The Death of Photography?

Flour Paste

30 Photos That Perfectly Capture The Finals Week Struggle
Final Exam will be posted to Blackboard Friday evening, May 12 and must be submitted by Monday, May 15 at 11:59 PM.
Sally Mann, Flour Paste, 1989.











Historic Context
1965 National Endowment for the Arts created, $2.4 million budget
1988 Perfect Moment exhibition at Institute of Contemporary Arts, Philadelphia
1989 Perfect Moment exhibition at the Museum of Contemprary Art, Chicago
Perfect Moment exhibition canceled two weeks before opening at Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C.
Senate debate against NEA support of Perfect Moment
Robert Mapplethorpe dies of AIDS
1990 Perfect Moment exhibition at the University Art Museum, UC Berkeley
Perfect Moment exhibition at Cincinnati Contemporary Arts
Dennis Barrie acquited of charges of pandering and obscenity related to Perfect Moment exhibition
Robert Mapplethorpe, American Flag, 1987.


























Self-Portrait with Bullwhip

Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait with Bullwhip, 1978.










Piss Christ

Andres Serrano, Piss Christ, 1987.











Transcripts of Senate debate on Piss Christ photo
The Guardian editorial on the work's recent destruction
Piss Christ destroyed after being hammered and stabbed with a screwdriver in 2011











Madonna and Child

Transcripts of Senate debate on Serrano's photo
Sister Wendy on Serrano's Piss Christ
Andres Serrano explains:
"As a former Catholic, and as someone who even today is not opposed to being called a Christian, I felt I had every right to use the symbols of the Church and resented being told not to."
"I have always felt that my work is religious, not sacrilegious."
"I think if the Vatican is smart, someday they'll collect my work."
Vandalism of Piss Christ
Andres Serrano, Madonna and Child, 1989.












Joel-Peter Witkin, Poet:  From a collection of relics and ornaments, 1986.











Le Baisier

Joel Peter Witkin, Le Baisier (New Mexico), 1982.











Un Santo Oscuro

Joel-Peter Witkin, Un Santo Oscuro, 1987.


More Witkin





















First digital image created using a rotating drum scanner. It only measured 176 pixels.
Kodak engineer named Steven Sasson created the first digital camera. It was a toaster-size prototype capturing black-and-white images at a resolution of 0.1 megapixels. Images were stored on casette tapes.
Knoll brothers develop Photoshop and create the first Photoshopped image.
First professional digital camera available for $13,000
First camera phone produced.
Kodak announced it would stop marketing traditional still film cameras and has since ceased production on a number of analog cameras.
Kodak announced it would stop producing black-and-white photo paper.
Kodak files for bankruptcy protection, selling many patents, except in its movie division.
After ceasing production in 2012, Kodak begins producing slide film again.
1,272,100,000,000 photos will be taken
80% of those photos will be taken with mobile phones
4.9 trillion photos will be stored











John Knoll, Jennifer in Paradise, 1987.






















In the analogue era, we could assume that the manipulated image was the exception to the rule

In the digital era, we must assume the opposite because the digital image is infinitely malliable
“People are much more willing to believe that pictures lie than that they can express any kind of truth.” – Laurie Simmons
Thomas Struth, Pantheon, 1989.











Gordon Gahan's image of the Great Pyramids (left) and altered photo used as National Geographic cover, 1982.











Newsweek and Time Magazine covers after arrest of O.J. Simpson, 1994.











Anonymous, Tourist Guy, 2001.











  • After losing his mobility and personal freedom, Jeffries uses the camera to exist in the world
  • He lives vicariously through the people seen across the courtyard as though they were projected images
  • The screen/ images become a substitute reality
  • He establishes early on that his "reality," his "true self" is on assignment with his camera. His apartment, Lisa and his broken leg are mere and inconsequential fragments of his "true self."
Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window Film Still, 1954.











In a culture glutted with images, do we substitute reality for photographic fictions?
Do we avoid our own realities with idealized photographs?
Thomas Struth, Hermitage 5, 2005.









Just as with WWII, photography has begun an important shift since 9/11
























Joel Meyerowitz, World Trade Center, Archive Project, 2001.











Joe Rosenthal, Raising Old Glory at Iwo Jima, 1945.
Thomas E. Franklin, Flag Raising at Ground Zero, 2001.











Thomas Ruff, Jpeg ny02, 2004. 8 ft. 10 in. x 11 ft. 11 3/8 in.











Our image technologies have proven so successful in their strategies, that they lead us to question reality itself and make the possible look artificial. When viewing the images and footage of the attacks on the World Trade Centers, many responded by saying, "it looked like a movie." The image is more real than real, hyper real, and we often prefer it that way.











