151MC: Key concepts and debates assosiated with digital imaging in relation to my body of work

After spending time reflecting on my project and revisiting my learning objectives for this module it made me think more about how I have included many key concepts and debates associated with digital imaging into my work. This has also influenced how considered and focused my work is. Compared to my last assignment I believe that my research into wider issues has been more thorough and comprehensive. Many of these concepts are what I have learnt through lectures and debates in seminars, however some are from my own research. Below are some of the key concepts which have influenced my body of work.

New Cameras

Due to advances in technology new cameras are being developed and therefore this has changed the way we make images. Consequently this has caused many debates about photography as a medium. The development of Google Streetview and cameras such as the Lytro and Red Camera are said to be the death of the ‘decisive moment’. Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose book was titled The Decisive Moment, said that “Photography is not like painting. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera.”

However in this digital age we now have the ability to go back through a video or set of images and decide what we want the decisive moment to be. We as photographers are now challenging the very foundation that photography was built on. We are beginning to challenge the deceive moment and becoming image curators as well as just image makers.

Series of work such as Eleven Mega Churches by Travis Shaffer challenged this idea of appropriation (which I previously wrote a post about here) and also the concept of creating images which are not in the deceive moment.


Although in my own series of images I did not use Google Streetview to create images I did use it for research and as a tool to find areas of conservation and plan my shoots. It allowed to me look at the site and the surrounding area and look for possible areas to photograph. In addition to this, it also helped me narrow down the locations as I had many possible locations to choose from however due to the time scale I could not visit them all. Streetview allowed me to visit the locations even though I was not there in person which saved a lot of time. Therefore in some ways the use of this technology did influence my decisive moment to some extent. Although it did not determine when I clicked the shutter button it influenced where I went for that decisive moment.

What is a landscape?

At the beginning of this assignment I began looking back through my lecture notes and familiarised myself with the lecture we had on landscapes and what it is really meant by a landscape. In turn this then lead me to read Land Matters by Liz Wells and this then influenced the way in which I photographed the landscapes.

Landscapes come in many different forms and depict natural or urban environments and it can be argued that the human body itself can be classed as a landscape. For example in Elinor Carucci’s work we see the effects of an event on the body, like we would see in a natural or urban environment. The landscape itself can be populated or unpopulated however it is important to note how important human presence is in setting the tone and atmosphere of the image. This in turn directly affects how we view the image and what message we interoperate.

This concept of human presence was something which I wanted to explore further in my work. I wanted to be able to show the human effects on the landscape and how although there are no people present in the image there is still evidence of how we have altered the landscape. In order to not distract the viewer from the studium, I wanted to make the human presence in the images very subtle and present the landscape in a manner which is beautiful. Yet when the viewer looks more closely at the image they begin to see that there is something unnatural about the landscape.

Morgan County, Ohio, 2010
Racine, Ohio, 2010

This can be seen in other photographers bodies of work such as the series Plume by Daniel Shea. The presence of the plant looms over natural spaces and show how they have become part of our daily lives. In turn their presence has become almost unnoticed.


Published by

Charlotte Pattinson

Photography student

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