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Transcript of Visual Culture
Brett Nagle Technical Reproduction & its Significance Ruth Pelzer The Age of Photography Nicholas Mirzoeff Ways of Seeing John Berger Types of Visual Reproduction
Recordings of musical performances
Transformation of design prototypes into mass-produced objects Publicity
The idea of freedom
Feeding the real
Spectator to buyer
Money is life
The gap: publicity & the future Breada Farrell The idea of freedom
Publicity = a language
Always being used to make the same general proposal
Idea that we have a choice between this & that
Only a system that makes a single proposal “Each of us that we transform ourselves, by buying something more, even though we will be poorer by having spent our money.” (Berger 131) Feeding the real
Appetites for pleasure
The more convincing publicity displays pleasure
Never a real celebration of pleasure-in-itself (132)
Always for the future buyer Spectator to buyer
We are meant to envy "Imagine herself transformed by the product into an object of envy for others, an envy which will then justify her loving herself." (Berger 133) Oil Paintings & Publicity
Oil paintings show what people already posses whereas images of publicity depict the way of life
The purpose of publicity is to make the spectator marginally dissatisfied with his way of life
Oil paintings naturally show present tense
Publicity speaks in the future tense Glamor...
...Is a modern invention
“Glamour cannot exist without personal social envy being a common & widespread emotion.” (Berger 148) Visual Technologies, Image Reproduction, and the Copy
Marita Sturken & Lisa Cartwright Introduction
Reproduction comes into play in different ways in visual culture (183)
Appearance of objects, people, or events in the real world
Term is used to describe cultural practices & their forms of expression reproduce their ideologies & interests of ruling class (183)
Photographic camera changed the world & how we see things
"Photography emerged as a popular medium because it fulfilled particular social demands of the early 19th century," (Sturken & Cartwright, 184)
Photography emerged as a popular visual technology b/c it fit certain emerging social concepts & needs of time
modern ideas about the individual in the context of growing urban centers
modern concepts of technological progress & mechanization Motion and Sequence
Introduction of motion & picture
Elements of temporarily, movement, & sound
Create a storytelling narrative
Characters looking off screen-- "invisible" & "realist" fiction
Television bringing new narratives Importance of Photography
Allowed individuals to produce and reproduce their own imagery Brett Nagle Effect on Western Culture
"The contemporary economic, social and political environment of Western culture not only defined by mass produced objects, it is also defined by mass-produced or, strictly speaking, mass-'reproduced' media forms such as newspapers, cinema, magazines, radio, television, CDs, DVDs, and so on" How Historical Events are remembered Generally remembered in terms of the images the mass media disseminate and recycle
Factors to consider in how people relate to these images are sex, gender, race, age, nationality and location
Examples 9/11, Tiamen Square, George Washington on a boat Guy Debord Identified substitution of the real through representations
Argues every aspect of life in contemporary Western society is infiltrated by commercialisation or 'commodity system', based on spectacular reproduction
Media images help us "experience" things we could never really experience ourselves "for real" Critics like Adorno and Greenberg held that "art has its strongest political function by remaining 'difficult' and separate from popular cultural forms.
