The early nineties was the tail end of cultural postmodernism, prior to contemporary art’s globalisation. Now we have a flood of photographic images that many see in terms of photographs as dissolute fragments and photography as a totalized mass. Most of the photographic images we see around us in our visual culture today are consumed rapidly. Photographs are exhausted and discarded quickly, and their meanings are meant to be obvious and formulaic. They are not meant to be looked at closely and for long. There is no space for slow informed looking.
The turn to an emphasis on intuition and spontaneity --- especially noticeable in street photography--is a turn away from institutionlised photo-theory to embrace a naive state, which expresses an aversion to thinking about photography, to language and to text. Digital technology expanded the possibilities of photography well beyond the confines of art theory. Video is beginning to become an integral part, a logical extension of the work of photographers who will thus redefine the field of photography. The photographic now encompasses moving as well as still images.
Despite the visual turn in our culture there is no replacement of language by photography only new new modes of interrelation from the Life magazine photo-story. There is now a thorough intertwining of image and language, which is the nature of most of our photographic culture.
For much of the medium’s artistic history the ‘work’ was not thought to be the print but the publication, usually the book – an edited orchestration of images and text. The renaissance of photographic book making in the last decade or so has again produced works that are affordable and with relatively little to do with the selling of editioned prints.