issues. We still haven’t worked out what photography is yet. Is it the process? The end product? What is a photograph? Is it an object? Do we in fact make photographs any more or simply images? As images are virtual by nature, do they exist as an artefact? The faster we can transmit an object the more ephemeral it becomes. This then has an impact on the purpose of the image. Is it meant to be permanent? Does that affect historical or scientific validity? Is there a point where a photograph/image becomes digital art or can we fuse analog and digital technology to create something else? As I use both film and digital means to create imagery does that make me a mixed media or multi-disciplinary artist?

Answers to come... I'm sure!

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