Fred Ritchin is the director of PixelPress (www.pixelpress.org), creating web sites, books and exhibitions investigating new documentary and promoting human rights. He is the author of After Photography, In Our Own Image: The Coming Revolution in Photography (1990, 1999). He is also the co-author of An Uncertain Grace: The Photographs of Sebastiao Salgado (1990); In Our Time: The World As Seen by Magnum Photographers (1989); and Mexico Through Foreign Eyes (1993). Fred is the former picture editor of Horizon magazine and the New York Times Magazine, former executive editor of Camera Arts magazine and the founding director of the photojournalism and documentary photography educational program, International Center of Photography. He was the curator of such exhibits as Contemporary Latin American Photographers (1987); An Uncertain Grace: The Photographs of Sebastiao Salgado (1990); The Legacy of W. Eugene Smith: Twelve Photographers in the Humanistic Tradition (1991). He was the co-curator of Mexico Through Foreign Eyes: Photographs, 1850-1990 (1992). Fred has contributed essays and articles on mass media and digital communications to several books, including Under Fire: Great Photographers and Writers on the Vietnam War (2005); Sahel: Man in Distress (2004); The Critical Image (1990); Photo Video: Photography in the Age of the Computer (1991); A New History of Photography (1994); National Geographic Photos: Milestones (1999); and to periodicals and catalogs, including Aperture, Camera Arts, Le Monde, The New York Times, Newsday, Nieman Reports, Print, Xposeptember, XXIst Century, and the Village Voice. He is the former series editor of Image and Imagination (Syracuse University Press). Fred is the recipient of the Presidential Fellowship for Junior Faculty (1994), Markle Foundation grant (1993-1994), and Hasselblad Foundation grant (1999) for the future web project Witnessing and the Web: An Experiment in Documentary Photography. In 1995, he was awarded the David Payne-Carter Award for Teaching Excellence. Fred was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service by the New York Times for the Web site, Bosnia: Uncertain Paths to Peace (1997). He also created the first multimedia version of the daily New York Times. PixelPress was awarded “best multimedia/interactive publication” by Pictures of the Year International. Fred lectures and conducts workshops internationally on new media and documentary.
The Life and Death of Images with Lynne Tillman and Eduardo Cadava
“To participate in the image as thing means to participate in its potential agency – an agency that is not necessarily beneficial, as it can be used for every imaginable purpose. It is vigorous and sometimes even viral. And it will never be full and glorious, as images are bruised and damaged, just as everything else within history. History, as Benjamin told us, is a pile of rubble. Only we are not staring at it any longer from the point of view of Benjamin’s shell- shocked angel. We are not the angel. We are the rubble. We are this pile of scrap.” Hito Steyrel, excerpt from A Thing Like You and Me, e-flux Journal #15, April 2010
Andrew Norman Wilson, The Inland Printer-164, 2012
“At some point later I heard about the scanning mistakes and accidents that occur in Google’s book-scanning operations and decided to look closer. The work of the ScanOps employees is an interesting hybrid—it is a labor of digitizing informational materials that requires no cognitive involvement with the content of those materials. The labor process is quite Fordist—press button, turn page, repeat.
The workers compose part of the photographic apparatus, which in a broad sense includes not only the machinery but the social systems in which photography operates. The anonymous workers, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the pink “finger condoms,” infrared cameras, the auto-correction software, the capital required to fund the project, the ink on my rag-paper prints, me—we’re all part of it.” –– Andrew Norman Wilson, Interview with Laurel Ptak, Aperture, Issue 210, Spring 2013
“The deceptive nature of the digital image is not evoked by a certain resemblance of original and copy, or reality and its simulation. No matter whether faithful or unfaithful, the similitude of the simulacrum seems no longer a question of likeness or unlikeness. Instead, similarity has turned into simultaneity; it has become a question entirely occupied by time: synchronized time and temporal command.
The digital image is characterized by a promise of instant availability in so-called real time that comes along with the idea of global compatibility. Today, the illusionary character of the image lies in the proclamation of immediate access to the recorded data as well as in the idea of unlimited exchangeability bypassing any actual resemblance.” –– Florian Schneider
Image from Wolfgang Tillmans’s FESPA Digital/Fruit Logistica (Walther König, 2012)
“A photographic ink-jet print on paper, an iPad drawing printed on ink-jet paper, and an original design printed on ink-jet paper are all technically exactly the same. Perhaps it’s time to rethink the remarkably persistent categorization of artworks. In my view, we are all making pictures.” –– Wolfgang Tillmans, Interview with Michelle Kuo, Artforum, September 2012
Image: Takeshi Murata, 3 AM, 2012 Courtesy the artist
and Salon 94, New York
Murata’s computer-generated series of photographs, Synthesizers, begins with backgrounds “sculpted” by the artist using 3-D software he learned to use through online tutorials. The “sets” are then filled with readymade 3-D elements purchased online.
“What’s hidden beneath the user interface or the sleek camera casing needs to be exposed, not only made visible and comprehensible to the photographic practitioner, but also taken apart, deconstructed, and mined for creative potentials.”
The Photographic Universe II brings together a range of leading practitioners, scientists, theoreticians, historians, and philosophers to consider and reflect on current discussions in photography at a pivotal moment in its history. The unique format of the conference will consist of one-on-one conversations between two individuals from disparate professional and research backgrounds. The conference will conclude with a roundtable focusing on photographic education.
Dates: April 10-11, 2013
Location: Theresa Lang Student and Community Center, 55 West 13th Street, NYC