About photography materiality and online/offline liminality

I just came back from the EASA conference in Maynooth, Ireland. Along with Elisenda Ardèvol, we presented our theoretical framework (practice theory) and my research on digital photography practices at the workshop: “The Rewards of Media“, organized by John Postill and Philipp Budka. So far, so good. Interestingly, the best came once the conference was over (not only for the wonderful night with friends at the Market Place, the surprises and then the great pub discussion about the relationship between Catholicism and cultural common features, Thanks Paco!), but because I was able to see and talk with some photographers at the “Peoples Photography Ireland“, a public exhibition of camera club photographers.

Although in my work I haven’t been able to work directly with institutionalized amateur photographers (since actually, what I propose in my dissertation is that flickr is becoming one mayor bridge between photography institutions and a wide range or photographers, from snapshotters to amateurs and professionals), it was very interesting for me to see them in action. I was expecting to find some “Dublin flickr group” exhibiting but it seems that only “old fashion” clubs were participating. Of all the thoughts that came to my mind, there’s one I want to make here.
We have been discussing for ages the problematic relationship between the concepts of online and offline in the Internet Studies. But what was very interesting for me watching the exhibition, was to see how digital (sometimes online) practices had intermingled, in a playful way, with the material and physical exhibition, materiality that, by the way, permeated some of the characteristics of online photo platforms (galleries in flickr, face”book”, etc.).  I’ll show some examples of it with few comments.

Example 1

In one of the galleries, somebody added a “thumb-up” facebook alike

Example 2

In a series of colourful photos, somebody added a note saying: “not photoshopped”, signalling that the photo had those amazing colours without any extra post-production

Example 3

The image on the left is a photo of the exhibition and the one on the right is a screenshot of my flickr account using cooliris. For me the resemblance was very clear.

Examples 4 and 5

In these two examples we can see how initiatives that were started online (the 365 project and the photoblog), becomes the source for digital (material) photos. Since them also “connect” with their work online, this creates a continuity, a seamless “space of connections” of their practices.

These examples shows the sutile ways of how digital technology, materialities and practices, blurs what we, as academics, have been stubborn enough to try to separate (and use that separation in our studies).

I think this could be (or should be) a paper for the next conference in Paris 😉

3 thoughts on “About photography materiality and online/offline liminality

  1. Pingback: El testamento de un ex-tesista (III) Sobre las disciplinas « Tesis-Antítesis

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