Are You The Future of Photography or the Problem With It?

You are the problem point of view: “When you leave everything to the crowd, where everything is democratized, when everything is determined by the number of clicks, you are by definition undermining the seriousness of the artistic endeavor…There is no evidence that we are on the verge of a great new glittering cultural age, there is evidence that we may well be on the verge of a new dark age in cultural terms … where the creative world is destroyed and where all we have is cacophony and self opinion, where we have a crisis of democratized culture.” – Andrew Keen from forthcoming film PressPausePlay.


You are the future point of view: “Now, we’re a series of editors. We all recycle, clip and cut, remix and upload. We can make images do anything. All we need is an eye, a brain, a camera, a phone, a laptop, a scanner, a point of view…We’re making more than ever, because our resources are limitless and the possibilities endless … We want to give this work a new status…Things will be different from here on …” -curators of group photography show From Here On. Arles, France

The above two opposing points of view are from this article in The Guardian by photography writer Sean O’Hagan. As far as I’m concerned, this is a non-debate. Let’s get real – it’s all the future. And you are are a part of it. The world… is NOT determined by a series of clicks. Nor does new work get a new status by simply being created. There is still merit, and there are still gatekeepers. It’s just that there are more exciting viewpoints than before AND that the keys to the gates are held by a new, different, larger and emerging cross section of the population.

And most importantly….

The future of photography –as has always been with the future of art– is cumulative, not partitive. Just like Warhol didn’t undo Monet, and Mapplethorpe did not undo Cartier-Bresson, we will retain the vision of the photographic masters who have preceded us. And we will reconcile those works with your work and my work and what’s hanging at the ICP, and the Met and MOMA, and Gagosian, and that other gallery you’ve never heard of, and Google Street View, 3-legged cats with cameras on their necks, and webcams.

The past merges with the present to make the future. And because of all that, the photographic future looks pretty damn interesting.

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