Friday, 1 March 2013


Micah Walter has written a very thoughtful response to the notes from my talk around Ben Cauchi's City Gallery Wellington, 'Has the Interent Killed Photography?'.

I'll be the first to agree with Micah that my talk's title was throw-away. I'm terrible at titling things. I should outsource that work. And I should have renamed the talk as my ideas grew, but I really didn't come up with anything better (for the context, which was advertising the talk on the gallery's website in hopes of getting people along. If I was writing for publication, it would of course have the obligatory Short Snappy Statement: Long Discursive Explanation format).

Micah also noted that my talk came from a museum-y, library-y point of view. This is totally true. This is my point of view (inflected with some web, but my web is museum-y and library-y as well). He continues:
My first reaction would have been to talk about the actual “trade of photography.” The time in our recent history when people trained to be photographers the way plumbers train to be, well, plumbers. There was a perception that photography was first, magic, and then something someone could learn and charge lots of money for. This is where photography begins to die. 
That's why I wished as soon as I read this that Micah and I could have presented together. And if we had, we could have work together to explore the quote his post ends on, from Jean Baudrillard’s Why hasn’t everything already disappeared?:
The traditional photograph is an image produced by the world, which, thanks to the medium of film, still involves a dimension of representation. The digital image is an image that comes straight out of the screen and becomes submerged in the mass of all the other images from screens. It is of the order of flow, and is prisoner to the automatic operation of the camera. When calculation and digital win out over form, when software wins out over the eye, can we still speak of photography? [my emphasis]
If we're not still speaking of photography, what are we speaking of? That's a question that could sustain a really interesting debate, from all sorts of points of view.

Anyway. I'm truly grateful to Micah for taking the time to write in response. People don't do that much any more. I hope we get a chance to talk about this in person some time soon.

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