The book ‘After Photography’ by Fred Ritchin, the Director Emeritus of International Centre for Photography explores the new role that photography plays in the age of digital inter-connectivity, social media and citizen’s journalism. Continuing in the best tradition started by Walter Benjamin, Susan Sontag and Willem Flusser, the author discusses how our reading of photography, photography’s depiction of the world and dissemination opportunities change in the era of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
The authors optimism and belief in the power of photography is clearly expressed in the following passage: ‘Despite governmental denial or indifference, the evidence of the camera has at times become a clarion call to trigger action (p. 130)… Two dimensional rectangles acted as potent reminders that helped provide momentum towards change’ (p. 131).
Citing his efforts trying to promote Sebastiao Salgado’s photographic series focusing on the effects of famine in Africa and describing the reluctance of galleries, museums and book publishers to take this project on, Ritchin, explains how the editors refused to exhibit this project on the grounds that it was ‘too depressing’ and how finally the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art agreed to show this work as part of the mid-career retrospective for the celebrated photographer. Finally, the Associated Press acknowledged that the huge famine could have been caused by the ‘tiny particles of sulfur oxide spewed by factories and power plants thousands of miles away in North America, Europe and Asia’ (p. 133).
The books asks many provocative questions and is a very stimulating read.
The book could be found on Amazon: Ritchin (2009) After Photography
Ritchin F. (2009) After Photograpy, W. W. Norton and Company