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Aesthetics After Photography - Workshop Session 1

Jörg Sasse & Silke Helmerdig

Jörg Sasse - Digital Relations Analogised


Neither the rapid shift from analogue to digital photographic techniques, nor the possibility of digital reproduction, have dispelled the 'aura' from the photographic picture. This is because it is neither a particular technique, nor the use of a particular medium, that creates art. Relatedly, art cannot be reduced to either concept or thought. Rather, art is formed through the transforming process of work, which has a time-based relevance of its own. This process may follow a pre-linguistic act of seeing or thinking, but it need not. In any case, the result of this process is something visual, leading to a picture or object.

One of the characteristic attributes of the photographic image is that it shapes our conception of realistic pictures. This leads to one of the main problems of viewing photographic images: the permanent co-existence of the referential image and picture itself. My talk will address questions of reference and depiction in relation to my own practice, which is situated between depiction and fiction. My use of digital technique is wide-ranging: image-editing, working with image databases and programming databases for non-verbal relations. My latest work, called Speicher, transforms a relational database into a sculpture, which functions like an analogue image database.

('Speicher' has multiple meanings in German, i.e. computer memory, attic, silo, accumulator, storage and others).

Silke Helmerdig - Difference? What Difference?


Although digital cameras look very similar to analogue photographic cameras, the image-making process differs fundamentally. If we define photography as chemical image creation through light, then lens-based digital image-making is not photography. Whereas in photography reflected light leaves traces on a light sensitive layer, lens-based digital image-making uses the experience of photography to translate data from a meter reading into images resembling photographs.This imitation of photography works so well that even many photographers believe that silver photography and digital imaging are the same.


But from the history of photography we learn that every technological advance has influenced both aesthetics and perception. After more than 150 years of experience with photographic images, viewers are able to read the signs of technique behind the image. No matter how similar the images look, differences in their structure (grain or pixels), the process of inscription and the mind behind the camera will be apparent somewhere in the resulting image, and will become part of how we read lens-based images, photographic or digital.






Jörg Sasse

(Click to see image)

Jörg Sasse - Speicher I, 2008

Jörg Sasse Speicher I, 2008
187 x 120 x 75 cm, Aluminium, MDF, glas, paper, 512 sketches