With instagram and hipstamatic anyone can be a photographer, so what constitutes an amateur or a professional? New technology has broken down the boundary, making it more and more difficult to distinguish between the two. In an age of mechanical reproduction, as Walter Benjamin would argue, contemporary photography isn’t special due to its accessibility, loss of aura, and lack of skill.
Sorry Mr. Benjamin, I couldn’t disagree more. Not to completely write off traditional film photography, but digital photography has the ability to capture and manipulate moments that film simply cannot. As Elisabeth Couturier, author of Talk About Contemporary Photography puts it, the once predictably formatted “clock, clack, Kodak” snapshot has been replaced with the reproducible image that can come in all shapes and sizes.
Image: JR, View of the project Woman, Favela Morro da Providência, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2008, © JR