Ben Alper is the director of the erudite blog, The Exposure Project. This project has branched out to release four books, host numerous exhibitions while simultaneously maintaining a progressive approach to showcasing emerging artists on their blog.
Where do you see the site going from here? Do you plan to implement tumblr, twitter, etc, into The Exposure Project?
Other than our recently launched project, Graphic Intersections, we don’t have any imminent plans for the website. We have worked hard over the last year to get the site to place that is comprehensive, functional and intuitive. It was important to us that it functioned as a user-friendly hub which clearly delineated all of the different aspects of the project. As for your question regarding the integration of Tumblr and Twitter into the identity of The Exposure Project, we don’t have any upcoming plans to work with these outlets. The proliferation of social networking platforms are, one the one hand, invaluable promotional resources – on the other hand though, they can propagate a saturation of information which can be overwhelming and hard to reconcile. With that being said, we’re more than satisfied with the success that the website, blog and Facebook have brought us.
What effect do the internet and readily accessible images have on photography? Tumblr, for example, where one can be inundated with thousands of great and not so-great images in a very accessible push manner.
The answer to this question is undoubtedly complicated. The internet has certainly and permanently altered the ways in which images are disseminated and ingested by the viewing public. Having a seemingly endless supply of photography at one’s fingertips is both invigorating and daunting. I will say that it has been nothing short of revolutionary for emerging artists looking for accessible outlets to show their work. Blogs, online magazines, social networking platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.) and Flickr have, in one respect, democratized the medium. This shift in visibility has unquestionably facilitated a vibrancy in both photography and the discourse surrounding it.
However, this accessibility is ultimately a double-edged sword. The heightened exposure available to young artists is now packaged with the reality of a flooded market. All it takes to reinforce this point is one day spent sifting through photography blogs. One of the things that I find most problematic about the blog/social networking platform is the fleetingness of the content. Posts and links come and go so quickly that it becomes nearly impossible to retain, or merely see, a fraction of what’s offered up. This inundation of imagery can cultivate a lack of intentioned viewing, which ultimately fosters the desire to consume, rather than contemplate, photographs.
Emerging photographers in my mind often emulate a particular style largely influenced by, well some would say Vice Magazine but I’d point to Nan Goldin, maybe Larry Clark.
The tendency toward the vernacular in contemporary photography is one that I that find both exciting and somewhat taxing. At its best, this way of working engages with, or distills perhaps, something revealing about everyday life – the quiet, casual or intimate moments that often disclose a refreshing honesty about our lives. At its worst, however, this trend is steeped in triteness and pretense. Many contemporary photographers emulating this style seem to be more interested in selling a particular lifestyle than elucidating something meaningful. When the lines between the aesthetics and substance are uncomfortably blurred, I tend to find the work disingenuous.
I am curious to hear who’s work has your attention these days and if there is anyone you’re following with particular interest.
There are so many photographers whose work we’ve been excited about lately – many of whom we’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with in the last year. Bradley Peters, Susan Worsham, Inka Lindergård & Niclas Holmström, Manuel Vazquez, Daniel Shea and Carlo Van de Roer are just a few. Other people include Elaine Stocki, Alejandra Laviada, Hannah Whitaker, Michael Vahrenwald, Birthe Piontek, Thobias Fäldt and Phil Jung…and many more.
What blogs do you follow? There seems to be a demarcation between art blogs and photography-based blogs.
I follow a bunch of contemporary photography blogs – BLDG BLOG, Horses Think, Heading East, This Is That, We Can’t Paint, I Heart Photograph. I also find Ahorn Magazine, Too Much Chocolate and Useful Photography consistently inspiring.
Sadly, I think you’re right that there is a pronounced distinction between “photography blogs” and “art blogs”. There are obviously exceptions to this rule, however, it seems that most of them are curated with a certain of medium specificity. We try to highlight work that isn’t strictly photographic on The Exposure Project blog. Creating a resource that is more interdisciplinary and that highlights a variety of working methods provides richer opportunities for cross-medium interaction.