Postmodernism in the media

Introduction to postmodernism, the marketing and the 'real'

The ever more mediatised culture we live in today has lead us to be dominated by and dependent upon the creation and use of images. Notions of objectivity and empiricism in the photographic have long since vanished, but can we still discover our sense of 'the real' in images? This dissertation will use many ideas and ideas that discuss the role of picture taking, postmodernism and 'the real' within today's culture and marketing. It will start with a discussion of the reasoning for the original shift back again towards the true. This transfer mainly stemmed from postmodernism and the press. Postmodernism handled the thought of never ending research and worries about post-modern culture was that never ending guide meant that grip on truth had disappeared. There was a desire to return to something more secure and basic: 'the real'? Professional photographers started to attempt to go back to the solely descriptive photography from the times before the mass referencing of postmodernism. Because of postmodernism, our company is constantly searching for so this means and evaluation in images. This regular research of images has worn out our trust and fascination with the photograph; there is a need to generate images not the same as the methods we see every day in the mass media to be able to re-find our rely upon the image as truth and as art work. Which will lead onto considering how, credited to advances in technology and developments in photography, the new fast changing everyday image resulted in our relationships and emotions becoming mediatised. We re-live events and encounters through images, which contributes to a lack of the true. We remember the image as opposed to the event. The press have a huge influence on incidents, advertising even our thoughts and relationships. I am going to look at how some photography enthusiasts can play a part in the manipulation and effect from the multimedia that seems a whole lot to control us and shape our world. However, many photographers started out to step away from the multimedia, and postmodernism, more mature, slower technologies started to re-emerge. The sole image created from these procedures of working could bring back the processes in our memory which have been complicated because of the sheer amount of information we get from other solutions.

This leads onto the main question posed in this dissertation: can we ever (re)find the real? Just how much is this notion of the real influenced and designed by the marketing influence in our world? Some would say that even photographs that appear to be descriptive cannot escape being put through analysis and put within a framework of viewing. Maybe they can't ever be void of research and building? Maybe images can never provide the clear, steady version of actuality that people want from them? Will we continue to be used by images, or will there be another beyond the pattern of referencing kept by postmodernism? Can we ever (re)find authenticity, originality and a true form of photography that can guide us to the true? How has this damaged our media? And how has it inspired the media to change and shape our world?

Chapter One - What triggered people to lose a sense of the true?

Postmodernism surfaced as an art form in the middle to past due 1980's and seemed to expand from and relate with the modernist activity. Postmodernism simply turned down the thought of 'originality'; the 'original', new factor within a photograph was changed with the concept of reference and quotation. Finding something real and original as an idea was discarded. Essentially, postmodernism is the end of the new as something new within Postmodernism is looked after as the byproduct of re-combining one or more varying elements from in a already existing culture. A graphic has to refer to, use or quote another image or words, that may have described another image, that will have referred to a further different image and so on; a never-ending research has started and we begin to lose a sense of the true.

Postmodernist culture savored this play with symptoms of constant reference, where in fact the more you played the less anyone appeared to know what certainty it was touching

(Bate 2004)(1)

Some early Postmodernist photography enthusiasts include Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Edward Weston and Cindy Sherman. Sherman's untitled movies stills refer to trashy Hollywood videos.

These early works of hers were cleverly named 'Untitled' then 'Film Still no. . . ' indicating that they can be given any meaning and could refer to an actual specific existing film. The audience is given a reference which brings about another representation, not fact itself.

In brief: 'here is an image from a film, but I am not heading to let you know which one', a message complicated by the actual fact that the photos were not real motion pictures stills.

(Bate2004)(2)

The factor that was feared about postmodernism is that the never-ending reference meant that all grip on simple fact has disappeared and this lead to a wish to return to a simpler, more stable and basic way of working. We've lost a sense of what is 'real' within art and culture due to fact being discarded towards mass inter-textual referencing.

But worries about post-modern culture was that there no longer an anchor to fact in any way, that 'fact' had disappeared into an unlimited chain of other representations.

(Bate 2004)(3)

There began to be always a wish to go back to the values of the in a straight line and pure photograph of modernism and exactly what post modernism acquired rejected. A desire to go back to something secure and basic, a desire to take a purely descriptive picture. Some photographers managed to create simply descriptive work, an example of this could be Justin Partyka's work 'The East Anglians'.

This ongoing body of work about the rural and agricultural portion of East Anglia is a purely descriptive review of the surroundings and folks, who live, work and own the land in it. But the subject 'The East Anglians' could refer to Robert Frank's 'The People in america' a post World Battle II look beneath the surface of American life. Is anybody of work clear of this postmodernist snare every photographer appears to belong to.

The climb in postmodernism business lead to photography being utilized more as an art form, and began to become popular with both musicians and artists and the general public. It was no more a 'low' form of artwork and became greatly accepted. Photography was used more by everyone and so began to develop further, resulting in major advancements in technology. Together with the invention of cellular phone video cameras and the internet and email, it is easy to have a picture and send it anywhere in the world in mere seconds. These new solutions mediatised our connections and emotions.

