Magazine article Artforum International

Stan Douglas

Magazine article Artforum International

Stan Douglas

Article excerpt

GIVEN NEW TECHNOLOGY, the user often trades convenience for control. Take the cell phone camera. Because cell phone camera designers are knowledgeable about what a conventionally "good" photograph looks like, everyone now takes "good" photographs, which is to say that everyone's photographs tend to look exactly the same. Previously, the photographer either had an intimate technical understanding of what the camera was and so could control the image, or didn't understand the inside of the camera at all but, because of the particular "mistakes" he or she inevitably made, still produced interesting images. It wasn't until I switched to digital that I became interested in the mechanics of photography, because I had to be sure it would be at least as good as analog. I learned that lenses matter more than the recording medium because photography is all about converging light, compressing four dimensions into two, and that this is in the end an optical problem.

Nevertheless, the switch to digital imaging changes the relationship between the act of recording (or constructing) a photograph and its transmission. …

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