Hilary Stunda, managing the Woody Creek Community Center, on Wednesday sponsored a panel discussion: “Digital Imagery — Revolution or Evolution?”
Andrea Wallace (Head of Anderson Ranch digital media), David Amirault (aka “DigiDave,” social media head at Aspen Skiing Co.), Tony Prikryl (head printer, Digital Art Aspen) and Burnie Arndt (photographer, artist) moderated. The audience of roughly 30 individuals represented many comprising a who’s who of photography and the arts.
Millions of images are uploaded to social media daily. This, along with the evolution of a new art form, brought together an Aspen think tank-like discussion on aesthetics, art, media and technology now transforming an area of visual data that has yet to crystallize into a distinct entity. As “New Digital Media/Photography Program Director” at Anderson Ranch, Andrea Wallace’s title best defines the entity discussed.
Perhaps not described was the difference between accurate photojournalism (such as moving photos from the Vietnam era) as well as the need for accuracy in science and medical imaging and that which is “art.” It may well be best described by John Gossage (a famous American film photographic artist, not present at the gathering) leading a workshop at Anderson Ranch several years ago. His opinion was that at the end of the week the amazing, accurate still-life image photo in a periodical gets tossed into the recycle bin, whereas perhaps a manipulated or non-manipulated digital or film image becomes art when placed on a wall in a home or museum and is admired and inspiring for years.
Beyond the technical aspects of modern photography is a realm that remains amorphous. The Latin phrase, “de gustibus non disputandum est” means that in matters of taste, there is no dispute. This is an aphorism which is offset by who curates and decides what makes for great art and that which has monetary value. I believe the art world is “indiscernible” and it is that illusive characteristic which may well be that which captures the imaginations and emotions of cultures and civilizations.
E.R. Morrow said that if a picture is worth a thousand words then a word is worth a thousand images. Perhaps shifting to a new perspective, it is this new generation of technology where an image, art and esthetics live in a world which is actually “beyond words.”