Glitch Photography as a Practice in the age of Post-Photography

v. 1.0 { 05.02.2017


Post-photography can be best understood not as a movement or a practice, but as an existential condition. This is the constellation where my generation of emerging visual artists finds itself situated, amidst technological, social, and political developments that are continuously transforming the artistic practice of photography. What has ushered in this moment of post-photography? 


1. The expansion of mass-surveillance systems that capture visual, spatial, chronological, and biometric data on individuals and populations. [They are watching us!] 


2. The development of autonomous technologies that can capture, interpret, and process visual/photographic data without the need for human eyes. [They are also robots!] 


3. The rapid global consumerization of photographic cameras and its integration with mobile devices [We are all photographers now!] 


4. The expansion of mass sousveillance systems as social media networks become de facto global distribution channels for photography, video, and new media. [We all watch ourselves too!]


5. The emergence of digital and online environments as temporal spaces for performance and interaction, compelling viewers to witness and document. [Watch them on WoW or GTAV!]


6. A culture of the spectacle and a culture of identity production trickling through the generations in an age of growing authoritarianism and inequality. [We are all narcissists!]


7. The wanton hybridization of distinctive forms of media that were once separated by the need to specialize labor within productions: photography, video, animation, 3D modeling, graphic design, programming, architecture, etc. On the one hand, creatives entering the labor market must now be proficient in many kinds of production workflows. On the other hand, traditional production methods are being replaced by virtualized workflows. i.e. corporate creative departments opting for rendered images instead of product photography. Amidst these shifts, digital artists live in a brief moment of fluidity (and economic precarity for many) that encourages them to unbind their creative workflows and aesthetics. [ We are broke af but we make memes! ]


What does it mean to be a photographer when everything has already been photographed?


Glitch photography is a beast with two backs. It understands the artistic practice of photography today as the entire apparatus of image production that envelopes the scene of a subject being captures in time with a camera device. The apparatus may begin with the device itself, whether a virtual camera in a 3d environment or a physical object of plastic and metal, the make and model, that maker's choice of circuitry, the limitations of its firmware, the structure of its RAW image format and the level of compression of its JPEGs, the type of storage media; onward towards how an image is processed, compressed, translated into a litany of formats, how it's edited, corrected, colorized, airbrushed, treated, cropped, to how it's organized into pixels or coordinates, or how its binary and how malleable that data can be, you can treat it like audio or like a virtual room; towards the limitations of the screen or graphics card or memory or hard drives yawning with age, or maybe it extends towards scanners and printers and input devices; beyond the workflow it extends towards the distribution and cataloging, the way a photographs is smashed and stripped of its color profiles for a Facebook page, the way you can add endless moving filters, the way images circulate social media, onto other devices, other malnourished devices, the way interrupted transmissions break images in time, the way they are remixed and recontextualized; right down to the methods used to limit their visibility, or the systems used to mine their information, to catalog their makers and conveyors, to reconstruct a face. 


Glitch photography implies this vast apparatus with all the unmentioned facets and transversals, as well as in the way we embody and replicate the apparatus. Glitch photography considers all of these nodes and more are as sites for photographic practice, meant to be sought out and manipulated until they break through the surface of the image, where the original subject waits in quiet complicity.


Glitch photography is also the practice of capturing the moments of rupture within this vast apparatus, the way one capture a performance or an event. 

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