Wednesday 2 May 2012

Is Photography Over?

Here's a blast from the not-too-distant past. Back in 2010 SFMOMA organised a fantastic two-day symposium, Is Photography Over? which has since prompted much debate on the current state of the medium.

Photography has almost always been in crisis. In the beginning, the terms of this crisis were cast as dichotomies: is photography science or art? Nature or technology? Representation or truth? This questioning has intensified and become more complicated over the intervening years. At times, the issues have required a profound rethinking of what photography is, does, and means. This is one of those times. Given the nature of contemporary art practice, the condition of visual culture, the advent of new technologies, and many other factors, what is at stake today in seeing something as a photograph? What is the value of continuing to speak of photography as a specific practice or discipline? Is photography over?

SFMOMA invited a range of major thinkers and practitioners to write brief responses to this question and then to convene for a two-day summit on where photography is at. Participants include Vince Aletti, George Baker, Walead Beshty, Jennifer Blessing, Charlotte Cotton, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Geoff Dyer, Peter Galassi, Corey Keller, Douglas Nickel, Trevor Paglen, Blake Stimson, and Joel Snyder.

Additional responses to the question and reports on the research project can be found on their blog, Open Space.

Below is the entire video recordings from the event, split up according to the various sessions held across the two days:

Day One, Part One

Topics broached - Anxiety about the future of photography. Do we need to talk about photography? Why do pictures mean something to us?

Day One, Part Two

Topics broached - Aspects of photography to be removed. Can we agree on what photography means? What has changed?

Day Two, Part One

Topics broached - History of image manipulation. Photographer or artist who uses photography? What if analogue photography becomes nothing more than a hobby?

Day Two, Part Two

Topics broached - What is contemporary? Issues of authorship. Responses of the gallery/museum to the changes in photography.

Day Two, Part Three

Topics broached - Overlapping use of still and moving image. Age of uncertainty? Size of prints and the art market. 

These videos were originally posted on SFMOMA's YouTube channel.