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Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu

Stories, Spaces, Not Just Squares: Moving Photography to Platforms Other Than Instagram

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Above are cover photos for six of my photo essays that are now on Behance. You can see my profile and them here. I've written a Twitter thread on why I made this move to Behance, and what its taught me as a photographer, you can read that thread unrolled here (quick screenshot below). It tells a bit of my story of how my Instagram account just completely vanished one day, with no recourse or even a real explanation, something that gave me to try Behance, and Adobe sharing platform for artists. My experience with Behance opened up larger thoughts about photography in the digital age.

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One of the great challenges of a photographer, whose work is essentially to freeze time, lock it up in a frame, is that increasingly the life of the work then depends on putting that frozen chunk of Time into a faster and faster moving stream. Perhaps that was always the case, if we thinking about the stream of capital, investment and flows of photography commerce, but the work itself once lived, presented, in isolated places. In books, or in galleries and shows if fortunate. The frozen moment lived selected out, in a fixed place, a viewing context. Sometimes this was part of stories being told, in a magazine article, flipped between pages, or in a Newspaper, but the frame's relationship to stasis, a fundamental aspect of what Photography is, felt primary.

With social media stream becoming a fundamental dissemination and viewing experience this relationship to stasis has changed. And it becomes a real challenge to give your selected out stills a place withing the living stream. Right now Behance's storyboad-like projects are really interesting. Not so much as final homes, but in a way the creation of your own gallery, which could become a dialogue in editing.

A secondary path I've experimented with is using video to then create a more personalized stream, in the sense of recording a viewing experience in Behance. You can see one of this shorts here. Tempo and timing is introduced into the presentation, without submitting the images to the rushing waters of a social media platform, which is pretty counterproductive aesthetically:

 

It feels as if Photographers will need to creatively engage digital possibilities in order to create the kinds of spaces, the kinds of relationships to stasis, that are necessary for the character of their craft. We need to find boxed frames and small streamed experiences which bring out the stasis we create. I ran into this very interesting one called Spatial on the Apple app store. It's a digital gallery I believe oriented toward NFTs, but open to non-NFT work. It recreates the viewer experience of a gallery, remarkably delivering the concrete aspects of a digital version of art (change of angle, atmospherics, changes in light, etc) in a virtual way. Here we can see how stasis and flow (and viewer agency) can work together. A screenshot of Tweets of a digital artist I follow:

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For photographers of action, like fight action, this kind of kinetic representation makes even more sense, as the images are displayed in a volume and the viewer is given and almost bodily agency over the view. Also, the richness of increasing powers of resolution that are coming to photography are given a space to breathe, instead of compressed into a tiny square. The aesthetics of size are embraced, which matters a great deal when even thinking about the sale of photography and it's place in personal and public spaces. Because photographers freeze time, how people experience photographs in relationship to Time becomes of paramount importance to just what photography is.

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