NYPH 2011: Photography Now: Engaged, Personal, and Vital

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Subjective/Objective, suggests that despite the perceived view of documentary photography, and its imminent demise, the reverse is actually true, with the medium enjoying a remarkably ‘vibrant and creative’ period, as seen in the selection of photographers who frequently present a very personal visual language.

via wayneford’s posterous.

There Are 3 Comments On This Article.

  1. Documentary and photojournalism I think are nearing the end of the stage of metamorphosis how every that looks. I have seen way to many film documentary’s of late to say that the photo documentary is going to vanish into extinction. there is too much intimacy lost in the capturing film shots with numerous individuals coercing the moment to develop into what they think is should be. I think the photographer understands time and is willing to wait for what he anticipates to develop before its capture.

    I guess what I am saying is that there are tow paths taken, those who rush to grab the content and quick story and those who walk along exposed to the story and carefully orchestrate its collection and photography with the ease of a symphony conductor. JMHO

  2. Photography is, has been and always will be a fantasy. To freeze a moment is not natural and we have developed a curiosity for what it looks like – and the analysis it can provide. It is amazing to be able to explore this moment in depth, but only if people are interested in giving such thought. It challenges you to think of different perspectives which are being “documented” from a personal viewpoint. There has not been any revolution in this respect, it is just easier to spread it around the world due to the ease of digital imaging and the internet. It is no more vibrant or creative than when it first began.

    • @Bruce Malone, I agree with much of your statement. Further, from a creative POV, we now have an environment where so many documentary images exist with very little difference or signature in the style of the images. Most documentary images have a common appearance.

      If 500 of the better documentary image makers came together to create a published volume -each given a spread to fill with 2-4 images, 1000 pages total- I doubt most people would be able to make a distinction about who created which images. Unless an image maker is known for a unique specific subject the images today have very little unique value. This probably brings the market value down as well.

      In some cases we may even see little defensible in the way of copyright protections. (Imagine how many nearly identical styles of images are created at major tourist destinations during summer months. Say ‘Tunnel View Yosemite’, or ‘Grand Canyon view from the south rim’, or Mount Rushmore, etc. These images are usually so common (artless) there is nothing unique to copyright.