Post-Photography

This week I have two texts to look at, the first is The camera as an afterthought: defining post-photograph, written by Allison Meier. The text is written by Andreia Alves De Oliveira, called post-photography, or are we past photography?

The first text is a range of photographs supporting the idea of photography being in an altered state, whether these images are staged or found. Post photography is seen to be a moment and not a movement. Meier talks about a book (Post-Photography: The artist with a camera) written about post-photography written by Robert Shore, how pre-existing visual material in a over documented world, it is unsurprising that there is an increasing amount of photographic art, but of which mostly start with someone else’s images. Images are found for research etc. but then still manipulated.

The second text explains the term post photography is often seen in todays practices, by being transformed by technology. Photographs can instantly be shared with the world via media, whereas photographic prints are now becoming a rare piece of publishing. As technology progresses, so does the way we share photographs. As mentioned within The reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the post-photography era, by William J. Mitchell, ‘150 years after it was born, ‘photography was dead… as was painting 150 years before”. Painting use to be the only way to capture self portraits, now as technology grows and progresses, digital ways have now been invented to capture portraits easier and quicker, achieved by cameras. However, as technology keeps growing, photographers to be hired are not needed as much and therefore everyone is able to take their own images, in a way professional photography maybe dying but photography is only progressing.

 

Photography as Activism

This weeks text is written by Michelle Bogre named Photography as activism, images for social change. The text talks about the word activism and the complexity of it through philosophical and historical aspects.

For this review I will be concentrating on chapter 1, which is about the practice and process of activism. I have chosen this particular chapter as I find it would help me understand the text the most and would be interesting in how activism is practiced. To my understanding activism photography is similar to documentary photography, the difference is activism is the use of campaigning to bring a political or social change. In terms of photography it seems to be photographing the political and social change within the world.

In the text it talks about the early history of activism. It was seen in the early days of photography, the camera was able to render the reality, which was better then any other medium, as it was then made a tool of activists. Then moving onto war photography and early conflict photography, these are seen as an activist message, whether being intentional or not. The way I understand it is war and conflict photography is seen as activism due to using the photos to change the conflict of war. Also using photography to document the social change of harsh economic reality, being the result of post-civil war depression.

To conclude my understanding within the text is low but I have learnt that activism is a political or social change which is used within types of photography.

Notes to Self

This weeks text is Notes to self: the visual culture of selfies in the age of social media by Derek Conrad Murray. Murray states the focus of selfies is on young women as part of a regressive personality trait. Young women are often characterizing themselves using the selfie, as a radical act of political empowerment, which is a means to resist the male-dominated culture of media and the oppressive hold over their body and lives.

In terms of post-feminism, the selfie allows young women to find their self-definition, a new form of visual expressiveness. Many women and girls who may not be confident expressing themselves, find it easier to do so by taking an image of themselves and then having the choice to upload it to social media. The way to make room for new identities, politics and forms of visual expressiveness. Women often contradict themselves, as they are now deeply obsessed with social media and blogs. Young women who self consciously describe themselves as radical feminists, often post images of themselves, whilst in various states of dressed or undressed, or even nude. This takes away their fight to have women equal and not seen to be desirable sex objects, yet themselves are not helping the situation by posting and encouraging the image of how a women is looked upon. An example would be a young women posting an image of themselves nude onto social media, and the caption being how men will look at that with pleasure. Surely it would be a lot more achievable if that young women would have posted an image of her dressed with the same caption.

‘…to a lesser degree, female body hair – symbolizes the historical abuses of patriarchy and the oppressive social control often exerted over female bodies. To image what for many may be perceived as the intimacy of personal hygiene is an act of wilful defiance and a means to claim agency – despite the fact that one’s distaste for images of blood may arguably stem from an array of other issues.’ (Derek Conrad Murray)

Women are seen to be groomed and have a high standard of personal hygiene, yet some women are unwilling to do so. The defiance of a women results in them not shaving under-arm hair, or seen walking around with menstrual blood visible, the visually notice of an unhygienic women but, then breaks the stereotypical ideal of what a women should be like. This is mainly from women who blog and document their lives using snapshot style images, presenting themselves and their intimate relationships.

