Introduction : the post-photographic age?

This is the introduction to the book.

The impact of digital technology on photography  was initially seen in the 1990s as a threat to, and a  undermining of,  the practical tradition of visual representation of the photographic. This was usually expressed in terms of the death of photography, the loss of the real, and the emergence of the post-photographic age.

This kind of understanding  signified both a sense of the displacement of photographic practice by the use of digital technology and a sense of epochal change in our visual culture. Digital imagery meant  new ways of seeing based on a freedom from the  inherent constraints of automatism and realism that tied the analogue photographer to being a mere recorder of reality--a mirror held up to the world. The duality between the photography and  the digital image  is stark and it is understood in terms of technological means of production. 

chance

There is a view that film photography after digitalisation provides a way to create poetry because the convenience of digitalization  also tidies things up, correcting mistakes and eliminating chance.  If this analogue media of contemporary art  involves a backward glance to what has been, as we become ever more immersed in digital media, it also keeps photography  open to chance.  

You don't know what you are going to get with film, even when the photo has been carefully scoped and theme of the shoot  carefully selected.  

Tunbridge, Tasmania

The talk circa 2011 is that with the  analogue-to-digital shift to the last decade, film has died and digital photography opens up new horizons. The symbolic events are the end of Kodachrome in 2010 and the  blowing up of the Kodak  film plants in both Rochester and Chalon-sur-Saône. 

Whilst film aficionados lament a disappearing past, digital devotees are looking forward to endless expansion based on recycle, clip and cut, remix and upload.The argument is that it  took the death of film to fully liberate the medium from the paradigms of painting.

This image was made with an old Leica film camera whilst I was staying in Tunbridge in the Tasmania Midlands in 2017.  

I had just come back from spending several days  photographing in Queenstown whilst Suzanne and her friend were walking in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.  We were staying at Tunbridge for a couple of days before we wen exploring the Tasman Peninsula. 

seaweed still life

This snap of a found still life was made along the coast between Petrel Cove and Kings Beach in Waitpinga whilst I was on an early morning poodlewalk:

 I have been looking at an exhibition  of the early 35mm work  made by Joel Meyerowitz between 1963 and 1978. The exhibition is entitled "Joel Meyerowitz: Towards Colour 1962-1978",  and it is at   Beetles and Huxley, a photographic gallery  in London. These Leica snapshots  are   from Meyerowitz's very early days shooting in black and white on the streets of New York  to the year he published his first book, "Cape Light", the pictures of which were made with a large format camera. 

Meyerowitz worked in advertising for four months of the year to support his family and devoted the rest of his time to photography.  A number of the pictures in Mexico and Florida   were made with  a Guggenheim Scholarship to take pictures on the theme of 'leisure time'.