Yet despite the idea that these mobile solutions bring us all closer to each other, we are caught up in a contradiction, given that they significantly mediatise our relationships to one another. To check out something it should be kept at a distance.

(Bate 2004)(4)

With digital technology today, there is no much longer a need to hold back for photographs to be prepared, no need to wait before end of any occasion or event to see the images and an less limited amount of photographs can be studied on that one camera as opposed to the 24 or 36 with the most popular 35mm negative film. This means people are taking so many photographs of everything alternatively than considering what specifically they might like images of. An infinite sense has been brought into photography. This has business lead to a damage in the real, and a loss in the worthiness of photography. Recently at an important event such as a getaways, birthdays or weddings, family members would use probably just one camera and probably only 1 or 2 videos per event, some individuals using just one film per calendar year for every event, producing a few photographs being taken which would then be placed in an recording and often researched. Now with digital solutions, people tend to have many video cameras per family and at every event, small or large, a huge selection of images can get considered, the difference being these would then be placed on a computer and most would never be considered. This is where we've lost the value of picture taking, before digital it was treasured, every photograph was considered, thought about and enjoyed soon after. It has also lead to us keeping in mind the picture of the function rather than the real event. If we spend all day long photographing what is going on around us, we will bear in mind just those photographs and not what was actually taking place; we keep in mind the image as opposed to the real. Perhaps to properly look at something you have to take a step back, from our fast speed society.

The lack of the real in postmodernism and now in the digital age has left artist and photographs desperate to get back to simpler times. New fine art is often now composed of redundant processes which are old and slower which then packages this new art form apart from the images and photographs we see in day-to-day mass media culture. New technologies are being kept in favour of old and slower ones that happen to be evidently more real. More traditional and simple methods of photography seemed to be linked to the concept of the real, because they are different from the images we see every day on the news and in the press.

Hal Foster in his book The Return of the Real says he feels that we have not kept postmodernism completely, it is becoming what's normal to us; we've a postmodernism realism. The result of this that people change the way we want actuality to be produced. Foster seems that simply postmodernism is becoming demode.

(Foster 1996)(5)

Photography now attracts on components of film, advertising, postcards etc. to create imagery that is inter-textual and referential to the people other pictures, these new images create the realism of this aesthetically mediated culture; post-modern realism is currently the normal.

Along with the development of photography, video and film also began to broaden and change. Photography was the only way of 'preventing time', a photograph was a moment captured with time on film forever. Now a freeze body like that can come from a variety of sources. Photographs started to be drawn from existing moving images - a video tutorial. This is attainable by anyone as DVD's or VHS's or even live tv set can be paused, setting up a freeze framework - a moment, captured in time.

What was after the lone privilege and product of the photo is now evenly likely to be the consequence of a movie theater or video tutorial 'freeze-frame'

(Bate 2004)(6)

This has evolved photography, as now rather than the image being of an actual event, these were now determined from the way the event had already been interpreted. Papers and news programs were no longer using photographers to capture the perfect picture; these were using video recording and selecting the image from the video recording. This is called second order realism. Selecting the 'decisive moment' continues to be dependant on a person knowing when to drive a button, but is now choosing the still from an already chose and produced moving image. A photograph is supposed to be always a moment locked in time but now it is more often than not drawn out of a graphic bank filled with training video freeze-frames. Film and video has stolen what makes photography special - the decisive point in time. Which means specificity and 'specialness' of photography has to find itself in a few other attribute of photography.

Chapter 2 - How exactly does the media shape our world and the concept of real?

Mass media is a huge part of our lives today, and must influence us in some way. Images have grown to be our reality due to the media. A reports story wouldn't normally impact without an image, and when a graphic is shown it is a reality and remembers as if the viewer was at the event themselves. Guy Debord in Feedback on the Modern culture of the Spectacle discussions about how improvements in images and media have contributed from what Debord details as the contemporary society of the spectacle. Within the impressive world images and representations become our fact and everything is present as and then for images. Real-life experiences become repressed and occasions take place in a mediated, pseudo-reality. Experience, occurrences, and even our thoughts, both on a person and public size are seriously mediated. Where images refer to one another endlessly the originality and authenticity of them are abolished. Because of this, it is stated we've lost any regards to the real.

The spectacle has now multiply itself to the main point where it now permeates all reality

(Debord 1988) (7)

Victor Burgin examined people who presumed that media occasions were their own memory in Possessive, Pensive and Possessed. Sociologists at the School of Provence found that people can become puzzled and combine their own personal memories with recollections from scenes of films or other advertising productions.

'I found at the movie theater' would simply become 'I observed'.

(Burgin 2006)(8)

This is called a screen storage area, where you remember something from a film instead of from real life. It is in place of and conceals an identical suppressed memory.

