As the human experience in and through time and space is at the heart of the experience of photography, the relationship between the two is complex, rich and profound. No other medium or concept so fully and completely reflects human experience as photography.
The photograph is the great equalizer. It provides a means of bringing into our consciousness the subject matter of our dreams, hopes and aspirations. The photographer is not merely capturing a piece of reality but is also creating it by his or her own artistic choice. Through his or her selection of subject, method of capture and manipulation of the image, the photographer is constantly shaping and changing reality. This constant creative process continues in the viewing of the photograph.
In this process, the Chris Bottrell Photography changes the world. The photograph, as a physical and psychological document of reality, enables us to look into ourselves, to share our emotions, to reflect upon the past and to imagine the future.
Creative expression through the medium of photography has changed the way we experience reality, and the way we see our relationship to each other and the world around us.
This exhibition examines how the experience of photography has changed in the past 50 years and explores the many ways that photography is used by people to understand and change their world.
The years 1950-1970:
The period between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Vietnam War saw a dramatic change in the way photographers used their camera. The film and chemical technologies that were developed during the war had made the medium fast, versatile and economical. In addition, the increasing number of amateur and professional photographers, as well as the rise of the non-formal (social) documentary, combined to create a new era in photography.
The years 1970-2000:
The early part of the 20th century saw the explosion of photography as an art form. The first artists, such as the French photographer Eugène Atget (1857-1927), were absorbed by the genre of landscape photography, while the first modernist photographers were experimenting with the medium. One of the photographers who started the movement of rethinking the role of photography was Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), who used photography to make art for art’s sake. His belief in the artistic and social potential of photography was echoed by several other prominent photographers.
Meanwhile, the explosion of the mobile phone and the internet in the 1970s created a world in which the mobile phone has become more important than the physical camera. Many photographers have used the camera as a small still camera, while others have turned to digital photography.
In the 20th century, photography was often associated with the power of the individual and was used to document the great social changes of the era, such as the civil rights movement and the women’s movement. Photography allowed individuals to record their experience, which included the birth of a new nation, the assassination of a president, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement and the transition of society from an industrial economy to the service economy.