Uma das mais estimulantes e interessantes conversas sobre fotografia a emergir do projecto “What’s next” da revista Foam. A versão completa está na revista online Seesaw cujo director é precisamente Aaron Schuman.
One thing that I find fascinating about what’s happening right now – and I suspect that this will gain importance in future – is that rather than photography representing the capture or culmination of something, it’s becoming a form of instigation. For me, the most interesting works coming out right now – even if they’ve been formalized in the form of a book, an exhibition, a print or a website – represent the beginnings of something. They’re not simply an end result, or the remnants of something that has past and been preserved in silver gelatin, emulsion, or ink; they’re starts, sparks, or seeds from which many other things might grow.
One way that you could define photography in terms of democracy is that anyone can make a picture; billions are made every year, so it’s clearly very easy, and I’m happy to admit that photography is very democratic in terms of its rendering. But as a meaningful cultural force it should not be described as being democratic, because culture is a process of defining what’s good – what’s resonant – and that’s not determined by a democratic or even an empirical system. So I’m not happy with the idea that, just because it’s easy to render a photographic image, anyone can make a great, culturally resonant photograph. Those processes are not democratic; at some point there is an elitism involved, and I think that such elitism is only a problem if you think in terms of its high-art version, in which there are millions of reasons why you might not be allowed entry into that world. But a group of people who all really get the same thing – whether its photography, or music, or skateboarding, or whatever form of collective culture – if that’s elitist, it’s in an entirely different league. It’s about self-elected elitism rather than the elitism of an establishment.