photography and social media

Though  I currently use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word of what I’m doing with my photography I have realised that I have been cutting back on being engaged in social media. My growing dissatisfaction with social media is  one part of the deep background  changes that are currently happening in the  culture of  photography. 

I post regularly on  Facebook (here and here)  and Twitter  (here). It's  basically drop and run.  I only comment now and again  on posts by friends,  or in a couple of groups where there  is still a minimal sense of online community.  I then leave social media alone.  My reason  is that I don't really like Facebook and  its algorithms, and I detest, if not loathe,  its business model approach to the way it collects, stores, or analyzes its users’ data. Facebook is an advertising business that tracks people first and foremost; it is a Big Tech company that aims to become the operating system of our lives.

This  kind of negative reaction to social media is  probably quite common.  Joel Colberg, for instance,  has an interesting post on  what is happening in photography and social media. His argument  is  that  social media has  had a  destructive impact on the public sphere of online photography.  I agree with him  and so  I suspect would many other artists.  

the art market

In this post, the Canberra based  art historian  Sasha Grishin outlines the changes  in the art world. Restricting himself to the primary art market Grishin  says that  this market  was a traditional part of the traditional infrastructure for selling art, but now it is  failing to do this. 

Grishin  says that: 

"The traditional structure for selling art in Australia is through a commercial art gallery that picks up fresh talent, and then through the auspices of a newspaper art critic who promotes it to an art buying audience...[However]... In the 21st century, this 19th-century system of marketing and promoting contemporary art is seriously breaking down and the number of commercial art galleries in Australia has roughly halved over the past couple of decades."

He adds that patron visitation rates are poor and, outside exhibition openings many galleries report minimal visitors a day. People complain that they are time-poor and are more likely to visit a gallery online, than participate in the dying ritual of the weekly art gallery crawl. Online sales have not been seriously explored. 

fragments of light abstractions

Even though my leg is still infected  and I need to continue with the course of  antibiotics,  I am able to move around a little more freely now that the stitches have been taken out and the skin healed. 

After returning home from the  5 day sojourn in the Flinders Medical Centre I have  limited myself to walking  down Solway Crescent to the Encounter Bay  boat ramp. At  sunrise the boat ramp is  a hive of activity now that the channel has been dredged. Some  boats are already returning at 6am--presumably they have dashed out to check their cray (rock lobster) pots, whilst others are going out for a days recreational fishing with their friends.  

I have limited myself to photographing the head and tail lights of the parked 4 wheel drives,  then I sit at a table for a while watching the boats come and go in the morning sun before returning home for breakfast before I begin to edit  this post.  In the late afternoon I repeat the  walk. Since this  walk is not long enough  to exercise  the poodles Suzanne has been walking them  in the morning and the afternoon.  

at Flinders Medical Centre

I spent 5 days in a ward 4GS at  the Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) last week, due to the skin graft on my  leg becoming infected,  whilst  I was preparing for the Mallee Routes exhibition at the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery.  I ended up at the emergency department of the Victor Harbor Hospital on the  Sunday of the exhibition open, then went to FMC early on the Monday morning. I left FMC late on Friday afternoon. 

Though I was on an intravenous antibiotic drip  for the infection every six hours for the 5 days I was ward 4GS  I was allowed to make short walks  outside the ward in-between the 6 hours.  

The  short walks meant that I  mostly  explored the area  around the coffee shop such as  Theo's or the cafe in the Centre for Innovation in Cancer.   I would usually wander around this area  after  treating  myself  to a cup of coffee;  or after dinner at 5pm. 

Adelaide Art Photographers 1970-2000

Finally. 

This limited edition book----the background is  here---- goes to the printers (Openbook Howden) on Monday,  25th November.  The three  people who have worked on this book throughout  2019 ---Adam and Michal Dutkiewicz and myself-- made the final corrections to the preview copy on Friday  at Dulwich in Adelaide.  Hopefully, Openbook Howden  will be able to print the book by mid-December, just in  time for  Xmas It's official  launch will be at an exhibition at the RSASA in March 2020. 

It has been a major effort to recover some of  the art photography in Adelaide from this period,  to  then organise  the diversity of this work  into an art history book that looks and feels good in the hand,  and to write an essay on the aesthetics of medium specific modernism and its postmodern negation. It is an about an  art photography during the 1970-2000 period that was made in a provincial region outside the Euro-American centres, as well as  the major Australian cultural centres in Melbourne and Sydney--it's a critical regionalism, if you like,   structured around the the classic dichotomy between centre and periphery.    

This is a partial art historical text  with critical intent, and it is the second volume in the Moon Arrow Press photography  series, the first being  the Abstract Photography one that was published in 2017.  Both books help to give a sense that there was an  autonomous art photography tradition in Adelaide in the late twentieth century, as well as to give some indication of its regional breadth and depth prior to the internationalisation of Australian art after 2000. What emerged after 2000 was an unthinking acceptance that whatever appeared in the top-end galleries and auction houses in the major western (Euro-American) metropolitan cultural centres represented contemporary art.