Photography In The Age Of Tumblr (Part 2)

© 2012 Dave Ortiz, from the series, Up.

© 2012 Dave Ortiz, from the series, Up.

 

Ten percent of all of the photographs made in the entire history of photography were made last year — an astounding figure. More than ever before, thanks in part to cell phone technology, the world is engaged with photography and communicating through pictures.Time Lightbox

Since photography is about 172 years old now, I would assume that 10% of the entire history of photography is a pretty big number. Well I suppose with the advent of  word processors and word processing software (not to mention the DIY revolution in publishing) that a great many more words have been put out there in the world. In neither case have I seen much of a difference in terms of the number of really good books or photographs. There might be more quirky works out there, more idiosyncratic, which some may mistake for quality or thoughtfulness. Als, there is only  more chaff to go through before you get to the serious grain.

In this day and age the concept of the single great image that stands alone (think, Ansel Adams) is passe to say the least. Viewers are too sophisticated and are all too aware of the shortcomings of the singular image. Contemporary photographers (think Alec Soth) are more concerned with the narrative possibilities of images. The explosive interest in creating (and consuming) photo books is evidence of this trend. I have always photographed with an extended sequence in mind a la Minor White. Sequences are tailor made for the book format. And now photo books are becoming highly sophisticated and imaginative. A straight sequence of photographs is almost not enough now. The physical object (paper, binding, design) all are part of the telling (think Broken Manual). For modern galleries the trick is to figure out how to translate this practice to the wall.

This little essay is what happens when you obsess over photography. This is all related to the book I am trying to create at the moment, Up. I am publishing the straight forward part via Blurb.  But then I am tipping in images derived from manuscripts and printed on vellum to create an interactive experience for the reader. The images on vellum also stand on their own and as metaphors for the search for knowledge and enlightenment.

 

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