selfie

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. 

26 Weeks Camera Challenge #15: Selfie by Simeon Smith

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I’m unashamedly fascinated by the selfie culture. The fact that Kim Kardashian can sell art books of her instagram shots is an amazing phenomenon that is shaping how we see ourselves. Who hasn’t posted a selfie online? Phones come with front cameras for the express purpose of selfies. Never before have so many people distributed their likeness to so many of their friends or acquaintances. And never before have we spent so much time looking at self-portraits. Sure we may have been to a gallery to see a Van Gogh self-portrait, but you’d never have bought a magazine of selfies in mid-90s. They are a thing of our age. 

So let’s do them well. Let’s take deep and insightful selfies. Let’s question ourselves and our peers through how we portray our bodies.

Some people that do selfies so very well: 

Kim

Dee Elegia

Andy Warhol 

Francis Bacon

Frida Khalo

Christoph Neiman

Your task this week is to take and upload a selfie. But a good selfie. A technically good selfie, and an emotive selfie. Think about setting, about hair, wardrobe and makeup, about the story of your selfie. 

Questions: 

  1. What does your selfie say about you?
  2. What does it say about the viewer? 
  3. Why is current culture obsessed with self-image?