The Penny Is In The Slot And Dropping

27th July 2011

I’ve put a lot of time, effort and angst into working out what post-modern photography holds by way of art, and up until now I’ve not even come close to finding the beginnings of an answer.  I say ‘up until now’ because over the last couple of days one of the books on the course reading list came into my hands; ‘The Photographer’s Eye’ – John Szarkowsky.

Now I’m not saying that the 5 issues covered in this small but powerful book have given me all the answers, far from it, but what it has given me is an insight into where to look when I review post-modern images.  You may think that’s strange coming from a book that covers the history of photography, but it’s not as strange as may first appear.

My review of my understanding covers this in-depth, ( and my conclusion is that post-modern isn’t really that different from the  pictures of the early pioneers of photography.  Take a look, post-modern is often considered the view of the mundane, everyday; look at the early pictures and you’ll see that they were of the mundane and everyday of their time!  The only reason we see them as interesting now is because they show us things the vast majority alive today have never seen before, certainly not in the context they were seen and/or used.  We probably only see the artifacts shown in the pictures in museums and we never see the participants, they’re all dead, the places have most probably been rebuilt and changed beyond recognition.  So, when we look at today’s mundane, everyday, we’re actually looking at tomorrows historical record.

By looking at post-modern photography in this light and applying the 5 issues to them, I have to admit that I can see an awful lot more than I could previously.  I think there’s still a lot of rubbish out there, but then that’s true of any age and any medium, but the penny is dropping, it might have a long way to go and it may get stuck along the way, but then that’s the journey.


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