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Snapshot Aesthetics: From Everyday Life to Art and Viceversa

digital Snapshot Aesthetics: From Everyday Life to Art
and Viceversa
Article
journal COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI
issue COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI - 2016 - 1. Snapshot Culture. The Photographic Experience in the Post-Medium Age
title Snapshot Aesthetics: From Everyday Life to Art and Viceversa
author
publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Article | Pdf
online since 04-2016
issn 03928667 (print) | 18277969 (digital)
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This article focuses on how techniques and aesthetics influenced the genesis of the ‘snapshot style’ in the late 19th century. Snapshot photography was to be seen as not just ‘technological painting’ but rather a means of establishing an aesthetic relationship with the world, a performative (yet autobiographical and individual) experience, a technological tool fostering a conceptual immersion in the perception of reality. This idea became useful in the transition to later developments in digital photography. It allows us to overcome the dualism of instant/truth vs. pose/fiction, which does not accurately represent the complexity of photographic practice, and to understand that it would be superficial to ascribe to the snapshot the responsibility of being a transmitter of truth. Rather, this contribution tackles the question in a non-stereotyped way by confirming photography’s specificity in the relational and performative nature of its practice. This specificity is a royal road to telling stories about the world, through instant shots or pose aesthetics according to individual authors’ poetics. The article concludes by focusing on the relationship between ‘selfie storytelling’ and artists’ attitude in the 1990s, when the private and participatory aspect became a hallmark, and the family album became a common symbolic reference. A comparison of two authors, Nan Goldin and Terry Richardson, serves to describe the transition from the desire to memorise a life through sharing a collection of images of family albums to experiencing a life by constructing an identity through images that can constantly be altered.

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