351MC Phonar First Lecture and Notes (02.10.13)

Notes taken from class:

Why Phonar?

Phonar is photography in narrative. It’s about people’s habits or rather trying to establish or re-establish those habits. Habits define us but there imposed and inherited by social and cultural systems. Systems do not want us to think for ourselves. We only understand new media because of our knowledge of old media. “If you want to change the world, you have to describe it differently”.

What is a photographer?

A photographer could be argued to be a person, anyone for that matter, capable of taking images. A professional photographer however is a person with expertise and thought, who takes images for a particular reason or response.  The definition of a photographer raises immense complexities. Photography is endlessly changing and accessible to everyone. And so, if anyone can take an image, anyone could be considered a ‘photographer’.

What is a photograph?

A photograph is two-dimensional, colour, black and white, bounded by a frame, ages and is fixed in time.

Tran media is when one media links to another on different platforms.


A Kodak sign, something instantly recognizable and trusted, yet no longer the face of photography. Despite being the first to invent the digital camera, Kodak now represents more traditional ideas in relation to photography, such as a photograph being created for a reason. In modern times, there is now a difference between an image and a photograph. Applications such as Instagram and Snapchat evidence and understand this difference. These programmes make a photograph about the experience, the process of image making, as opposed to the evidence, the final photograph. This means people are now taking images, just because they can and because it’s quite enjoyable.

These applications have made it possible, to even the most un-artistic of characters, to produce images, communicate, share and upload them with the rest of us, thus evoking ideas that anyone can be a photographer now. Access and this attitude of ‘skill, expertise or thought not required because we’ve got a software that does all that for you’ have evoked many troubling questions and issues. Is there an image overload? Should images online be filtered? Should everyone have access to taking images? Should everyone have the right to upload and share them online? Can photography still be seen as a specialist skill? Is there such a thing as a pointless image? 300 billion photos are uploaded to Facebook everyday (statistics from 2013) and I can’t help but see that as a negative. The vast amount of images online and endless image making makes us question: is photography dead?

Of course, the enablement of having access to so much information and images online is amazing but it has allowed an inevitable overload and a lot of BS to make it onto our online environment. This reminded me of Erik Kessels “24 Hours In Photos” featured at the Future of the Photography Museum, a curated exhibition which was part of FOAM’s “What’s next?” programme exploring the future of photography in the 21st Century.

Erik Kessels '24 Hours in Photos'

Erik Kessels ’24 Hours in Photos’

Erik Kessels installation “24 Hours In Photos” brought to visual matter how through the digitalisation of photography (images instead of photographs), the immense rise in image sharing sites (Tumblr, Facebook, Flickr) and advances in technology (iPhones, Mobiles, Digital Cameras) has resulted in an avalanche of photographs at our disposal. The exhibition was made up of all the photos uploaded to Flickr over a 24-hour period, which Kessels then printed and dumped into the exhibition space. This resulted in mountains of photographs the audience can walk through, pick up and enjoy amidst the clutter of images we live in nowadays.

“We’re exposed to an overload of images nowadays. This glut is in large part of the result of image-sharing sites like Flickr, networking sites like Facebook, and picture-based search engines. Their content mingles public and private, with the very personal being openly and unselfconsciously displayed. By printing all the images uploaded in a twenty-four hour period, I visualize the feeling of drowning in representations of other peoples’ experiences.” Erik Kessels.

“24 Hours in Photos” had intense visual impact and pops up in my mind again and again. Having Kessels present the photos in such a way, as physical matter, the more traditional way of viewing images, you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by how many photos can come out of only 24-hours in the current age we live in! It’s difficult not to feel reflective about photography’s past. Before people had to work hard at creating an image, in fact only scientists were able to do so but now everyone can!

So what makes you different? What is a photographer?

Artisan, your specialist craft skills. Connected, your network. Trusted, your reputation. A photographer is a credible witness and trusted source that people believe and trust in. A photographer is a visual storyteller with visual literacy and digital fluency who creates images of providence. Photographers create images with meaning, to evoke a response, reach out and to connect with others. Their images are thoughtful and considered, as they must consider the consequences to their images (build a brand, tell a story, create controversy, evoke change).

Examples: “Access to Life” raised one billion dollars for treatments for the characters portrayed in the series. Advertisements for well-known brands (black and white image for GAP) are ones we instantly trust. August Sander who created matter-of-fact portraits of regular working class Germans, before the rise of Hitler and his army, created the fabric of our visual understanding and trust we associate with such images. Black and white, strong, singular images of individuals encapsulates a trust-worthy aesthetic, which has also influenced the work of David Bailey and Richard Avedon.

Tweet notes from class. Below are some screen shots of my twitter feed, inactive I know.

Phonar Twiter

Phonar Twiter

Research and learn more about creative commons and archives.

After visiting the creative commons website I now understand that creative commons is a non-profit organization which allows for people to legally share and use material, both academic and creative.  Copyright licenses enable people a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work all within copyright law. Every license helps creators/licensors to retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, edit, remixed, build upon and share, whilst retaining some copyright, ensuring people get well deserved credit for their work.

In the lecture, Jonathan reminded us again, the importance of our online presence. Having different sites and avenues for people to access our work opens up more opportunity for communication and connectivity. It allows us to connect with other creative’s, our classmates, promote ourselves and even gain work or involvement with other projects. And so I signed myself up for the recommended programmes that I didn’t already have. I updated my lying dormant twitter account, which I will be active on for this module. I edited the page by inserting images of myself, creating my own background, using the same image as my profile picture, creating consistency and putting a face to my name.

I also added links to this word press blog, including all my accounts and my website/blog I had to create for our Digital Media module. I wanted to link my viewers to that site and blog in particular because it archives some different work and a mock up website, which I’m proud of.

I also renamed my flickr account so it was in my name, again reinforcing a sense of professionalism and consistency.

Whenever I browse at a photographers or artists blog or website that I like, I really appreciate when they put up all their links in the one place. It’s extremely helpful, useful and less time consuming and obviously makes their work more accessible to view. This is what I particularly like about, the programme about. me. It’s simple and straightforward to navigate and edit which I really appreciate (no Dreamweaver necessary here!) and allows you to archive all your links on the one website. You enter your details, put up all your links and that’s it. All about you and your work all available in one place. Great! I chose one of my own photographs as my background on my about.me website but I’d like to update it to a self-portrait so people can put a face to my name and brand.  Below are some screen shots of my setting of my about.me page.

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