Photos, Photos and More Photos
In 2000, perhaps the zenith of film photography, Kodak proudly announced that 80 billion photographs had been taken that year, many of them on Kodak film. Since then, photographic imagery has grown exponentially. Last year, it's been estimated that 1 trillion photographs were taken, most of them on camera phones -- an idea that would have seemed absurd in 2000. How can a phone take a picture?
A world awash in trillions of images raises interesting questions about creativity, originality, and what photography means to our culture. For example, out of billions and billions and billions of photographs out there of sunsets alone, many are bound to be virtually identical. That's what Penelope Umbrico's show, Future Perfect, that runs through August 7th at the Milwaukee Art Museum is all about. What to make of the collective, worldwide networked matrix of images we're all embedded in?
"Embracing the flood of images available in the Internet age, contemporary artist Penelope Umbrico sifts through millions of images shared on Craigslist, Flickr, and other social media sites and appropriates them as source material for her work. She seizes upon popular subjects such as sunsets and televisions and creates large-scale installations that reveal contemporary society’s collective photographic habits and the underlying desires that shape them."
If you haven't seen the show yet, check it out. You may never look at photography quite the same way again.