This view tendered to favor abstract art and rejection of the new media of film and photography Mass Produced Images and Films effect on how Art was "viewed" Example: The Sistine Chapel
"Was a visible demonstration of both the power of the Catholic Church and its doctrines is today, for the majority of people who visit it, a cultural experience, a landmark of "great art", if not simply another site on the tourist trail." "Cult Value" to "Exhibition Value" Art began to be viewed not from ritual but rather politics
Reproducibility allowed images to circulate with political meaning and that mechanically or electronically reproduced images can be in many places simultaneously
They can be combined with text or other images or reworked The Politics of Reproducibility "The possibilities for reproduction of any image are highly contingent on the legal management of the images as forms of intellectual property"
The ability to copy images, films, artwork, etc. has brought on legal issues with what can and cannot be copied, how you can copy them, and a slew of other legal hurdles
The ability to copy has also brought into question if particular works of art or photos are a copy or the original Copies, Ownership, and Copyright Digital images has taken copyright to new levels of intensity
There are no "originals" from which copies are made
Because digital photos are code on a chip it is impossible to actually identify what is an "original" digital photo
Advances in technology have led to digital reconfigurations of digital photos
Older photos can become digitized and touched up or colorized Reproduction of Digital Images Image Reproduction: The Copy
Dates back to Egyptian scrolls
Value is a key factor in status of reproduction, originals, and copies
Relationship of production is valued
Photography has become an art, like scribes art form
The "touch" that guarantees the scene as authentic of being there Walter Benjamin & Mechanical Reproduction
German critic & political theorist
Reproducibility & circulation of art
Democratic force & could be used for social politics that includes messages from the circulation of copies
Argued that ownership & value of the artifact was based on status of the work as a unique & exclusive to a capitalist society (195)
Fakes, forgeries, & changes to original works
One-of-a-kind artwork has an "aura"-- value is derived from uniqueness in ritual
Give an image an authentic feel to create that "aura"
Authenticity & idea of classical icons or categories of people
Timeless or Classical
Meaning of original work changes when it is reproduced b/c its value comes not from uniqueness of image but as a kind but rather from its status as being the original of many copies
IE Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa"
Mona Lisa in the digital age
Mass-produced images Marcus Holman Visual Technologies “Written light”-literal meaning of photography
“For the first time, it was possible for the ordinary person to record his or her life with certainty and to create personal archives for future generations.”
Photography overtook art as the most faithful of imitating the real. Death of Painting Death of Painting...Continued As Mirzoeff eloquently describes, “The click of the shutter captures a moment of time that is immediately past but is nonetheless the closest thing there is to a knowledge of the present.”
This revolutionary action created a new relationship to the concept of time. While paintings were created over a period of extended time, by the 1880’s exposure times were measured in fractions of seconds. Miroezoff believes three things led to the modernization of time.
1.) An adaptation of standardized time zones and a national time.
2.) The destruction of an old world and the replacement of a newer modern society. (i.e. The rebuilding of Paris in the 1850’s and 1860’s.
3.) The belief that Europeans were much more advanced in relation to colonies in Asia and Africa. Modernization of Time Photography is cheap and transportable while art is expensive and relatively hard to move.
In 1991, 41 million pictures were taken everyday in the United States.
Photography is a “past tense medium”. It’s results show was was there…not necessarily what is there. Democratic Image Photo-noir Weegee (1899-1968) was born Arthur Fellig in Austria but grew up in New York.
Capturing real moments was the essence of photography for Weegee as he explained: “People are so wonderful that a photographer has only for that breathless momemt to capture what he wants on film…and when that split second of time is gone, it’s dead and can never be brought back.”
Weegee was a key innovater of photo noir which was taken from film noir which involves dramatic lighting, deep shadows, and unusual camera angles. Photo-noir... Continued Weegee was notorious for his realistic photos of crime scenes in urban areas.
Here is the photo described in the reading On The Spot. Defined as “photography for the electronic age, no longer claiming to picture the world but turning on itself to explore the possibilities of a medium freed from the responsibility of indexing reality.”
Nan Goldin (b.1953) is a major post-photographer who is known for her “unique degree of personal intimacy”.
Everyone in the photograph is aware their picture is being taken. Post-Photography “Most sets of snapshots do not include scenes of people making love, injecting drugs, on the toilet, cross dressing, masturbating, or bleaching their eyebrows, but such moments are the core of Goldin’s work.
One of her most famous works is a self-portrait entitled “One Month After being Battered” Post-Photography... Continued Computer imaging in the 1980’s brought about the “death” of photography.
“The ability to alter a photograph digitally has undone the fundamental condition of photography-that something must have been in front of the lens when the shutter was opened.”
Non-expensive programs like Adobe Photoshop are available to domestically manipulate photos with the click of a button. The Death of Photography
1. Do you agree with Berger's idea of publicity and the viewer's choice and ideas of glamor? Or do you think that viewers do have a choice about a glamorous life and the things we buy?
2. What are possible challenges faced by digital photos not having an "original"? Are there positives?
3. How has the growth of photography effected advertising and the way we view "computer enhanced" pictures? Questions...