Photography as an art form is still in its youth. Since its inception in its modern incarnation some odd century and a half ago it has struggled to be seen as more than a mere recording device.
The age of digital photography and the rise of the smart phone have put a camera and a technologically sophisticated image creating device in the hands of everyone. Literally at their fingertips. They are ubiquitous. And social media platforms have made photography omnipresent in our lives. Like the tree falling in the forest with no one to hear the sound, if there isn’t a photograph online, has an event really happened?
More photographs are now taken in a single day than in the entire first century of Photography. What makes a single image or the images of a particular photographer unique? Or as art, makes such images more valuable than others?
In the view of Ansel Adams, “The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways. “. Printing photographs used to require a vast body of technical skills and knowledge. It was a blend of chemistry and art.
Today hundreds of millions of dollars are spent to purchase digital filter applications that will instantly transform smart phone photographs into instant art. At least that’s the claim.
But are phone filters any different than the Pop Art screen prints of Andy Warhol? Can high art be mass produced? Dismissed as kitschy by many in the early sixties, Warhol’s screen prints, multiple repetitious variations of a single image in a psychedelic hue of colours, now fetch millions of dollars in the auction houses of Southey’s and Christie’s.
Over the years I’ve won several awards and Photography contests with images created on my iPhone. Forty Two Red Shoes is my homage to Ansel Adams and Andy Warhol. In addition to the original Photography created on my Apple iPhone, I have made 41 variations using Prisma’s widely available photography filters. Prisma was acclaimed as the app of the year in 2016, as its filters mimicked widely known artists such as Mondrian, Roy Lichtenstein, Edvard Munsch and others.