151MC Christmas Task

Consider the different approaches to a similar concept/subject in this article, what questions are posed? What are your thoughts?

Within the article “Photographing the Prostitutes of Italy’s Backroads”, it discusses the use of GSV for photographic projects such as the one by Mick Henner titled “No Man’s Land.” It got me thinking a lot about the use of Google Street View and made me question wether Google Street View can actually be used for documentary purposes. Up until now, I have only ever viewed GSV as a tool to help me find routes to one place from another and give me an idea of how they will look when I get there. All GSV images are dated which is very useful when conducting a photographic project as I tend to look on GSV before I go to see a recent image of that place. This helped me a lot during my last module where I conducting a huge amount of research looking for abandoned places.

Although the use of Google Street View has been slated, for example by Alan Chin who said “if you, the artist, are really so interested, then go there and take some pictures yourself. This is about as interesting as cutting out adverts from magazines that have some connection and then presenting your edit as a work of art.” I still think it is quite a useful tool. I personally, would probably not conduct a project like this but it is interesting to see. It gives us an unbias view into their world. The fact that a photographer isn’t present means that the subject will be more at ease, and the image won’t be posed or angled in a different way to portray things differently. This series of work may also make us wonder how this is still ongoing, if we can see such a think happening from GSV, why can’t the police see it and stop it? Or have they seen it and chosen not to stop it? As I start to think more about the work, deeper questions come up.

Moving onto the work of Paolo Patrizi, I do think this works better despite the advantages I just listed based on Henner’s work. The reason I think it works better is that it is a lot more intimate and personal, and Patrizi actually went to these places and got a feel for them. The images are also of a higher quality and clearer to see. Although, with this in mind, people may believe what they see more in the GSV screen grabs as they don’t look like they could have been altered due to the low resolution. Higher quality images are subject to more criticism as it is more likely that things could have been changed within the image. But we are still able to see more, we are able to go beyond the trees and roads and go further into the landscape to see close ups of the prostitutes possessions. More research has also been put into this work and he has made the effort to find out more about the people within his images which gives it more context and a better story.

What I would have liked to see frok Patrizi’s work is information about why these people migrated. It’s highly likely it was to escape poverty but why did they choose a job of prostitution which comes with much higher risks compared to other standard jobs. After reading the interview with Patrizi, I found that prostitution isn’t illegal in Italy unless it’s indoors. I feel as though Henner’s work also needs this information as it was his work that got me wondering why police aren’t stopping it. But this gets me thinking again, why make it illegal indoors but not outdoors? What is the difference? I like that Patrizi’s work almost shows a portrait of a person, without having them present. He shows what they have left behind, in, sometimes, very subtle ways and allows us into their life that they’ve left behind. There is also more of a shock factor with Patrizis work as we see more than just blurred out faces in the distance on the side of the road, who we can’t even be sure are prostitutes.

Read the introduction to Palfry And Gasser’s book ‘Born Digital’, how does this argument compare to Jurgenson’s thoughts found here. How do you react as so-called ‘Digital Natives’?

In Born Digital, Palfry and Gasser create very generalised terms including “Digital Natives”, “Digital Immigrants” and “Digital Settlers” and assumes that all of the younger generation know how to use technology. It doesn’t take into account the fact that some people may choose not to use it or may not have access to it. It also assumes that digital immigrants/settlers don’t know how to use technology as well as the younger generation, which isn’t always true. It assumes that digital settlers get online but also use analogue technology, which may not be true for all. And even if it is, surely digital natives do the same? According to the book, I would be classed as a digital native, yet I still buy records and love the idea of polaroid photography, and have many friends who have polaroid cameras who are also digital natives. Born Digital assumes this doesn’t happen. It also takes quite a humorous approach to the topic and makes a few small jokes throughout the introduction such as “You know them [digital immigrants] by the lame jokes and warnings about urban myths that they still forward to large cc: lists”

Comparing the IRL Fetish to Born Digital, it takes a much more negative point of view and sees the “oversaturation” of digital technology as a bad thing. It highlights the fact that most young people (as Palfry and Gasser would call, digital natives), are lost in the world of technology and are logging into their phones and checking out of reality. We are now able to change who we are online and make our lives seem different to what they are. It doesn’t so much concentrate on the positives that Palfrey and Gasser did who spoke about how technology has improved the way we work and communicate and how we are able to hold business meetings from anywhere we like without flying to another country, and we are able to start up businesses online with smaller start up costs. Jurgensons article also assumes that we would be lost without our phones, which a lot of us probably would. What I took out of this article is that we rely on them too much, we rely on technology and can’t function without it. One positive thing the article does mention is that we have never appreciated being offline so much before, people now fantasise about strolls along the beach unconnected from the world, which would have been a normal thing before technology.

One main difference between the two articles is that Born Digital assumes all analogue forms are dying whereas Jurgenson points out the revival of these due to the fetishisation of the offline. The other main difference is that Born Digital is a lot more positive about digital technology compared to IRL Fetish which seems to slate it and almost say that it is ruining our simplistic lives.