Society has become increasingly dominated by images. We scroll endlessly through social media feeds, news apps and videos. Likes or comments on selfies provide a sense of validation. The medium has evolved as a result of the smartphones and internet sharing, which in turn have brought their own complexities. Users share their personal feelings and social events with an anonymous, online audience. What does this mean for the individual? A new publication from Kehrer Verlag negotiates the influence of visual media in the modern world.
The book, titled The Lives and Loves of Images, reflects on the Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Germany. 70 artists explore society’s ambivalent relationship with photography. The catalogue features 199 pictures, each demonstrating advancements in the medium. Iconic depictions – such as Walker Evans’ seminal series on the Great Depression – are revisited through the lens of contemporary artists.
The publication features works which engage with technology and mew media. Monochrome prints are transformed through the addition of colour. Archived materials are reworked with layered text and classical paintings are reimagined through VR. Featured above is work by Anastasia Samoylova, in which crumpled landscape images – reminiscent of postcards or holiday snapshots – are layered against a pastel backdrop. The book, and wider exhibition, show how imagery remains part of our cultural heritage but is constantly developing – offering fresh perspectives on history.
As a result of the closure, the Biennale is offering an online programme of exhibitions and events. Individuals can explore featured exhibitions – including All Art Is Photography –through simulated tours. Online visitors are invited to navigate a virtual reproduction of the gallery at their own pace. Featured pictures can be clicked on – revealing wall text and further information about the physical artworks. This increases accessibility to the arts at an unprecedented time – inviting new audiences to explore collections and escape through interactive imagery.
The Lives and Loves of Images is available now. Find out more here.
Explore the Virtual Tour of Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Germany, here.
Lead image: Anastasia Samoylova, Six Real Matterhorns, 2019, from the series Landscape Sublime, 2013–present / Courtesy Galerie Caroline O’Breen, Amsterdam