Invented for people who are visually driven

Invented in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce during the rapiddevelopment of industries, photographywas born. Its ability to capture movement, construct history evoke both emotionand character and create memories helped it become one of the most importantparts of the art world. This essay will depict and analyse how the birth of photographyhas impacted upon contemporary art practice and spectatorship. I believe the developmentof photography and film have changed traditional art notably. People rarelyseek to have portraits painted due to the cheaper alternative of photographs. However,I also believe from this we embrace other art movements which couldn’t be capturedwith a camera such as, pop art, surrealisms, minimalisms, and abstract art toname a few.

Would these have rocketed to such a degree without the existence ofphotography? As well as this I will be exploring how photography has desensitisedus as spectators of the imagery we surround ourselves with on social media andother entertainment forms. It gives us instant access to other peoples livesand prompts anxieties in many over excessive exposure. This causes profounduncertainty in parents whom will worry about the media and how it will effecttheir children, also in teenagers and young adults bening insecure in themselvesas they see all the photgrpahs of the ‘perfect boyd’ or lifestyle. Social Media gives us easier access to a whole variety of artwork. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter andPinterest are some of these websites in which we can enjoy art and find outinformation on many different artists.

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Some would agree that this has destroyedthe novelty of going to visit a gallery or museum and would prove that photographyhas definitely changed the world of Art in a negative way.Social media is moresui    ted to a younger demographic andsome artists are even using this as a way of capturing their audiences throughonline cultural and social trends. Instragamis the key social network for contemporary art today as the image sharing phenomenonnow has over 600 million users. It works for people who are visually driven andwant to be able to share and promote their works. Resulting in it becoming alegitimate contemporary art medium and movement of its own.

Artist Amalia Ulman used her Instagram account(@amaliaulman) as the platform for a new performance art, in which created anew persona for herself becoming a typical LA girl. She narcissistically mimicslifestyle, poses and aesthetics that these girls typically behold and post. Ulmanwas exhibited in the Tate Modern ‘Performing for the camera’ exhibition which examined therelationship between performance and photography. Traditionalist artists caused uproar about this as they believe social media based art work does not belong in galleries and museums and has a long way to go before it has aregognisable value. Claiming “it was tooaccessible, too banal to be art”.

Again proving how there is a change in the contemporary art world and how some people are embracingit and others are truly stuck in their ways.   Another way in which Ibelieve that photography has changed our ways of seeing is how desensitised wehave become to violent images or ones of a sexual nature. These are often featuredin the media or on the news which is something we are surrounded by on a day today basis.Media may stimulate aggressive behaviour by desensitising children tothe act of violence meaning that they become less emotionally concerned andfind it acceptable.

(Cline, Croft & Courrier, 1973).I think this is particularlyconcerning the younger generation as this is what they will grow up with frombirth and begin to get used to seeing such disturbing and emotionally scaringthings. According to Browne and Hamilton-Giachritsis (2005), there isconsistent evidence that violent imagery in television, film and computer gameshas substantial short-term effects on arousal, thoughts, and emotions. Thisincreases the likelihood of aggressive or fearful behaviour in youngerchildren, especially boys.

However, Josephson (1987) disagrees and argues thatviolence on screen is extremely different to violence in the real world,stating that media violence is more likely to make children more ‘frightened’than likely to carry out such acts. As well as the cynical and fatalistic ideasthat are presented to us through hpotgrpahy, also leave us with more opinions, prejudicesand ever growing fantasies. Whether this be for better or for worse, photographystill remains the medium in which gives fraudulently deceptive ideas towardsreality.An artist who wants to use the platformof photography and spectatorship to capture the essence of a contemporary societyis Daryna Barykina. Her series ‘bruised behind the mask’ observes domesticabuse and explored how it is often disguised and masked but also how truly devastatingit can be in a modern world.

She uses hpotgrpahy to create controversial imagesthat build and trigger conversation. Barykina uses photoshop and retouchingtechniques to create the effect of in the mornings she  “glues” herself together almost andat night there are even more broken pieces. This becomes a degrading cycle dayin and day out. By creating these images, the artist was able to herselfforward into raising awareness of these victims and being able to help andsupport them. This proves that photography has impacted the art wold in thesense that it gives people platforms to raise awareness for certain matters or subjectssuch as domestic violence.

I think a project like this would only have madesuch impact with a camera as it causes emotional complexity and engages viewersactively. 


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