Fotograf Magazine

the horrors of postdigital photography

Ana Peraica

The invention of stabilized photographic processes is said to have coincided with the growing fear among painters that they would lose their jobs, a subject covered by a number of authors, the most well-known of whom is Aaron Scharf in his Art and Photography. Surprisingly, throughout the history of the photographic medium, photographers were frequently afraid, more frequently than painters. They were afraid of a variety of things. Allow me to list some of the most genuine photographic fears through history: that the emulsion coated on the glass plate would be insufficient, that someone would turn on the light in the darkroom, that the battery would die at a critical moment, that the camera would become wet, and that the memory card would become corrupted. In comparison with paintings, photography indeed had a higher rate of possible accidents. Along with accidents of the medium, painters and photographers were fearful of new photographic revolutions, introducing new technologies, particularly their massification; they feared, in particular, that technology’s availability and simplification would render them jobless. Many of these fears came true; as the market price of photographs plummeted, photography ceased to be a viable profession. As a result, the image’s overall quality was compromised.

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#41 postdigital photography