This lecture, titled ‘Continual Evolution of the Photographic Phenomenon’, focuses not only the technological advancement of the medium, but also considers the wider, cultural and social effects of photography in 21st century. The lesson will first look at the continuously changing forms of photographic devices, their marketing strategies, chiefly a focus on user-friendliness and portability, the improvements of pin and shoot cameras, the birth of digital hybrid equipment (like the Olympus Pen series), and the emergence of photographic functions with mobile devices, which in turn, provoked a resurrection of analogue technologies as a response, such as the small, medium, and polaroid formats.
The lecture will then proceed to explain how such hyper development of digital photographic technologies led to an inevitable entanglement between photography and contemporary routines of daily lives, which simultaneously, generated the demand for platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, and which in turn feeds our hunger for consumption of pictorial imageries. Here, the lesson will move on to discuss the social effects of such platforms, how in a certain manner, they embody an innate capacity to overtake, or to replace, the functions of written texts, thus substituting the act of reading words with the act of reading images, which consequently produce an observable contemporary tendency of perceiving visual information with an imperative framework.
The session will proceed to explain how this is indeed an emerging issue, as the structure of such visual perceptual datum deprives the system of logic, unlike with words and numbers, which subsequently fall into the speculative paradigm, that is in opposition to a critical and analytic scheme. The lecture will then speak of how such mode of thinking gave rise to speculative realism as a contemporary philosophical movement in the emerging era of Metamodernism. Finally, with brief explanation on the aesthetics of the Metamodern age, the lecture will proceed to provide examples of (interdisciplinary) photographic practices in said era, with works by Stuart Bailes, Mark Osborne, Bobby Sinclair, Mandy Barker et cetera, and the utilisation of the photographic medium in the addressing of pressing global issues in our current day and age.