The Death of Photography?

Flour Paste

30 Photos That Perfectly Capture The Finals Week Struggle
Final Exam will be posted to Blackboard tomorrow, December 8. Must be submitted by Sunday, December 11 at 11:59 PM.
Sally Mann, Flour Paste, 1989.











Body Politics

  • Taking the lead of the feminists, artists continue to recognize the body as a political site
  • Examines the diseased, flawed, victimized and ignored body
  • Counters the modernist focus on abstraction
    and its objectification of the nude
Cindy Sherman, Untitled #263, 1992.











AIDS Related Death

Andres Serrano, The Morgue (AIDS related Death II), 1992.











Andres Serrano, Hacked to Death, 1992.












Andres Serrano, The Morgue (Knifed to Death), 1992.











Serrano interview
Andres Serrano, Klansmen, 1990.










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.

Jessie and the Deer

Sally Mann, Jessie and the Deer, 1985.











Last Light

Sally Mann, Last Light, 1989.










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


Terrible Picture

Sally Mann, The Terrible Picture, 1989.











Candy Cigarette

Sally Mann, Candy Cigarette, 1989.













Len Prince, Jessie Mann, 2004.












As digital media replaces analogue technologies 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 analogue age?










What is the difference between
film and digital modes?

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.











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."
In a culture glutted with images, do we substitute reality for photographic fictions?
Do we avoid our own realities with idealized photographs?
Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window Film Still, 1954.









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


David Levi Strauss. Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics.
New York: aperture, 2003.











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











Joe Rosenthal, Raising Old Glory at Iwo Jima, 1945.
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.











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











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)
sold in a private sale 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


Alfredo Jaar, The Silence of Nduwayezu, 1997.


Alfredo Jaar











Alfredo Jaar, The Eyes of Gutete Emerita, 1996.
"'[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












Images that allow pause and consider what it means to see the world through the camera...


Ken Gonzales Day, Erased Lynching, 2005.


More Ken Gonzales Day











Ken Gonzalez Day, About a hundred yards from the road (from the Hang Trees series), 2002.
Ken Gonzalez Day, Next morning when Jimmy woke, the cowboys were gone (from the Hang Trees series), 2002.











Nina Berman, Marine Wedding (from the Marine Wedding series), 2006.











Alfredo Jaar, Gold in the Morning, 1987. Lightbox with color transparency.











Oliver in a Tutu
"Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees."
line from a Zen text
Catherine Opie, Oliver in a Tutu, 2004.