Unhip Hipstamatic? Or Fauxtography Fail?

4 thoughts on “Unhip Hipstamatic? Or Fauxtography Fail?”

  1. I enjoyed your piece very much Lisa. It reminded me of a quote by Charles Dickens from his novel, A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

    Whether one is a dedicated photojournalist struggling to be heard, or an art photographer striving to make sense of this world we live in, now is surely the best of times and the worst of times. We have so much technology at our disposal and so many and such a diversity of channels through which to reach a public (the best of times) and yet there has never been such a glut of work ranging from the superlative to downright trash competing for an already over-sated audience (the worst of times).

    For a while, I railed at those neophytes who mass-produce craftless images of their mudane lives, ignoring all the lessons that generations of photographer craftsmen and women have painstakingly learned and artfully put into practise. And I railed even harder at the gallery owners and curators and publishers who encouraged this degradation of the craft by legitimising this artless work in galleries and publications. But then I realised that the underlying motive of the entrepreneurs is often money rather than art; and “new and different” will always outsell “more of the same” provided that the paying public can be convinced that the “new” is art – something that is easier to do than one might think since very few people are discerning enough to formulate their own opinion on the subject and look to others to inform them.

    In time, the work of artless amateurs will be recognised for what it is and will be forgotten; but that is of little comfort for those who are struggling to produce quality art today and finding little enthusiasm for it in the public arena. But the real artists will always stick to their guns; because that is all they know. And therefore, I concur with your sentiment: “I personally try and make my pictures and my words count for something….”

  2. Excellent piece. As a retired Media Literacy teacher, your observations ring so true. We live in an age of such diverse new forms of mass media, just aching to be used to used to create & express ideas & emotions, yet we still fail to teach those who have access to them how to use them effectively. Just because you know how to snap a picture doesn’t mean you know how to compose a photograph. or create an effective & moving piece of digital art. Apps are tools to produce form, but rules of composition and intelligent & creative choice of subject still resides with the photographer.

    As to the Hipstamatic app it is an example of what I call Necro-media. Necro-media can be, among other things, the use of the codes & conventions of an earlier form of mass media by a new mass media technology. As you point out, in this case the Polaroid codes & conventions have been simulated/re-created by the Hipstamatic app.

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