Panel: Digital Aesthetics
Digital photography is largely banal. Since its inception has depended on grafting the aesthetics of chemical photography onto its production. In the same way as photography initially borrowed an aesthetic from painters (the Pictorialists) before a purely photographic aesthetic emerged (the Purists), exponents of digital photography have largely depended on the mediums ability to reproduce seamless versions of earlier practices (photo-montage etc.). The debate about digital photography has been sidelined into the already well trodden territory concerned with authenticity (both in terms of the relation of the image to ‘reality’ and the nature of the intervention of the author/photographer). The debate on aesthetics has as yet to properly surface. Will digital photographers produce a new aesthetic? The technology does not impose these limits upon the practice — rather it is the limits of institutional aesthetics which have come to dominate photographic production.
- Mark Little (UK), University of Northumbria at Newcastle