I recently read a blog (Jeremy Nicholl, 2011) that was talking about the separation between the photographic worlds here on earth and the one in cyberspace. It has long been an interesting observation of mine that the more involved in the digital photographic world I become; the less I see my own work or others actually printed. Having recently had two pieces of work printed out in large format, it was almost like seeing the image again for the first time. I was amazed having viewed both images many times before, how powerful it was seeing them printed out in front of me. Wham, something strikes you like a bolt from the blue with the printed image that the digital screen just can’t do.
While photography has never been more accessible to people than it is right now, we are also in danger of suffering from digital overload. On recent visits to sites like Google+, 500 px and Facebook it stuck me how so many photos and images never really seem to have a home. In cyberspace, it’s becoming more and more possible these days for an image to never truly have a home, just a download point. While some might argue that an account setting can be classified as a home or a source, and maybe in the modern digital age that we now live in accounts are just that, a home or a source, but do they really provide the emotional connection that can be obtained with a printed image?
These two photographic worlds (Earth and Cyberspace) are becoming more and more unaware of the other, and it is in fact possible in these contemporary times to be regarded as a highly influence artist, without ever needing to produce a work of art off the computer screen. To my eyes, with the advent of the Google+, Facebook, Instagram or 500px photographer, there has almost reached a saturation point where thousands of photos are up load every day. In fact, in October 2011 Google+ revealed that 40 million or so users uploaded 3.4 billion photographs in 100 days or on Flickr, the daily average of photo uploading in 2012 was 1.42 million per day. With that many photos from that many photographers, how can someone possible find an image that creates an emotional connection? Or, is what was once WOW, the new norm?
The digital platforms of Flickr, Facebook, Google+, Instagram or 500px are a fantastic place for a photographer to showcase their work and build a following; however I can’t help but think maybe we need to fall in love with the printed image once again. After all, there’s an emotional pull that happens when an image has the power to make you physically stop and linger. Maybe it’s time to not only fall in love with the printed image again, but also time to make photography unique, personal and emotional ….. once again.