Instagram, insta-art, insta-cash! New York based artist, Richard Prince, has raided Instagram accounts, grabbed the images, and made a lot of money. His ‘New Portraits’ exhibition is appropriation of the highest order.
Now that we are well and truly in a digital world, Belgian photographer, Mishka Henner, believes that images and data are waiting to be discovered. His work involves trawling unimaginably vast data terrains, such as Google Earth and Street View, to find specific subjects. Rather than a ‘photographer’, he could be referred to as a ‘digital explorer’.
For this exercise I needed to create a typology of found images, in which a particular motif appears again and again. At first, I had thought about something link red telephone boxes or black cabs. However, the photographs often contained a lot of irrelevant visual information, which might detract from the main subject. Having found out about Joachim Schmid's method of collecting and categorising photographs, I tried to think of the modern day equivalent. I found my answer on the Internet.
In his chapter, Archive Noises, Joan Fontcuberta (2014) attempts to define the role and purpose of photography in modern society. Since its existence was announced at the Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Fine Arts, by scientist and politician, François Arago on the 19th August 1839, Fontcuberta (2014) defines modern photographic practice as a discourse between documentation and experimentation, and between memory and forgetting. In other words, the photograph enables us to capture details which the human eye might miss, and serve as a prompt to recall visual data, which would otherwise be forgotten.
The world is flat! We inhabit it through the touch screens of our handheld devices. This is where we communicate with each other, share photographs and find things out. As we become more and more addicted to this digital environment, we are neglecting the world around us.
Why bother preparing a meal from scratch, when you can microwave a ready meal in a fraction of the time? Similarly, some artists prefer to use existing images rather than their own. They 'take' photographs instead of making photographs. And why wouldn't they? We live in a digital world where Shore (2014: 7) believes that, "The online environment is a key hunting-ground for acts of creative, transformative borrowing."