Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Latest Thing that Facebook Has Killed: The Photograph

Go to Google and type in, "Has Facebook Killed the...?" and you will find that Facebook is suspected of killing lots of things. It may have killed "real relationships." And birthday cards. And church. Even the mosh pit. And photography, too.

Mosh pits I'm not qualified to speak about. But the question about Facebook and photography is an interesting one, and it is the subject of a fascinating roundtable discussion in the April issue of Art in America magazine. The leader of the discussion, curator and editor Marvin Heiferman, points out that an estimated 3 billion images are uploaded to Facebook every month. Only 15 percent of the digital images shot now are ever printed, and most of those digital images are now shot not with dedicated cameras but with cell-phones and smart-phones. Does the materiality of photographs still matter to us? Can we have the same relationship to an image on Facebook as we do with a print that we can hold, frame, or put up on a wall?

Probably, but probably not in essential ways. It's hard to say Facebook has killed photography when it has made photography such a commonplace tool for us to communicate our everyday experiences with each other.  How has Facebook changed your relationship with photography?

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