03 Nov

Original Photography in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Cultural critic Walter Benjamin wrote in 1936 an essay called “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (or Reproducibility)” (German: Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit), which was first published in the “Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung” (“Magazine for Social Sciences”). The piece has been highly influential across the world of humanities, especially in the fields of cultural studies, media theory, architectural theory and art history.

This is a text that many students in art colleges and academies meet in their curriculum.

The essay discusses the concept of an “original” work of art and of its value, in the context in which works of art can be more and more easily reproduced. The text is quite relevant today as well, maybe even more than it was when it was published, given that now we “mechanical reproduction” has increased by incomparable amounts compared to the first part of the 20th century.

 

Problematics of photographic art by Liev Arts

 

Walter Benjamin brings in discussion the concept of authenticity and its relation to the concept of reproduction, saying that “even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.” He argues that the “sphere of authenticity is outside the technical”, implying that the original work of art is independent of the copy. However, through the act of reproduction, something is still taken from the original, as its context is changed. Thus, Benjamin introduces the concept of the “aura” of a work and claims that in reproductions this is not present. This concept was borrowed from ideas Ludwig Klages had developed before him.

While there can be a lot of discussion and debate created around this text, one issue can be discussed in today’s context, where digital photography and print or online magazines are a big part of the cultural and artistic landscape.

Basically, what can be argued is that in the 21st century, an original work of art can be at the same time a copy.

When a photographer shoots a picture, the original is the digital file present in the camera’s memory card. Afterwards, that file, maybe a RAW file, is transferred to the computer. However, if the photograph is processed in Photoshop or a similar application, by cropping, making color corrections, masking imperfections, the result is a new original. That new original, digital file is then set in a processing program such as InDesign and could be cropped again to let room for the so-called ‘bleed’ – the margins a magazine needs to have in order to be printed properly. The file is then exported into a pdf file for example, which is then printed in say a hundred thousand copies, thus creating a hundred thousand new originals, given that the medium of the photograph has changed and that it is likely that the photograph has undergone a new, even though slight, cropping.

In short, if you take a photograph, even from the camera and print it out in numerous copies, isn’t each copy an original?

Looking at things from this angle, it can be said that there’s a different type of “original” when we talk about paintings or sculptures for example, compared to when we talk about photography or film.

Also speaking of this matter, we can also ask similar questions in regards to other mediums: for example, if someone is recording something, which is a work of art, with their webcam directly on a video streaming website and then publishes it, can we even speak of an original?

In other words, if in a thousand years, someone wants to buy the original version of the video at an auction, what will they be buying?

The same applies to literature: if you publish on a blog, is there still such thing as a “first edition”?

These are things that are definitely worth thinking about. The reason why they are important is because in the long run, they might redefine our relationship with works of art, which is something that has been very much the same for the last few thousands of years.

28 Oct

The Other Side – Seen Through Kartik Kumar’s Lens

Kartik Kumar is a software engineer from Bengaluru, India, who has a passion for photography and a great eye for amazing pictures.

His photographs are personal insights into Indian moments which he captures in bold images. In a way, many of Kumar’s photographs focus on seeing things from the outside. This theme is very interesting: Kartik offers a view of the places and the people that one does not normally see. He also goes a step further by stepping outside time and though his compositions offers a perspective that seems to be distanced from the time of everyday life.

 

God Maker – Bengaluru, India

Making Of Ganesha – Bengaluru, India

Marina Beach – Chennai, India

Friends – Khajjiar, India

Sailors Network – Malvan, India

Taj Admirer – Agra, India

Serenity – Hemis Monastry, Ladakh, India

The Balance – Bengaluru, India

 

More: flickr.com/photos/102770377@N03/

29 Aug

Past Structures Revealed by Les Johnstone

Les Johstone’s photographs, if looked at for quite a long time, can have the power to turn into portals to world’s you’ve always known existed, but thought that were present only in dreams.

By shooting from a forward angle, Les’ images introduce you to an unfiletered world that reveals itself before your eyes. The urbex landscapes he captures draw the curtain from urban myths we’ve all heard about and imagined how they would be in reality.

From impressive ballrooms and abandoned planes to the Buzludzha monument in Bulgaria, Les Johstone’s works open up the secret world available to anyone who takes a closer look at the world around them.

 

Budludzha in Winter

 

Buzludzha in Summer

 

Paragon Hotel – Ballroom

 

Abandoned Hospital in Ayrshire Scotland

 

Abandoned Hotel Artista – Office

 

Dodgems at Pripyat

 

Villa 1967 Abandoned Winery

 

Russian Scorpion submarine

 

Sunset as seen from Buzludzha

 

 

 

More: flickr.com/photos/9162791@N07/

10 Aug

Konstantin Panassyuk’s Flowing Structures

Konstantin Panassyuk is a passionate photographer from Russia. His works are mostly snapshots of everyday life, showcasing interesting moments of people in mostly urban environments. While not a full time pro of photography, many of Konstantin’s works are extremely promising and are the result of a talented mind.

His compositions are an interplay of empty-full, rigid-fluid, tense-relaxed. Konstantin’s photos feature a weird balance between shapes that are sturdy and shapes that are flowing. Often, it seems that these shapes are meant to morph, moving between a solid state to a liquid state. This way, he conveys a complete image of a moment’s expression, which captures both the steady, the flowy and the in-between.

 

 

Tree

 

I like summer so much!

