Digital Appropriation and Post-Photography

For a digital media assignment, I have read the articles, “Digital Appropriation as Photographic Practice & Theory” by Helen Westgeest and excerpts from Post-Photography by Robert Shore. These articles pose interesting arguments about appropriation of photography and the role of photography in a world that is saturated with images. In the first article by Westgeest, the author mentions that an artist had used images from Google in a series of travel-related photographs. This series is interesting because the artist was accused, by Google, of illegally appropriating images from the search engine, but isn’t Google doing the same thing by presenting images of people in locations without their permission? In my opinion and to the author’s point, Google’s accusation appears to be quite hypocritical and cynical toward that artist.

The second article of excerpts proposes that in a “hyper-documented world,” it is difficult to avoid using another person’s images for one’s own photography. It makes me question what the role of the photographer is with his work when the work is not entirely his own. However, the relatively easy access to images allows for a quick production of work and alludes to the idea that the content and meaning of the work is more important than the subject matter in today’s age. In terms of discussion, what is defined as a purely original photograph, and does it change the viewer’s interpretation of the work if the images are appropriated from other sources?


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