In days gone by, big events have happen but people understood less about them as there was no type of media development to let them know. It rarely went beyond those engaged. Now because of mass media everybody knows about every event, and add these events to our remembrances, even though we have not actually actually experienced them. We neglect our real experiences and replace them with occurrences from the press. For example, the 9/11 terrorist problems in New York City will be keep in mind by everyone worldwide, but only a small number of people actually experienced and observed the function, but everyone will keep in mind the event and visualise it from the images they noticed.

When thinking about these terrorist disorders many people will think of this and many other images that have been taken at the function. These images will be in their memory as if they were in NEW YORK on that day, meaning they remember occasions from a marketing production which has now become their own storage area which relates back again to Burgin's study into screen memories.

Our a reaction to big events such as the 9/11 terrorist disorders is to see and re-live the event through the images that are offered to us. Thomas De Zengotita discussions of how there's a bubble of mediated representation which he calls 'the blob'. In the wonderful world of 'the blob', momentous catastrophes including the 9/11 terrorist problems are almost poignant enough to burst the bubble,

Something like this - will feel like it might be sharp enough, as if it could pierce the membrane and cut the pulp.

(De Zengotita 2007)(9)

With the innovations in portrait digital photography and manipulation we can find that people re-live and experience events that did not even happen. We look at a manipulated image, take it to be the truth and believe what's in there. The media can now influence us to trust something that's not true. Once we have seen the images, manipulated or not it isn't surprising our reaction is to see and re-live the function through those images, adding them to our loan company of mediated incidents in our recollection. In other words, it all becomes area of the spectacle.

Conclusion

In this dissertation I have investigated postmodernism within picture taking and how this has changed what is the 'real' and how the media influence the real and our emotions and shapes the world today. The rise in postmodernism supposed a no-ending research for every picture, film etc. On photo identifies another photograph which identifies a video, which in turn refers another photograph and so on. There was nothing at all new; post modernism was the finish of the new. This leads to a lack of the true, a lack of just simply descriptive picture taking. This lack of the true within photography is only enhanced by innovations in photography so that it is accessible to everyone signifying the worthiness of an image and picture taking is much less high. Which is was not helped by the development in video and film, anyone being able to produce a freeze-frame, an instant trapped with time by pausing their Dvd movie, VHS or live TV player. Picture taking has lost that which was special about it - the decisive point in time. Therefore, older more traditional photographic methods have begun to be used again, in a seek out the 'real' within picture taking. Furthermore, the marketing report every event and present their interpretation of the event to people in images. People experience and re-live that event through the images the multimedia offered to us, and add those images into their own remembrances even though they didn't actually go through the event themselves. This brings about losing what we realize as reality. In my opinion, postmodernism and the no-ending research meant that people are now always looking for research of an image and a reason and reference behind it. We can not appreciate the wonder of a photograph if we want for something else within it, and that's where and why we finish up losing a feeling of the 'real'. Developments in picture taking and film likewise have not helped with this, and a limit on the amount of photographs we take means the images can assist our memory space not be our ram. This sense of the 'real' is not lost, but could be forgotten within picture taking, and taking a step back merely to look at a photograph all together would bring back the 'real' into that photo.

References

  1. Postmodernist culture savored this play with symptoms of constant reference, where the more you performed the less anyone appeared to know what fact it was touching (Bate 2004)
  2. In a nutshell: 'here is a picture from a film, but I am not heading to tell you which one', a message complicated by the fact that the images were not actual films stills. (Bate2004)
  3. However the dread about post-modern culture was that there no longer an anchor to fact in any way, that 'fact' had disappeared into an infinite string of other representations. (Bate 2004)
  4. Yet regardless of the proven fact that these mobile technologies bring us all closer to one another, we are swept up in a contradiction, since they progressively more mediatise our connections to one another. To check out something it needs to be kept at a distance. (Bate 2004)
  5. Postmodernism has become demode. (Foster 1996)
  6. That which was once the exclusive privilege and product of the photo is now equally likely to be the consequence of a movie theater or video tutorial 'freeze-frame' (Bate 2004)
  7. The spectacle has disperse itself to the stage where it now permeates all reality (Debord 1988)
  8. 'I saw at the cinema' would simply become 'I noticed'. (Burgin 2006)
  9. Something like that - will feel as if it might be sharp enough, as if it could pierce the membrane and slice the pulp. (De Zengotita 2007)

Bibliography

Books

  • FOSTER H; The Come back of THE TRUE; The Avant-Garde by the end from the Century; 1996
  • DEBORD G; Feedback on the Population of the Spectacle; 1988
  • DE ZENGOTITA T; Mediated: How The Media Form Your World; 2007

Essays

  • BATE D; After Thought, Source 40: 30-33; Belfast: Image Works; 2004
  • BATE D; After Thought II, Source 41: 34-39; Belfast: Photography Works; 2004
  • BURGIN V; Possessive, Pensive and Possessed; The Cinematic, London, Whitechapel Ventures Ltd 2007

Websites

  • http://www. esquire. com/features/ESQ0903-SEP_FALLINGMAN
  • http://www. justinpartyka. com
  • http://www. cindysherman. com/index. php
  • http://www. lensculture. com/bate1. html
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