|Thomas Ruff "Nudes“, 2001|
The Goethe-Institute have published a comprehensive overview online, outlining the state of German photography. It's well worth a read. Topics covered are: How’s photography doing at the dawn of the 21st century? Who are its foremost German exponents? How does it relate to other arts? Why it’s become so hard these days to talk about photography in art or, for that matter, art in photography. The leading Schools of Photography in Germany. The increasing blurring of borders between photography and other pictorial spheres. And more...
I was struck by this piece on conservation by Grant B. Romer, director of the Conservation Department at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, made at a conference on the conservation of photo-archives. Romer's aim was to draw a clear-cut distinction between all the processes used to create computer-generated images, on the one hand, and photography in its ur-physicochemical “analog” form. Later there was even a conference on “The Original in Photography”, which was deemed “a concept in dissolution” – in terms of both photographic artwork and everyday use of the medium. The picture collectors attending were shocked by the announcement that they should either lay up their pictures in dark cold storage or accept a shorter life expectancy for their cherished prints.
This reminded me of curator Quentin Bajac's comment when he told me that they at Centre Pompidou, no longer regard contemporary prints as "objects" - rather items that by virtue of their potential impermanence will come and go from their collection.