Facial recognition experiment. Media Lab, 2016
Driven by digitalization, photography has transformed from a distinct medium into a broad palette of interwoven visual media practices. Photography has lost many of its unique characteristics derived from conventional technologies and craft since “smart” technologies took over numerous technical aspects of image processing.
The toolkit of contemporary post-photographic image makers is expanding, with laser-based 3D scanning, drones, Augmented Reality, 360° photography and film for virtual reality and sensor-based “seeing machines” (Trevor Paglen) such as infrared scanning, speed-, altitude- and motion tracking.
Mobile phones are now equipped with advanced technologies that were previously only used in highly specialized contexts. Photography has changed from a discipline of “seeing” (images that correspond to optical-physical perception) to a visual practice that can depict what we do not see, but “know”: the invisible becomes visible (for example with infrared).
In this study focus, the creative potentials as well as the critical aspects of the post-photographic potential are explored. In the field of artificial intelligence, for example, image recognition and image generation are examined with the help of software and data.
Some foundational texts on post-photography are available on the blog «Still Searching» and on the SITUATIONS website of Fotomuseum Winterthur.
360° image capturing
The ongoing expansion of possibilities for image making empower visual storytellers in creating transmedia narratives. Since digital technologies are unable to think creatively and critically by themselves, it is essential for visual storytellers to develop sophisticated conceptual skills too. This enables them to apply these technologies within meaningful forms of communication between human individuals.
In this digital media culture, the technical and aesthetic qualities of a picture do not solely define the quality of the work anymore. In current photographic-visual practices, conceptual approaches, like intention, content construction and type of reception have gained in importance.
The post-photographic discourse also includes critical questions about image technologies as new forms of perception and knowledge. Another central question is how the advanced visual media shape and influence people's viewing habits in the long run.
3D Scanning, Photogrammetry
A 3D laser scanner scans its surroundings with laser beams, measures the space and creates a point cloud from coordinates. These recordings form the basis of the photogrammetric process. Software reconstructs a digital 3D model from a series of images rendered from different perspectives. This technique enables wireframe-based 3D modeling and is used in archeology, architecture and experimental photographic media.
Workshop in collaboration with Camera Arts, BeAnotherLab (Barcelona) and Fotomuseum Winterthur, 2017.
As a simulated experience closer or more disconnected from reality, Virtual Reality (VR) expands the physical reality into the virtual space. Using 360° photography and film, interactive stories and games can be constructed in which users move virtually through space and time.
Beyond visual storytelling, these technologies are also relevant for cognitive and neurosciences, psychology, social work, anthropology and other disciplines that have an interest in translating abstract information into virtual, but realistic experiences. Camera Arts’ Storytelling knowledge and experience can also be of great value in this context.
Light-sensitive ceramic plates. Özlem Petri, 2014
Experimental image capturing
Beyond the available means, alternative image capturing methods are also being experimented with. For example, Özlem Petri constructed a camera obscura herself with light-sensitive ceramic plates. She used it to photograph old, protected trees in the vicinity of construction sites in Emmenbrücke and used wood and canvas to print the images of an oak and five linden trees on. Experimental imaging processes often develop project-specific, independent aesthetic qualities. They show that today’s visual storytellers are to a large degree also “media makers” in the literal sense.