‘With photography, in the process of pictorial reproduction the hand was for the first time relieved of the principal artistic responsibilities, which henceforth lay with the eye alone as it peered into the lens.’ - Walter Benjamin
Nowadays owning a mobile phone that can take a half decent photograph is fairly ubiquitous. This very concept is becoming more apparent as technology progresses at an unprecedented pace.
Capturing an image is incredibly easy with todays technology; mobile phones have the capability to take numerous images in under a second, and even edit them just before they are posted online via an application or website. This is testament to how personal tech has developed since the days of film photography.
The processes of capturing an image have diversified, and so has the sentimentality we associate with the picture, along with the manor in which it is exhibited.
All of this can now be achieved not only by artists but anyone who owns a mobile phone.
This also goes for moving image; phones are becoming the modern day video cameras; no longer do we need to carry camcorders and multiple memory cards; we can film and edit the videos almost instantaneously.
Walter Benjamin’s words in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction couldn’t be more resonant here. In the text he stated that art was and is being created and reproduced at drastic speeds, thus forcing critics and viewers to reconsider values such as genuineness, originality, provenance and monetary value.
There is reference to the various ways of mechanical reproduction, such as print, modeling and photography etc. Which drew the form of the essay to discuss these factors when considering artistic creativity. Granted that these factors were far more prominent in 1936 with the industrial revolution in full swing, the content is still very relevant, especially when one is to consider modern photography and the way it has been utilized.
With this in mind, how should we consider the every-day photographer over the professional when accessible digital media is involved?
Instagram is brimming with talented photographers and people who have decided to advertise their photographical skills via the internet. Conversely, Instagram is also used as a way to document the every day, allowing individuals to store photographs that document their daily activities and lives.
It is relatively uncommon in contemporary culture for such a multitude of varying talents to be associated with each other and to be accepted artistically. This medium gives aspiring photographers of varying ages an opportunity to express themselves creatively, in a way that can be shared by a vast audience, as opposed to the more critical and inaccessible gallery environment.
The work of art in this case, the digital photograph, is probably the most mechanically reproduced artistic medium to date. Being able to take a photograph and upload it to one of many digital galleries is instant, therefore allowing a greater breadth of creatives to display more examples of their creative ability.
Jan Ove Iversen’s (www.overpari.no ) work has been particularly chosen as a strong example of the points made in this article, along with the following Instagram Photographers:
Stayfound – http://instagram.com/stayfound
senns_less – http://instagram.com/senns_less
insighting – http://instagram.com/insighting
reillyhunter – http://instagram.com/reillyhunter
diaphragm – http://instagram.com/diaphragm
brockdavis – http://instagram.com/brockdavis