The Death of Photography?
Oliver in a Tutu
1 Image 2 Minutes Presentations due on Scalar
Friday, May 21 before 8 AM. Please log in and view your classmates' work!
Quiz 3 will be available Friday, May 14 and must be submitted before midnight on Friday, May 21.
Listen to the Sweet Goodbyes playlist I made for you for inspiration!
If you haven't already done so, please submit your student course evaluation!!

Catherine Opie, Oliver in a Tutu, 2004.













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











Cala Lily


Robert Mapplethorpe, Calla Lily, 1984.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Charles, 1985.











Robert Mapplethorpe, Shoe (Melody), 1987.
Robert Mapplethorpe,Two Men Dancing, 1984.












Self-Portrait with Bullwhip

Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait with Bullwhip, 1978.










Piss Christ

Andres Serrano, Piss Christ, 1987.











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.










Serrano interview
Andres Serrano, Klansmen, 1990.











The work is "about everybody's memories, as well as their fears." - Sally Mann


Last Light

Sally Mann, Last Light, 1989.










Sally Mann, Emmett and the White Boy, 1989.
Sally Mann, The Terrible Picture, 1989.










Candy Cigarette

Sally Mann, Candy Cigarette, 1989.











Identity Politics


"the personal is political"
  • Identity politics formed as a strategy to counter social inequity
  • Considers the structures by which we define ourselves
  • Questions the idea of "normal"
Catherine Opie, Self-Portrait, 1993.











Assorted definitions of "pervert" =

to lead astray morally
to turn away from the right course
to turn to an improper use; misapply
to bring to a less excellent state; vitiate; debase
Pathology. to change to what is unnatural or abnormal
Catherine Opie, Self-Portrait/ Pervert, 1994.











Self-Portrait Nursing

Catherine Opie, Self-Portrait Nursing, 2004.











Catherine Opie, Josh, 2007.
Catherine Opie, Miggi and Ilene, n.d.





















Historic Context
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 analog 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.











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.











Robert Clark, Attack on World Trade Center, 2001.
"Mr. President, a second plance has hit the World Trade Center. America is under attack."










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











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.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, 2017











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.











As we move into the digital age we are confronted with a pressing question: Is photography dead?
Have we entered into a new phase of image history?
Is the meaning of the photographic image now being mediated by the invention of digital systems
in the way that painting was modified by the invention of photography?
Are the concerns of the digital age different from those of the analog age?











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


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


Cowboy 2

Richard Prince, Untitled Cowboys #2, 1989.












Prince's 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











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
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #13, 1978.
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #96, 1981.











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 photo to date.


Andreas Gursky, Rhein II, 1999.











"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












Henri Cartier-Bresson, Rue Mouffetard, Paris, 1958.


Thank you!