A Photo Teacher |

Inside The Digital Vault

Posted in PHOT 167, PHOT 256 by Paul Turounet on February 4, 2010

© Paul Turounet, San Francisco, CA, 2009

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In considering the photographic archive – a collection of pictures, they are created and found in a wide variety of places to serve various purposes.  The most common and familiar photographic archive for many is the family album – the collection of family portraits and moments meant capture the family history as well as preserve those moments for recollection and memories.  Other photographic archives exist in libraries, museums, cultural centers, government entities such as the National Archives and the Library of Congress and private collections.   Archives exist as a means to collect, catalog, organize, and preserve images for not only historical reflection and research, but also to celebrate what has been created from a societal and cultural perspective.  One of the largest, if not the largest photographic archives that exists now is the digital one found on the Internet.

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© Thomas Ruff, jpeg bo02 | 2004, from Jpegs

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What they have in common is the fact that they heap together images of very different kinds and impose upon them a homogeneity that is a product of their very existence within an archive.  The unity of an archive is imposed by ownership of the objects themselves and of the principles of classification and organization by which they are structured.  Photographs of many kinds, which may have been taken for different purposes, are brought together: ‘in an archive, the possibility of meaning is “liberated” from the actual contingencies of use.  But this liberation is also a loss, an abstraction from the complexity and richness of use, a loss of context’ (Allan Sekula – Reading An Archive from Visual Culture – The Reader, edited by Jessica Evans and Stuart Hall, 1999).

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© Penelope Umbrico, Suns From Flickr | 2006 – 2007 (click on image to enlarge)

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Now the archive is raided not for photographs as aesthetic objects, but for photographs as signifiers of past times.  Blown up from their original proportions, sepia-toned and hung on gallery walls, or recycled as advertising imagery, photographs retain their implicit claim to authenticity.  This kind of commodification of the image continues to raise complex questions about how history is constructed and photographs to visualize the past. (from Photography: A Critical Introduction, edited by Liz Wells, 2004)

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© Richard Prince, from Four Blue Cowboys (top left) and Sherrie Levine, from After Walker Evans (right)

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Archive of Artist | Photographers Using Various Appropriation Strategies

  Joachim Schmid

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  Jon Rafman

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  Michael Wolf

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  Doug Rickard

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  Mishka Henner

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   Jenny Odell

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Assignment

Consider the conceptual possibilities of the photographic archive, appropriation and the Internet.

Using the Internet as a source place of photographic archives for appropriation, create a photo-montage, which includes a minimum of 6 images from internet-based imagery. Your conceptual idea | criteria will need to explore a topic in the news and should reflect a sense of visual and technical transformation that challenges the interpretive possibilities and meanings of your idea.  Such photographic archive sources include:

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  • Search Engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc…)
  • Social Media Sites (MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, etc…)
  • Mapping Sites (Google Maps, Google Earth, MapQuest, Bing, etc…)
  • Stills from Video (YouTube, Google, Bing, etc…)
  • Government | Public Domain Archives
  • Keyword Searches

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Techniques for technical execution:

  • Click and drag image onto the Desktop and Open in Photoshop
  • Screen Shot Capture ( Command/AppleShift3 : keyboard keys selected simultaneously) and Open in Photoshop
  • Technical Strategies (scaling | selections | multiple-image such as typology, diptych/triptych | density/contrast/color | layering/collaging | transformations)

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With this assignment, it is essential that your photographic process reflect a sense of considered conceptual thought, active visual exploration as well as a sense of visual | technical transformation of the original image source.

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Requirements

For the critique (see Calendar for Due Date) and evaluation, please complete the following:

1 – 17 x 22 inch finished photographic print of a multiple-image photo-montage, which includes a minimum of 6 images from internet-based imagery). Print will be made during class in the Grossmont College Digital Photography Lab.

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