35mm film

Film Swap with Lee Young by Simeon Smith

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A few weeks ago Hannah off of Lomography set me and a few other UK photographers up with a film swap with Singapore-based photographer Lee Young. Check out his work on Lomography here.

A film swap is where we both shoot a roll of film, swap the rolls, then shoot OVER THE TOP of each other’s photos.

Here’s a sneak peak of our photos from the project, but I’m sure Lomography will put a bunch together from the different shoots.

The Lomography Diana Is A Shit Camera for Street Photography And That Is Exactly Why You Should Use It For This Purpose. by Simeon Smith

26 Weeks Camera Challenge #21: Readymade by Simeon Smith

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I don’t know what photography is.

I mean, I know what a camera is. I know how it makes images. But photography as a whole? I’m not sure.

Is it, and if so when is it, art? Chemistry? Documentation? Media? Self-indulgence?

There’s more to it triggering a shutter and capturing some light, and at the same time, surely that’s all there is to it?

In my opinion, art reached it’s most self-referential point with Dadaism and Duchamp’s ready-mades. A urinal, on it’s back, in a gallery, with Duchamp’s signature on it was the most relevant “what is art?” moment.

In a similar way, Daido Moriyama’s photos of glossy magazine photographs and garish billboards in my opinion ask some of the most important contemporary questions about photography, authorship, creativity and media. By capturing an image of an image we end up with a feedback loop where one type of media shines light on another.

Richard Prince took this one step further by blowing up and selling (for tens of thousands of dollars!) large screenshots of other people’s Instagram posts, without the original instagrammer’s permission.

This week, explore ownership, appropriation and the visual public space by taking pictures of other people’s pictures. Ads in bus stops, stock images in books, things you find on the screen of your phone, whatever.

Questions:

1.       When is appropriation in art good?

2.       Where is the line between inspiration and theft?

3.       Are images in the public domain fair game?

Mood [A Gallery] by Simeon Smith

Shot to Fomapan 100 and digital, on a few different cameras over the last 2 months. 

Human Nature - Some first thoughts on ARS BETA. by Simeon Smith

Today I was invited to try a beta version of a new app by my mancrush, Eric Kim. 

Cards on the table here, folks. 

Yes, I love Eric. His photography, his writing, his outlook. 

I don't know who took this photo because... well the site doesn't tell you. 

I don't know who took this photo because... well the site doesn't tell you. 

ARS (pronouced “Ours”, not “Arse”… I’ve already told him that all brits will read “ARSE”), is a “feedback” tool for photographers. It’s basically "Hot or Not” for photographs. For each photo users upload you can tell them to “KEEP” it or “DITCH” it.  There currently aren’t any networking tools in place, just very basic profiles and photos getting flashed up on a screen. 

Now we could have the age old conversation about how art isn’t competition and how one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, that’s a worthwhile conversation to be had, but for the average photographer, trying to appeal to a mass market, feedback on photos that you’re not sure about can be a tool to decide what photos to use to promote your next workshop, which photos you should have on the landing page of your website… you get the idea. And hey, if you don’t like the idea of people rating or slating your work, don’t sign up. 

The only argument against this kind of voluntary rating thing for art (and I mean this for anything, Facebook likes, download charts for music, the oscars) is that it perpetuates a culture of art being competitive. And this is where the ARS proposition gets interesting, and potentially where it’s downfall lies. 

(And I’m sorry, in my head when I type it I still say ARSE) 

The only other feature of the site is a “Top Photos” section, where the highest rated photos are shown off in all their relativistic glory. 

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Maybe I’m some kind of twisted person. 

Maybe I’m just not that nice. 

But it doesn’t take a genius to realise that in order to get your photos on the “Top Photos” for the day, your photo needs to be up-voted, and other people’s photos need to be down-voted. 

In an anonymous world, where votes aren’t linked to personalities, few people are going to get to the “Top Photos” page by up-voting their competitors. 

I think Eric and the team behind ARS (yup, still ARSE), are imagining a world where people will visit the site to get honest, anonymous feedback on their work.

But while there’s a “Top Photos” page some people won’t be on the site for the feedback.

They’ll be there for the self-promotion. 

And that’s not a bad thing. Eric is one of the people I’ve learnt most from about self-promotion. He owns self-promotion. 

But it changes the dynamic of the site. 

Now to the good: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (which is really Facebook 2.0, don’t be fooled), currently OWN photo sharing. 

If you’re not on these sites, you don’t exist. 

I’m a big fan of people owning their own turf on the internet. That’s why I have this website. There’s no algorithm making a fool of this sites users. ARS might just give people back a small platform to share their work away from the billionaires’ playgrounds. 

And for that, I have a lot of hope.

(I’d like to point out that I didn’t down-vote a load of photos on the site for my own gain, though I could have. I’ve only down-voted two. One was offensively bad. Like VapourWave art bad. The other was of a cup of coffee. A fucking cup of coffee. And don't come all "Yeah, you upload photos of cups of coffee sometimes. Well I don't upload them to be rated, you weirdo.)

SEE ALSO: The Downvote Fairy.