Category Archives: Fred Ritchin

What Matters Now? Exhibition

Hosts: Fred Ritchin, Deborah Willis, Stephen Mayes, Melissa Harris (Wafaa Bilal, not pictured)

Aperture’s inside-out  exhibition in-progress What Matters Now? opened in its final form last Saturday night. The five Hosts: Wafaa Bilal, Melissa Harris, Stephen Mayes, Deborah Willis and Fred Ritchin, had two weeks to transform the blank walls of their areas into Proposals for a New Front Page. Their collaborative efforts yielded thought-provoking, outrage-inducing and even hopeful statements about the current state of media and photography. In addition to discussions led by the Hosts, public involvement truly made the exhibition a community effort. The Public wall currently exhibits over one hundred submissions from people worldwide, and those that could not attend the Aperture Gallery space for events and lectures joined the conversation through Twitter, Facebook and the website. The unusual form of  the What Matters Now? exhibition was an experiment on Aperture’s part, but one that produced fascinating results. Using Aperture Gallery as a meeting hub, the goal of the exhibition was to start a conversation about what we are looking at, as a society, and why. The weeks’ events and Saturday’s well-attended opening demonstrates that many are concerned with issues regarding the media: particularly trust, engagement and active readership. Fred Ritchin, the creator of What Matters Now?, even plans to continue working on creating a new way of reading, collecting disseminating information.

Although the hosts are no longer adding to their walls, the Public Wall will continue to grow. You can submit images and text online here until Thursday, September 22, 2011.

What Matters Now?: Proposals for a New Front Page
through Saturday, September 24, 2011
10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Aperture Gallery
547 West 27th Street, 4th floor
New York, New York

What’s Next?

I’ve just written a piece for the magazine European Photography in which I touch on the lack of substantial online discussion on current trends in photography and where things are going. I’ll be posting the piece on eyecurious soon, so I won’t go into detail here, but in general my feeling is that although online activity on photography is growing by the day, it is becoming commensurately shallower as a result. Fortunately there are examples which buck the trend. Foam, the Amsterdam photo-museum, has recently added What’s Next? to its expanding range of content. What’s Next? is a supplement to Foam’s quarterly magazine but also an online discussion forum which is designed to spark discussion on current trends and how they are affecting the development of photography. The museum recently organised an expert meeting in Amsterdam around the What’s Next project with an impressive line-up including Charlotte Cotton, Fred Ritchin, Thomas Ruff, Joachim Schmid and many others (you can see a number of the presentations from the meeting on Foam’s youtube channel). Although the design of the site messes with my eyes and head a little bit, there is some terrific content on here running from photobooks to photojournalism. As a blogger I find that the most satisfying experiences writing online are those which spark a discussion, debate or even an argument. If you are interested in any of the above, I highly recommend a visit to What’s Next?

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What’s next?

Coinciding with FOAM‘s tenth anniversary is a forward-looking micro-site: What’s Next. The site a selection of articles and reflections by some of the most interesting minds in photography today, covering everything from the future of the institution to the effects of digital media on photography.

The good people at FOAM say: “The question ‘What’s Next?’ is founded in our conviction that photography has fundamentally changed during the last twenty years. And this process of change and transition might not be finished yet. The digitalization of the medium has altered every aspect of photography, whether it is the photograph as an object, the position of the professional photographer, the function of the photo lab, the news agency or the photography museum.

In fact the question ‘What’s Next?’ is about far more than ‘just’ the future of photography. It is also about the future of a society dictated by visual media, of a society in which people primarily communicate with technological tools that have been developed and made into consumer products with incredible speed. It is about the future of a society in which every layman can and will be a photographer, sharing his experiences with newly made online communities, a society in which the experience of time and space have drastically changed.”

In conjunction with the website FOAM recently held a fascinating symposium, a few video clips of which you can see here:

To see more videos like this from FOAM click here