Thoughtfactory’s image-text blog

an experimental image-text blog based in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia

GPS coordinates/innovation/future thinking

I have just realized that by using Latitude and Longitude through  Google Earth I am able to give  a far more  accurate way of identifying  the location of my photos,  than just saying 'the rocky coastline just west of Petrel Cove' in South Australia.  

An example of a recent photo:--Lat:-35.5932 Lon:138.5978

GPS coordinates have also helped me to find a section of granite rocks along the coast of Deep Creek Conservation Park that I've  wanted to walk and explore. I knew about them in a casual way,   but I could not  find their location  until I came   across a latitude reference to their location near Deep Creek Beach.  I was interested because I wanted to continue to explore the relationship between  photographic abstractions and  nature whilst avoiding  the genre of  the landscape. 

It will be a workout walking to and from the coast  carrying 5x4 equipment. As the walk is around  6 hours so it will become  part of  the training for the forthcoming camel trek from Blinman to Lake Frome  in South Australia in May. 

Using GPS coordinates  is  part of  trying to push the boundaries  of photography in a conservative,   visual culture that isn't really supportive of  future thinking in the arts --- eg., with online photography. Australian is about property, agriculture or mining. In photoland the common  view is that things are pretty okay as they are. The basic position is that there  is little need to push the digital boundaries.  Why bother?  I am happy doing what I am doing.  I'm content being in my own  photographic groove and that  is what matters. 

And yet.  The smartphone made photography available to anyone, and changed the notion of who is a photographer. The networked camera changed how we use photography to communicate. Snapchat crystallized the usage of photos as messaging, using photos to express ideas easier, faster, and better than just text, and at the same time making the photo itself far less important, more disposable, less permanent.

 Consider  Instagram, which has become central to our digitally mediated world with its unstoppable flow of online digital images. It is a a new means of distribution and a new means of communication which opens possibilities that didn’t exist before.  Instagram is popular with photo editors and creatives who use Instagram to find new photographers to assign work to; with  influencers and ad agencies who use it to market products; and with photographers  who use it to showcase their work. It allows for visual jottings; one-liners; a way to tryout new ideas using a smartphone. 

Instagram  has a good grip on those  photographers who publish/showcase  their work online,  despite  it  actually being  a walled garden. What is published on Instagram stays on Instagram,  and having a presence there doesn't really drive traffic to the  photographer's website.   There is limited conversation on it.   

Instagram  is about likes and this influences our photography.  Instagram is a lifestyle platform that subtly encourages you to construct your photography to  optimise  the likes,  as some kinds of photographs receive more likes than others. Even though it allows  for ways to tell  visual stories Instagram has  become a marketing/branding tool increasingly shaped by the advertising industry.  

So there is a need to do some future thinking  about photography online: how  can we create better online spaces for photography's networked digital images. The rethinking is  to explore  different ways to improve photography's online presence, to support an online  conversation about contemporary photography, and to map, visualise and question the cultural dynamics and cultural value of 21st-century photography in a social media age.  It is important because the photography industry has been eclipsed by the imaging industry and contemporary photography  is increasingly being driven by AI.   A1's pathway  is towards augmented reality (AR) experiences.