 

Hard voleyball

 

 

More: flickr.com/photos/127725679@N05

 

 

09 Jul

Julien Roesz’s Déjà Vus

Julien Roesz is a photographer from Strasbourg, France who is engaging in a photographic endeavor of high interest. His urban exploration photographs are impressive images that generate not only the classic emotions urbex imagery usually creates, but that also raise questions.

His photos give the viewer a sense of déjà vu. When looking at his works, you get a sense of having been there before – maybe in an alternavie universe, maybe in a dream, maybe in a moment you simply don’t remember.

More than that, the images contain not only the past of place, but also the state of mind of the present viewer and their dreams and hopes for the upcoming times.

 

Comment appelle t’on un collectionneur de matelas? (What do you call a matress collectioner?)

 

Cette année Noël tombe en juillet (This year, Christmas is in july)

 

Créature de gymnase (Gym creature)

 

Les mafieux russes (Russian mafia men)

 

Désaccord au sujet de la note (Disagreement on the subject of a note)

 

Enfilade

 

Hotel green valley. Conseil. 30 minutes de marche par jour (Green Valley hotel. Adice: Walk 30 minutes each day)

 

Jumelles requises (Binoculars required)

 

La recherche de la couleur (Color reasearch)

 

Le clin d’oeil de l’africaine (A glimpse over Africa)

 

Séparés par le tapis rouge (Separated by the red carpet)

 

Une pensée pour Detroit (A thought for Detroit)

 

Website: flickr.com/photos/113367580@N03/ 

27 May

Jos Monreal’s Fascination with Depth

Based in Guadalajara, Mexico, Jos Monreal is creating photographs of everyday moments that often we don’t really get to see and take in.

His works feature places, people, animals and situations that are not uncommon to daily life. However, Jos makes these situations events and gives them a special vibe using high contrasts and carefully chosen compositions.

 

 

 

 

 

Website:

flickr.com/people/josue_monreal

11 May

Luca Fecarotta’s Magical Journeys

Remote places are often something that captures the minds and interest of many people. Places that many people don’t get to see are captivating because we as people know that they represent the decor for the stories that go off the radar. At many times, these places are inaccessible for a reason, but at the same time it is true that the biggest of treasures sometimes lie in the best hidden places.

Luca Fecarotta’s photographs are true photographic jewels that portray a very mysterious, yet colorful vision of India and Vietnam. Photography is a medium that makes it very hard to communicate magic in a simple, beautiful and authentic way, but Luca manages to convey all those things through his compositions, colors and subjects.

His photographs represent an album of a journey that tells hidden stories from remote places with great compassion and care.

 

 

Pink & Blue
Bundi, India

 

 

Dining with mum
Can Tho Vietnam

 

 

Amazing India, Kannyakumari, India

 

 

Being a Woman
Varanasi, India

 

 

Environment\
Hon Tre, Vietnam

 

 

Website:

flickr.com/photos/126790400@N03/

15 Mar

Going Places with Moyan Brenn

Traveling has always been a major theme in photography. May it be urban photography, landscape photography or portrait photography, the so-called “different” has always fascinated both amateur and professional photographers.

 

Taking travel photos is a quest of capturing not only a place that is different from your everyday surroundings, but also a state of mind, an impression.

Through his highly colorful photographs, Moyan Brenn is evoking that powerful impression the colors of a place leave you with: the sunlight is almost breaking through from the photographs and the depths of the nights unravel their mysteries in clear-cut details.

 

Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA

Old town clock during the 900th anniversary show, Prague, the Czech Republic

Tromso, north of Norway, a view of the famous Artic cathedral near the bridge of the town

Flock of sheep at sunrise during the airborne with their shepherd in the area of Goreme, area of Cappadocia, Turkey

Iceland, and the glacier lagoon of Jokulsarlon seen with the northern lights (aka aurora)..that in foreground is a piece of ice from the glacier

Copenhagen, Denmark, view of the harbour at sunset, on the deck side which takes you to the mermaid

Northern lights in Iceland seen from f-road 326 during my travel, close to Hekla volcano and Steinsholt guesthouse farm

Northern lights in Iceland seen from f-road 326, close to Hekla volcano and Steinsholt guesthouse farm

Earth, an example of whirlpool in the middle of the Bruarfoss waterfalls and river in west Iceland

Meditation, glorious morning in the forest of Campana in Nettuno, Italy

Kyoto (Japan), a typical japanese pagoda, the Yasaka pagoda, seen from a terrace in the district of Higashiyama

Dunnotar castle situated in the Aberdeenshire area of Scotland.

London red bus with a red phone box. In the background there is the St Paul cathedral situated in the very centre of London

Zaanse Schans, The Netherlands

Paris, France sunset panorama from top of Notre Dame cathedral…

Website:

Moyan Brenn, Italy

moyanBrenn.wordpress.com

11 Mar

Representations of Political Power

Constructing power

In the course of history, power has always had one of the most important roles in arts and cultural products. The methods of framing and visually constructing power have been carefully created and developed. Even though we might think that the ancient Egyptians and Greeks had more naive ways of representing the idea of power, this is quite false. Even back in ancient times, artists had developed specific mechanisms to express the power of the leaders of their time.

It is of great interest to notice how power has usually been conveyed through some specific and consequent means.  Specific gestures, colors, clothes, objects and references constitute universal symbols of power in Western art. Upon a certain investigation in visual representations of power, one notices that artists usually mix two or three of these elements to express the strength of a leader.

Strong charcters have been for the most part of arts history real historic figures, but as the arts developed, more and more fictional characters have become ideals of power.

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