We all know what a photograph is. From a young child to an adult the complexities of the image turn from a simple concept to a constant battle. Current and previous questioning of the photograph need to exist for various uses. It's use to remember our fondest memories or document the damage to a car, to advertise a lifestyle or to show your parents what Venice looks like. It records what you look like at a certain age and how the world seemed at a certain point. With the broad nature of photography's interest and the demographic that use it, it is inevitable that photography tends to observe itself from the inside.
In the context of art the photograph has fought to earn its space on exhibition walls, whilst eventually overhauling painting as a reliable documentation. It can now stand in a room of accomplished paintings and encapsulate the same audience. Photography tends to, now, have its breathing space to create and develop incite into the things around us. What becomes interesting is the state of contemplation the medium undertakes at any chance. As photographic projects are so aware of the medium they use, there is no real ground to make up and time can be spent working with our current technologies. This awareness surpasses the initial curiosity of what the camera is and how we take a picture, instead we attempt an understanding of where photography lies in the context of our existence.
With so many questions asking 'what now?' photography has stagnated. We have stepped sideways, staying in the same print room peeking out the door to gather material to post produce. It is now stood still. But this is not a negative as the medium is in need of reassessment to develop the 'next' decisive step. This state of flux has lasted since the early 1970swhen Bernd and Hilla Becher would critic photography through repetition. The finishing line is not yet defined. The profession leaves itself in a mid life crisis and it is our responsibility to commit to old techniques or separate from stability. Are we to buy a sports car and become a bachelor or purchase a mini van and live in the suburbs. Us, as the operators behind the vehicle of change can dictate the next move in a medium that must now move on and form a route for itself.
As a process of unlimited description, what we choose to point the lens at becomes the next development. In a medium that has been questioning since its invention and as we have learnt and progressed the medium is no longer in its early stages but a mode of repetition. It is doused in the nauseating truth that everything has been photographed. The attempt to reinvent our surroundings becomes the most challenging aspect in moving on from the subject itself.
With new renditions of what photography could be, photography has taken a look at itself in this period. Working in the studio, using cutting boards and challenging what photography is today. Technology has taken hold of previous original methods and have caused dramatic changes in how a photograph is captured. We have new discussion points now. Digital manipulation can occur with some of the most respected artists. Interestingly with Edgar Martins in 2008. His This is not a house series involved digital manipulation which affected the validity of the images. When TLP spoke to him later this year he rendered his desire to create fiction in the locations, manipulating to create the desired atmosphere.
"So I viewed this project from the outset as a platform to rethink and reconceptualise a particularly contemporary landscape and phenomenon. So the project sought to catalyse and reunite fresh experiences of a new form of American architecture by summoning, what I like to call, a disquieting conjunction of realism and fiction." - Edgar Martins in an interview with TLP this year.
It is clear that we continue to search, and photographs about photographs will continue to exist. It is too influential a medium to avoid itself. It is too incestuous as a community to avoid other photographers. It is a bubble where creative people play around with imagery and that will never stop being like this - nor should it. Photography has rapidly changed and its, now, open nature leaves us with new questions to answer, when it seemed it was running out of steam. To acknowledge this opportunity is something we should all be incredibly excited by.
All images are copyrighted © to the respected artists featured.