Farenheit 451, 1966

Toy Story, first CGI feature-length animation.
Ice Age, first full-length feature animated film exclusively rendered in CGI
Gollum from Lord of the Rings becomes first digital actor to win an award (Critics' Choice)
Avatar, first full-length movie made using performance capture to create photorealistic 3D characters and to feature a fully CG 3D photorealistic world.











Symptomatically, the value we give to the photograph is changing...


Cowboy 2

Richard Prince, Untitled Cowboys #2, 1989.


On November 8th, 2005, Richard Prince's Cowboy sold at Christie's Art auction for $1,248,000
setting world auction record for photography











This record was broken in 2006 auction of works from
Georgia O'Keefe's collection

An image by Stieglitz of Georgia nude sold for $1,360,000
Another image by Stieglitz taken of Georgia's hands sold for $1,472,000
Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia's Hands, 1918.











Andreas Gursky's 99 Cent II Diptychon sold for $3,346,456 at auction in February, 2007 making it the most expensive photograph until....

Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent Diptychon, 2001.











Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent, 1999.


99 Cent: A Look at the Widespread Confusion Over a Photo Gursky DIDN'T Shoot











Andreas Gursky, Amazon, 2016. 13' X 8' single digital image.


Andreas Gursky Predicted the Future and Present











Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #13, 1978.
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #96, 1981.
In 2008 a print of #13 sold at auction for $902,500
In 2011 a print of #96 sold at auction for $3,890,500
making it the most expensive photograph












In 2014, Richard Prince's Spiritual America sold at auction for $3,973,000.

Richard Prince, Spiritual America, 1981.











Andreas Gursky's Rhein II sold at auction in November 2011 for $4,338,500,
making it the most expensive phototo date.


Andreas Gursky, Rhein II, 1999.











and then, on December 9, 2014, Peter Lik's, Phantom (Antelope Canyon in Arizona)
DID NOT ACTUALLY sell for $6.5 milion!


"Photography is not an art. It is a technology. We have no excuse to ignore this obvious fact in the age of digital cameras, when the most beguiling high-definition images and effects are available to millions. My iPad can take panoramic views that are gorgeous to look at. Does that make me an artist? No, it just makes my tablet one hell of a device.

The news that landscape photographer Peter Lik has sold his picture Phantom for $6.5m (£4.1m), setting a new record for the most expensive photograph of all time, will be widely taken as proof to the contrary. In our world where money talks, the absurd inflated price that has been paid by some fool for this “fine art photograph” will be hailed as proof that photography has arrived as art.

Yet a closer look at Phantom reveals exactly the opposite. This record-setting picture typifies everything that goes wrong when photographers think they are artists. It is derivative, sentimental in its studied romanticism, and consequently in very poor taste. It looks like a posh poster you might find framed in a pretentious hotel room.

Phantom is a black-and-white shot taken in Antelope Canyon, Arizona. The fact that it is in black and white should give us pause. Today, this deliberate use of an outmoded style can only be nostalgic and affected, an “arty” special effect. We’ve all got that option in our photography software. Yeah, my pics of the Parthenon this summer looked really awesome in monochrome." - Jonathan Jones in the Guardian











"It may be premature to say that we are living now in a 'post-photographic' age, despite the digitization of photography, for the illusions that the image can render have not yet been rendered irrelevant by the advancing picture-making technology of the computer. Nevertheless, it is a growing part of our contemporary consciousness that photography's function within our culture is at a crisis moment whose outcome is not yet certain." – Miles Orvell
Tourists photograph the Mona Lisa
Onlookers take photos during Chinese typhoon, 2013











"'[Alfredo Jaar's Rwanda Project] address[es] a crisis of the image, and in our relation to images, that Paul Virilio has called "a sort of pathology of immediate perception that owes everything, or very nearly everything, to the recent proliferation of photo-cinematographic and video-infographic seeing machines; machines that by mediatizing ordinary everyday representations end up destroying their credibility.' As we become increasingly subject to images, the subject of any image becomes less and less available to us.

Must we turn away from images entirely in order to begin again? ... We live in a time when information, in the form of words and images, is being transmitted in vast quantities and at increasingly high speeds, and this mass and velocity determine its effects. Human beings cannot act on information transmitted in this way, but only attmept to retrieve, sort, and process it." - David Levi Strauss












"Resisting the tyranny of visual public images can also be effected in some fairly simple ways. When you reduce the speed and frequency of images, you make it possible to see images differently. It is not necessary to embrace the visual rhetoric and speed of product advertising in order to counter it. The processing and storage of images (by human beings) is not instantaneous. It takes time. So if you can control the speed of transmission, you can begin to make images memorable." - David Levi Strauss