Elements of a sensibility: Postfeminist media culture.

Written by Dr Rosalind Gill, Postfeminist Media Culture: Elements of a Sensibility is all about the notion of postfeminism that has become the importance in the lexicon of feminist cultural analysis. To this current day, there are still debates about what postfeminism is, it is used widely to signal a theoretical position, a type of feminism after a second wave, or a political state.

During this text I want to concentrate on the femininity as a bodily property because within the media culture it is seen to obsess with the body. It is defined femininity to be a bodily property, rather than a social structure or psychological one. In todays media it is seen for femininity to be a possession of a sexy body, instead of caring, nurturing or a motherhood role. As much as it may be wrong to view a women in this way, their identity is seen to be of a sexy body. They present the body as the females source of power, as well as constantly monitoring, disciplining and remodelling them, in order to create narrower judgements of a females attractiveness. Men are also evaluated to have a certain body type, muscular six-packs etc. but they don’t get pressured and looked upon as much as women do. However, they are both at risk of ‘failing’, which is meant by women to be the ‘perfect’ physique, to have curves or to be ‘too skinny’ is seen to be a failure from a sexy body. Where as, men are seen to have a muscular physique and to go to the gym etc. majority of the time. To not have muscles, to be skinny or overweight is seen to have failed. Personally this isn’t the right way to look at people, there’s far to much pressure of men and women to have the perfect body, which isn’t always healthy.

This pressure seems to effect models and celebrities the most. This is due to celebrities having to uphold their beauty, how people/fans see them, their public appearance and being role models to the audience. Models are similar, however they have to keep up this ‘sexy body’ physique to sell what the companies have employed them to sell. Companies don’t help this body situation by using females to sell to men, which also happens with using men to sell to women’s products. The media use their power and knowledge to look upon women and to publish articles saying how they are not seen to be ‘perfect’, how they have wrinkles seen. These wrinkles, laughter lines, are only natural developments of a persons body, that shouldn’t be scrutinised.

Sticking to the theme of women being represented in certain ways. Women are once seen to be a sex object and now desiring as a sexual subject, which occurs in the media. Once seen to be a mute object, which male gaze upon, no longer a straightforward objectified but now presented as a active, desirable sexual subject. Most may choose to present themselves in a objectified manner, which is seen in advertising to constructing a figure to sell young women, their power of using their body. Not only women but girls are also been invited to this idea of a ‘perfect body’ and the ideal of being a sexual subject.

Pandora’s Camera

This text written by Joan Fontcuberta has taken my interest largely because it speaks of how women are seen through images, their body on display and how the use of Photoshop can change the image of them to show how they are not. Throughout the text it talks of how Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightly, amongst other young women, are chosen to be nudity models due to their body figure and their known characters.

In this modern day of age, Photoshop is now used to change the image of the body. An example used is Keira Knightly posing for a film poster, where she is dressed in a top of braided leather, showing of her figure. However what is clear, is the makers of the poster wasn’t satisfied with the results of a flat chest. Using Photoshop they enlarge her breasts to make her look more desirable. I personally find this is common when it comes to body image but I don’t think it is right in terms of respecting and remodelling a figure. In this process they try to create an image which every young girl/women desires to be, instead of being happy with how they naturally look.

How Photoshop changes a person.

Keira Knightly vs. Photoshop

Furthermore, another point made in the text is that of models, such as Keira Knightly, should no longer need to go on special diets, go to the gym or have plastic surgery to achieve the required perfect body. In this modern day society where we look more at the image, then how the body is in reality, which can now be achieved by the use of digital technology. In a way I find the digital technology better then having to sculpture a model, but I still dislike the way producers etc. change how someone is naturally seen.