It all started as I was re-reading the essays in The Art of the American Snapshot. I have always been a fan of snapshots and over the years I have collected a few snapshots found in collectable shops and flea markets and re-reading the essays re-kindled my snapshot interests. The essays have made me re-think some of my ideas about fine art photography; especially the idea that snapshots come "...nearer to achieving the stature of true art than any of the inbred preciosities... created by fine art "masters" and "stars" of the medium.
I believe that one of my primary attractions to snapshots is that they are easily accessible due to the fact that most snapshots are made without any artistic pretensions - no heavy thinking required. Most snapshots are made as spontaneous reactions to the flow of people, places, things and events in the lives of the snapshooter. Despite the lack of artistic intentions, many of those snapshots which have survived over the years can resontate with a connection to human emotions, feelings and ideals that transcend the pictures' unpretentious and humble creation.
The essays made a very good case that snapshots are not only "honest, realistic, human and articulate" but that they represent the medium of photography at its finest and its most influential. iMo, collectively overtime, snapshots can tell us more about the lives of people and their times than almost any fine art picture made over the same time frame.
All of that written, it has ocurred to me that we may be in an era of promiscous and discursive snapshot making the likes of which cause to pale any preceeding snapshot era. While KODAK managed to place their snapshot cameras into the hands of as many people as possible, in today's digital times it seems like everyone has a "camera", aka: a cell phone. And, the overwhelming number of the pictures made with those devices are made without artistic pretentions. Indeed, the new snapshot.
FYI, people upload an average of 1.8 billion digital images every single day. That's 657 billion photos per year. Another way to think about it: Every two minutes, humans take more photos than ever existed in total 150 years ago.
Increasingly sprinkled amongst those pictures are those snapshots which have undergone the application of a photo-effect app. I can not write why people are applying effects to their snapshots but I can write that I am doing so in order to mimic the look of snapshots which have survived from an earlier era. An activity which could be labeled as an artist pretention.
Nevertheless, I am attempting to be both discursive and promiscuous in my snapshot making. I am, in fact, making pictures of many people, places, things and events that I would have passed over in my picture making past. And, all of my the new snapshot pictures are made with my cell phone. I "push the button" and let the phone device "do the rest".
And, make no mistake about it, I am trying to make art.