Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Common Genius

Photojournalist Tim Hetherington built a reputation as a war correspondent, and received acclaim from his documentary with Sebastian Junger called Restrepo, which showed American soldiers as they went through a deployment in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan.  Although i am not an expert in his work, he may be considered a modern genius and a member of the avant-garde  In an interview, his responses echo on what makes a genius, especially since modern tech, like iphones and photoshop, changes the whole dynamic on how images and sounds are presented to us.

When asked about the ability to alter photos with and be more inclusive of non-professionals and if this was included in the realm of photojournalism he said,

"I have no idea.  The thing was, it was shot on an iPhone, and that's been the discussion.  I'm [more] interested in the content.  What was it saying?  What did it reveal to us that we hadn't seen already?"

He also gave his opinion on amateur video footage, and the development of the medium of photography/video.

"I'm not interested in replacing photography.  I'm interested in what's happening with the still image and the moving image and their discussion together.  But video is having a profound effect on our society.  I watched Anderson Cooper right after the Japan earthquake, and the entire broadcast was amateur videos.  And they were fascinating, almost more powerful than professional images."

Coomeraswamy says we all have genius inside us, yet with such an accessible way to present and alter images, does that make images less original and individualistic, or is it like Hetherington says and its all about the content?  With the accessibility of this technology, and easy ways to spread images, the overflow of material presents another problem.  How do we determine what is genius and what is simply art?  Maybe technology is simply making it easier for people to discover their inner genius, rather than inhibiting it.

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