Slideluck Potshow: On Saturday at the Power Station, Photography Starred Once Again
In an era where anyone can snap a photo, filter it and throw it on a social media site, we've become flooded with images. I spend as much time on Instagram as I do Twitter or Facebook, so life-chronicling via photographic evidence has become a daily byproduct. Still, I see far less photography in galleries than I did 10 years ago. By making the medium so accessible on a cheaper level, these true artists, the ones who capture the captivating and touch on the powerful with grace and intelligence -- their work has been devalued, at a time when it should be most revered.
Much of what we saw on Saturday stemmed from a highly editorial approach. They were the photos that draw your eyes into a print story on voting rights in distant cities. The jarring visual narratives that say more than most of us are willing to read. They were strong and sensitive and coffee-tabled as a cross-section of photojournalism, which was a treat. Still, I couldn't help but wonder if that gravitation toward publication-esque artwork and away from the old personal photo essay model was indicative of the current financial state of photography.
If fewer galleries are willing to exhibit this medium, we have to assume that fewer people are valuing it through purchase. In turn, our photographers whose passions lie outside the world of photojournalism are cornered, unable to pursue their own stories. Instead, they're working constantly to pay their bills, which in 2012 involves populating the pages of magazines and newspapers with assignments, rather than shooting collections off of grant or gallery dollars.
The thematic trend of Slideluck Potshow could also be attributed to the event's curation, which was handled by some heavy hitters at Newsweek and Harper's, who will almost certainly gravitate towards the editorially rich.
Still, it was a needed jolt, a reminder that this means of expression is powerful, beautiful and underrepresented. I want more nights like Saturday, and am hoping I don't have to wait for the next installment of Slideluck for it to happen.