The Digital Eye

“The Digital Eye: Photographic Art in the Digital Age” by Sylvia Woolf makes key points about the development of photography. In the beginning of the text, Woolf discusses the transition from analog to digital forms of media and art. This topic was interesting because our next assignment in digital media involves taking photographs with a Canon Rebel T5 DSLR camera. In terms of photography, the analog would involve taking pictures with a film camera that transfers light onto the film medium, providing a “likeness” of the subject. However, our digital camera transforms the light into “algorithms and codes” which removes the trace of the subject in the digital medium and is something to consider for our assignment.
Another intriguing point that Woolf mentions is the immediacy of digital imagery. As technology has advanced, the speed and accessibility of photography has expanded dramatically. Through this reading, I realized that photography has allowed the artist to instantly capture their world, manipulate it, and share it for the whole world to see. Thus, in our assignment, I will be taking pictures of landscapes and indoor spaces. These spaces will be manipulated using Photoshop in order to create a sense of a “real” area and a “fantastic” area.

Wangechi Mutu: Cultural Cutouts

Wangechi Mutu is a collage artist who works with physical materials, such as magazine clippings, to create a larger image with texture, pattern, and figures. She uses collage as a mode of conveying a central concept: a person of color who is navigating the world and finding representation of her people in media. Mutu cuts out images from magazines, such as pictures of people and patterns, and places them in specific ways to create colorful, complex collages about her ethnicity as a black woman.

As in Mutu’s work, our assignment for digital media involves pulling images from the Internet and creating a digital collage. While the analog and digital methods have major differences, they allow similar techniques to be used. Inspired by Mutu’s method of collecting and manipulating images, I will be searching for pictures from different genres, such as music and animation, and will digitally cut out pieces of those images in order to overlap them to create a collage.

Another interesting connection to make between Mutu’s work and my prospective digital work is the idea of using one culture as a lens to investigate another culture. While Mutu uses her black culture to evaluate American media, I will be using my American culture as a means of viewing Asian culture, specifically in terms of male beauty standards. Throughout time, there has been a focus on female objectification in Asian culture, but has only recently shifted focus onto male objectification, something that was previously “invisible” to the public; could there be a way to shed light on these “invisible” aspects of the media as Mutu has discussed in the video?