Week 4 – Strategies of Freedom

For me the concept of photography is freedom.

Picking up a camera gives me the permission I need to stop, step out of the 9 – 5 life and walk away for a while.

Pressures from work, family and the usual life balances all leave as I walk down the river, up a mountain or stand at an airshow with my camera in hand.

Looking down the lens of my camera it seems, projects me into another world. A world that I control. A world where things happen at a pace I set.

This sense of freedom brought me into photography in the first place. It is this feeling of freedom that also drives me to push my practice further.

After all these years and with all the many thousands of pictures I have taken, I have still yet to take a picture I am happy with.

This elusive ‘holy grail’ image keeps me driving forward with my photographic practice. The concept that one-day I will take that one image …. you know the one that you always show people – pushes my practice and photography methods ever further.

In this weeks challenge we looked at a hands off approach, using any means other than our own common practice.

One of my interests has been remote photography and the use of technology to obtain images and film of wildlife living their normal lives.

The angle I take in my film and photography practices is to put the viewer where the camera is – so that they can experience first hand the scene as if they were actually sat there.

To achieve this I often use remote film and stills equipment. An example of this can be seen below – note this was shot in July 2018 (original amended from June as it didn’t work due to a badger interfering)

This was taken with a remote wildlife camera in my garden. The benefit of this method is that you get a first hand, real world view of the subjects in the natural state. The down side is that it can be very time consuming, mostly luck driven and subject to repeated attempts.

A similar practice to this – but within a virtual world – is the growing culture of gaming photography – often known as VRP – “Virtual Reality Photography”

This is an area of work where people take screenshot stills images of games they are playing.

Due to the ever evolving games industry, the concept that you can create work to then exhibit or sell – all from a world that does not exist in the physical sense – is fascinating.

As a gaming fan myself, I have notice a rapid improvement in game graphics and the subsequent quality of the imagery, so this concept does come with little surprise.

What does interest me is the speed at which the genre is growing. It seems the ‘arm chair photographer’ is now ever more prominent amongst us, and ‘the force’ is very much with them.

The work of practitioners such as:

Duncan Harris – Dead End Thrills – http://www.deadendthrills.com

wolf_paradeDuncan Harris – Wolf Parade (date unknown)

and Leonardo Sang – http://www.leosang.com

downloadLeonardo Sang – title unknown

All provide work that represents a personalised and often unique view of the virtual gaming world.

The ability of graphic designers to create worlds far detached from our own, yet that are seemingly very similar in look is also worthy of note. As this is, in itself, an art form.

VRP represents an element of photography that – arguably – is fundamentally carried out by machines, with the photographer debatably pushing a button to capture a virtual scene within world that they can fully control.

My argument here is:  who is actually the real creator and curator of the work?

Is it the graphic designer who has built the landscape within the photograph?

Is it the computer that has captured, rendered and then produced the image we see?

Or is it the artist who selects the scenes and brings that point of virtual time to life?

One could easily argue that this is a very good example of collaborative processes between all three, which notably has a virtual collaborative partner – in the sense of the computer.

But on the other hand one could also argue that this spells a sea change in photography as a whole and that new – more virtual practices – could one-day overtake more traditional visual creative approaches.

This has more resonance now than ever, following the developing introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into our daily lives.

Currently at the non-aware (i.e. not conscious) algorithmic state of AI, we are starting to see AI applications every more moving into the arts world.

It is now possible to buy mobile phones with cameras that have adaptive AI embedded within them, going much further than traditional face detection and redeye removal that has been around for a few years.

Photography has used AI for years, but this has only really been covering the basics. It wont be long before more advanced AI finds its way into photography in more generic applications.

The question remains – will this move into a more digitised AI driven world spell the end of traditional photography and other creative practices?

Or like the ageing record LP – will photography keep bouncing back in more and more retro forms, driven by a collective collaboration of artists, all seeking freedom from their digitised worlds?

Time will tell!

Source media for this article referenced  from:

Gilmour, David – Art of Video Game Photography, 18th July 2015 – Link here 

Carter, Jamie – What is an AI-powered camera? AI cameras explained, February 2018 – link here

 

 

 

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