I attended this lecture in November with The Open College of the Arts and unfortunately I was very poorly throughout. Although I had a very efficient note taker I am still unable to recall enough about the lecture to be able to describe thoroughly the concepts that were being spoken about.
The first person to speak was Roger Hargreaves and, at this point, I was still fairly attentive. He gave a very interesting insight into the role of amateur photography in the narrative of the Obama election campaign in 2007/8. For the first time amateurs were actively encourage to take photographs with there phones and professionals were all but redundant. The election campaign was based on active participation on the voter and this appealed directly to the younger audience. Campaign workers and supporters were able to upload there images on to the election website. There were 250,000 images uploaded for the Obama campaign but only 13,000 for McCain. Interestingly the website was designed but somebody who had been involved with the development of Facebook.
To my mind the Obama campaign was radical in it’s approach to using the voter to document the campaign. Further comment was made about the ‘dying’ photojournalism industry as editors prefer to use amateur sources. It’s certainly cheaper but is it better? Well I think there is certainly a place for both.
Oh dear. His lecture was entitled ‘Enough is enough’.
Whilst I have sympathy with much of what he was saying it was all doom and gloom and the doom and gloom started with the dire shape that photography education was in. He stated that much of the course content was too similar, borrowed from film courses and didn’t keep up with the changing landscape of photography.
He went on to say that there were no grants, industries were not investing in professional photography as amateur ‘iPhone’ images were an awful lot cheaper.
He admitted he was getting lots of his chest and one of his other gripes was a recent exhibition where people were invited to engage with the art but thought it was okay to walk away with ‘bits of it’.
I began to switch off when he went on to moan about Russians….
I am sure there are many truths in what he was saying and difficulties within the art industry but what it all had to do with sharing photographs in a digital age I am still trying to work out.
I tried hard not to get irritated but struggled. As far as I am concerned the changes in the industry and globalisation has happened. We sink or we swim or do something about it all. Whilst it is must be very difficult for those who started out life under ‘the old watch’ we all just have to get on with it and get creative. I can’t be doing with such negativity and if he wants to give up then so be it.
Alexandra spoke about the ‘post photographic age’.
Her lecture spoke about the invention of Google glassed (the concept had been invented 20 years ago by Steve Mann). She showed a clip of google glasses being worn during a parachute jump. (To be honest is was very similar to Go Pro video).
Alexandra spoke about the transition from a ‘point and shoot fashion’ to a ‘shoot and share ‘ era. There was also evidence about how everybody wanted to record moments in their lives and a photograph of the 2005 papal election was shown alongside the 2013 election. In the former nobody in the audience was seen to be recording events but by 2013 the heads of the audience were replaced by a sea of mobile image capturing devices at arms length above heads.
Where photography was 20 years ago, where it is now as a visual chit chat on sites such as flickr and where photography is going with the masses in the future were spoken about eloquently and gave food for thought as to how we define ourselves as photographers within this image making frenzy.