The digital equivalent of Breuer’s or Brandt’s work is whatever is being created on “smart” phones, using “apps” - fake analog images. But the digital world falls crucially short here, for more reasons than one. First, there really is nothing at stake. There is no artistry here other than the application of some software filter that in a very deterministic way makes your new digital photograph look old. So there is no chance. Art without a trace of chance, a trace of an accident isn’t art. No artistic risk, not art (just ask William Wegman’s dog). What is more, it’s deeply reactionary, but in an uncommitted way. You could, for example, buy a real old camera and stuff film into it, to create your genuine old-timey photographs, but that effort isn’t even made. It’s a pointless nostalgia, where you’re yearning for just that one aspect of the past without all the rest. In contrast, Breuer and Brandt really break down their images. It’s real, there is no going back.
It is precisely the fact that making images is no longer hard to do, or even mildly difficult, that brings us to where we are.
A four year photography education?
Bullshit: Everything needed to be taught would take a couple of weekends... at most.
Why? Because most of what went before us is no longer interesting to the masses who 'practice' photography.
Who cares about Weston, or Cunningham, or Steichen?
Maybe we can get a Steichen Lightroom pre-set, or an Ansel Adams action... for our phone.
I sound bitter, but I am not.
I agree that this Tsunami of worthless imagery will lead to something new, something un-known to us now. A new iteration of the excitment that was once photography.
And yeah, this statist thing is happening across all kinds of creative industries.
This summer they will be bringing out another Spiderman, and a remake of Batman.
Talk about stagnation...