‘On the Edge’ by Arjan van der Horst, Amsterdam Netherlands
As reported by Becky Linhardt
The 2nd FOTOFOCUS Biennial opened this week and continues through November 4, 2014. The Hipstamatic® based exhibition Shedding Light at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center is part of the month-long celebration of photography. Although most of the events are based in downtown Cincinnati, regional arts organizations and museums in Dayton and Springfield are participating. Many museum exhibitions extend into 2015. The curator’s introduction to this international exhibition of Hipstamatic® photographs is included here and interspersed with some of the images selected by Jens G. Rosenkrantz, Jr. to represent the best use of the varied Hipstamatic® photographic styles.
‘Jack’s Auto’ by Brad Smith, Cincinnati OH USA
Clifton Cultural Arts Center:
A FotoFocus 2014 Exhibition
The truth is that lately we are taking a lot of pictures. A whole lot. During the first 100 years since the invention of the modern camera we had taken 1 billion photos more or less. With the advent of the ‘smart’ phone the numbers have exploded as there are currently almost 1.75 billion of these devices in the marketplace. At last count 3.5 trillion photographs have been taken in total with all types of cameras. But it’s the ‘smart’ phone that is pushing the tremendous activity recently. That’s a lot of babies, weddings, spring breaks, selfies, and cats. A whole lot of cats.
‘Pink Party’ by Christine Mignon, Vienna Austria
Most importantly, we are now feverishly sharing these photos with our friends, and the world. The Kodak prints are no longer sitting in a box in a closet somewhere collecting dust. With a ‘smart’ phone we are able to snap a decent photo – with a 5 megapixel camera or better – and upload it instantly to our favorite social media site. (Sales of ‘point-and shoot’ cameras have plummeted since 2010 and were down 50% last year.) Statistics are hard to come by as to total usage, but according to some reports, 350 million images are uploaded to Facebook alone every day. Every day! That’s a lot of babies, weddings, spring breaks, and selfies. And a whole lot of cats.
‘Pending the Storm’ by Therese Cherton, Brussels Belgium
This development is a world-wide phenomenon. We may not speak the same language, and we may not all get along all the time, but throughout the world we are sharing photos. It is a common link because we are social animals and visual animals. All of us. It’s how we communicate and connect with each other these days. Unless we are texting each other. But the photo is the message with the most impact.
‘Baby Chucks’ by Linda Gillings, Cincinnati OH USA
But is it real “photography” and is it real “art”? It is an old question that has been debated with every new technology shift. I maintain that it is for you to decide. Not the pundits. This exhibition includes more than 60 images from 35 artists from 12 countries. In the hands of an artist with an eye for composition and lighting and narrative, indeed it IS art in my opinion. And as the old saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you.
The images in this exhibition were taken with the phone and iPad apps of Hipstamatic and Oggl. The apps allow the user to preselect the film and lens used before the photo is taken instead of applying the filters in post edit. I encourage you to experiment with these apps and to share your photos with the many social media groups on Facebook. But please, no more cat photos. Please!