In this post on the Leica Poetics blog I referred to Wim Wenders view about the shifting ground of the photographic medium (as the single, static image). So what has happened to photography with networked computing? Wenders held that photography is dead and that we need to find a new term for the digital photography in our contemporary visual culture. Digital images in this culture are images that are co-constituted with software; are networked; are driven by algorithmic analysis of the vast banks of images collated by social media platforms that are profit-driven; whilst seeing is now platform or screen seeing. Now we hav generative AI, which produces text and images in abundance, and soon, music and video, too. As James Vincent of The Verge says the dynamics of AI is producing cheap content (AI junk) based on others’ work through scraping their content.
We are a long way from the photography and ways of seeing of the Bowden Archives and Industrial Modernity project of the late twentieth century that finished in the 1990s. The images produced by this analogue photography has been replaced by the automated processes of algorithms, data flow, big data and social networking. So we need to unthink photography; or more specifically unthink the ontology and culture of the analogue photography in the Bowden Archives, Mallee Routes or my large format photography, now that the historical period of the mechanical analogue has passed.
This representational kind of photography in the age of the computational mode of image production is redundant, whilst still exerting an influence as an after-life. It is an obsolete medium, one which refuses to die, that has become a historical medium of heritage.