Week 7 – McLuhan and Benjamin

1. One of the advantages to digital creation and dissemination of images would include the limit to which people can expand their work. People are able to communicate their images through the internet and advancing technologies only further the information we perceive. A second advantage to media is that it can “clobber” other media. I feel this is an advantage because it creates and stirs up debate, causing human awareness of certain issues and new ideas. A third advantage (according to Benjamin) would be that digital creation “satisfies human interest of the masses.” This could include anything from taking pictures for personal enjoyment and sending them to family across the country to writing an online news article online available for anyone to view and read. This is also an economic advantage in that people are willing to pay for technologies that they enjoy/want to use. However, one of the main disadvantages I see resulting from advancing digital creations include advancing technologies that do not require humans, which in turn eliminates many jobs. According to McLuhan, this would be referred to as automation. Another disadvantage to the dissemination of images includes the alteration of pattern perception. Only the trained artists can sense changes in perception. An example could be the debate of subliminal messages in advertisements influencing the way we live our lives, what products we buy, etc. A third disadvantage could be that society is dependent on media (like natural resources) and this is how we shape our cultural perspectives, which could be damaging if media were to disappear immediately.

2. I personally believe the ability to create digital images and reproduce them so quickly has provided vast opportunities in technology as a whole. People are able to take a picture, post it online, and send it wherever they want in less than five minutes. This is a mass achievement compared to photography and technology before it was reproducible. Advancing technologies have allowed us to communicate in an efficient, speedy manner and provide a quicker way to learn. People can now share their artwork digitally versus print. Disadvantages to the dissemination of images would include the fact that once we post our artwork online, there is no telling which hands it may reach or what may be done with it. Our original piece could now belong to someone else, creating false authenticity. Once we post, even when we delete our image could still be out in unknown places. Another disadvantage could be the loss of control over technology. Humankind needs a steady organization of programmers and people who understand computer science in order to control the technological world we live in.

3. I personally disseminate my images and artwork through Facebook. I find this is a great way to show friends and family photos or artwork in order to gain feedback and advice, especially on certain projects. You can create different albums for different projects and I like the ability to view my pictures through a social network.

4. Benjamin describes aura as being a “unique phenomenon of a distance however close it may be.” I take this to mean the invisible energy or emotion provoked from the presence of a being or thing. Benjamin goes on to explain that each time a piece of work is mechanically reproduced or copied, it loses some of its aura. I find this an interesting aspect to the definition of aura, for I’ve never though of it in that way. This could be correct because the original piece of artwork would contain all of the aura and each copy is only a representation of the first. However, each copy still holds the work of the first, so I slightly disagree with Benjamin on that point. This connects back to the dissemination of images-people can print any image off of the internet of their choosing and copy it as many times as they want, but they did not produce the original image, which holds all of the aura and meaning behind it. Value can be placed in certain objects over time, it is really just how the person perceives the object and what meaning it holds that really defines their own personal “aura” for it.

5. Chromasia (http://www.chromasia.com/iblog/galleries/) is a blog posted by photographer David J. Nightingale and has won PhotoBlog of the year and best European PhotoBlog in the 2009 PhotoBlog awards. His website was pretty easy to navigate and he has a number of galleries all organized with specific names. I chose a few to share from his gallery “Abstract.” All of his photos are big, clear, and fascinating to look through.

Another PhotoBlog I quite enjoyed was that was Francesco Gallarotti (http://www.gallarotti.net/). His page was very clean and straightforward and from the albums he appears to be a landscape photographer. Everything was clean and professional in his blog.

The last PhotoBlog I found was by Mahbubur Rahman (http://www.mrahmanphoto.com/blog/?p=164) and had a lot of content to look through. I think this is a good and bad thing just because there is so much to look through that it requires a lot of time and is kind of distracting. However, this website it easy to navigate and I found an interesting blog on his “tattoo project” as I am a big fan of tattoos myself.

6. I found Penelope Umbrico’s work to be interesting in how she constructed pictures to form one piece, however; I didn’t exactly like her artwork. I feel like anybody could collaborate and use the images like she’s done without much effort. Her depictions are interesting and out of the ordinary, which she deserves credit for being creative in that way, but I just don’t like the work behind it. It reminds me of Benjamin’s argue of stealing the aura from pieces by copying. I know that she’s only taking ordinary pictures and turning them into something unique, but it still bothers me for this reason.

I found Elijah Gowin’s work to be interesting as well. He takes ordinary pictures and turns them into something unique, just as Umbrico does. By adding a texture to a photo, he is adding an emotion or different feel to it. As with Umbrico’s work, I still disagree with the fact that they use other’s pictures. I wish they would use their own to provide their own personal art and well as their talent in arranging the artwork in unique forms.




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