Who is enjoying the shadow of whom…


In the year 1889, Oscar Wilde looked out the window of his London flat, as the fog rolled in, pondered about the great discourse of human observations, the iconic values of civilizations; beauty and truth. Taking on the Aristotelian constructs, and changing the dialogue of existing thinking about aesthetics and image making. Firing a shot across the bows, warning all, that the rules are about to change with the assertion, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life” in his essay, The Decay of Lying.  What was unforeseen in the late eighteen hundreds, and about to unfold in the future were technological changes that would control how subject matter will be imitated, rendered, and trend as social norms.

By 1889, photography was still in its infancy, although, the principles of optics were known as far back as to the fifth century, the camera obscura was derived as an imaging appliance prior to 1839, the year photography was announced to the world.  Yet, photography as a technically advanced imaging process for the age was not recognized as an art form in the late eighteen hundreds and nor it would not be recognized as an art form until the twentieth century.  Nevertheless, the prospects of imaging technology were going to change not only human societies but to enable new industries to control the perception of reality on a mass wholesale level unparalleled to any other age.

The power and propagation of images have never been more prevalent, we are now experiencing the pixelization of the world, whether it’s Google maps or image capture via the mobile camera of information worthy events.  The rapid transformation of picture information now allows our perceptions of the world to be rendered, imitated, and manipulated as a historical record, brand or propaganda, all in real time. Most accept the notion that our contemporaneous lives evolve on some level of sophistication and artfulness, but as the lines between reality, and personal expression blend and smudge as soft delineations, sometimes with authenticity, sometimes with a sense of truth, and sometimes sublime.


All Rights Reserved, Who is enjoying the shadow of whom… © Richard Anthony Peña 2013

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