Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Thoughts on the hand made

I came across a post on Tovis Bratsburg's blog which echos up some of my thoughts on the importance of photographs as physical objects.

The following is an abstract.

These days to get furniture a person just drives to Art Van. The consumer has no knowledge of who build the work or where it even came from. While this is easy for the consumer and costs less, what happened to the person that poured pride into making a cabinet for somebody? Now, this is mostly done in a factory and since the work is produced in so many stages few even get to see the end product. Karl Marx dubbed this “the alienation of labor”. What is also interesting is how the factory that creates it not only pays workers low wages but is in a constant state of trying to manufacture it cheaper.

In photography, photographers use to have to buy paper, sensitize it and do everything mainly from scratch. They took pride in what they did and not everybody could do it. Over time photography has become easier for people to work with and more alien to the photographer. Even Albumen paper was produced in large factories so that people could sensitize it. Then cames the silver gelatin papers which made it so people did not have to sensitize paper. The darkroom was replaced by people sending in negatives made by the Brownies. In color photography the die transfer process was wiped out by PhotoShop and replaced with ink spitters that we call printers. Now some Kmart stores are abandoning photo processing because they can not profit with large internet digital photo producers. How alien is that? You do not even see who produces your photographs!

The full post can be found here

1 comment:

Jane Warman said...

a propos the first paragraph, see also John Ruskin's thoughts on factory v craftmade and he was writing in the late nineteenth century!