It’s an interesting time in photography – the medium has become so dispersed throughout the culture. Photography, as a term, may no longer be adequate; it represents a tradition that artists came from and not necessarily where they operate today. There are pictures of nearly everything now – on our cell phones, in surveillance, on Facebook pages. We have a great affection for photography, but do we really know what photography is at this juncture? For this special 30th anniversary issue, spot writers interviewed experts in the field – internationally known curators and photographers – about core issues facing the medium. Anne Tucker, Clint Willour, Richard Misrach, MANUAL (Ed Hill and Suzanne Bloom), and Sally Gall discuss technology that gives photographers increasing control over their images. What exchanges are occurring between photographic images and other areas of culture? What have been the turning points throughout the past three decades? Is HCP typical of other member and artist based organizations that formed in the early 1980s and were they successful? How has their relevance changed over the years, from maverick groups to more educational resources and cultural centers? Photography no longer only documents our reality but also, for many, creates our reality. We rely on photographic imagery to delineate the parameters of our lives. The interviews aim to engage and provoke as they consider the boundaries that have shifted amongst these changes.
Thirty years ago, the audience looking at or discussing photographs was relatively small – a minor tributary navigated by few has become a powerful current in the art world’s mainstream. What are the paradigm shifts in this hyper-post-everything 21st century? With the rise of digital photography has there been a certain loss of the real, or lost illusions of the real? Throughout each interview, Tucker, Willour, Misrach, MANUAL, and Gall investigate the significance and infinite potential of new tools. Are there distinct styles and movements? How have exhibitions altered the way we look at photographs and how has our experience changed? The shifts in lens based media remind us that photography is constantly evolving. The curators and artists included in this 30th anniversary issue speak candidly about a medium in transition and how that medium is transmitted. From their earliest encounters in the darkroom to the most recent Photoshop experiences, all of them have
been sustained by the rich aesthetic properties and intellectual challenges of photography
-Bevin Bering Dubrowski and Susie Kalil