Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Serendipity and art

In a New York Times article on Harry C. Dorer, Ronald Smothers reports:

Barbara Yochelson, a historian of photography and a freelance curator of photography exhibits, said that libraries and local historical societies often have such collections, valuing them more as history than as art. But that is changing, she said, as inexpensive digital technology and the Internet have made it easier to duplicate and exhibit pictures, making them accessible to a wider array of people and beginning to blur the line between history and art.

In the last 30 years or so, she added, "vernacular photography" - the kind done by local portrait photographers, journalistic toilers such as Mr. Dorer and drawn from simple family albums - has attracted increasing interest. She said that "serendipity" had always elevated some snapshots to art, but this phenomenon seemed more common.

How has "inexpensive digital technology" created "serendipitous art" in your own work?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Peter Szawlowski said...

For me I feel that the opposite is true.
Seems that when I was shooting with film that there was more of a chance of "serendipity" in my work.
The element of surprise and of making fortunate discoveries by accident is by and large absent when using digital cameras. More or less one can see immediately the results.

7:00 AM  
Blogger J. said...

I never had the luxury of serendipitous treasures when shooting film. I always had to worry about the cost of the consumables and knowing I lost shots because I hesitated for fear of wasting film. Shooting digitally has freed me up to grab the passing shot, oftentimes whipping my point-and-shoot out of my pocket, squeezing off a shot even without looking, and not even breaking stride.

Some of my favorite shots are done this way. My photostream is full of them.

(shameless self promotion:)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/oldhamedia

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Ian said...

I think j has it right. Digital images allow you to grab anything and everything that passes in front of you. If like me the photograph is often just the start, you then have much more raw material to work with.

These days I use my camera as a digital sketch book - capturing things I see with intention of reworking them later.

Examples (and more self promotion) here or here

7:55 AM  
Blogger donna said...

plus the opportunities it allows for observation previously closed to me. For example, studying pavement in the middle of the road as well as the side of the road. I can stand at the side of the road for as long as I want. In the middle I'm going to get run over. Thank you digital. Home study has proved a boon to me re: rust on RR tracks, moving machinery parts, flying dust at sawmills, slush, you name it. And the most hazardous of all, people. (what the hell you looking at?)

1:33 PM  

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