Minneapois Institute of Arts
New Pictures at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

ENTRY POSTED Sep 25, 2009

A digital first, but who cares?

Noriko Furunishi’s work begins with a classic 4 x 5 camera and traditional analog negatives, but then morphs via Adobe Photoshop into photographs that are described shorthand as “digital.” This is the first time the MIA has featured digital-based work, a first not to brag about but an important move nonetheless as we develop a contemporary program. Furthermore, as an encyclopedic museum with audiences who are not as familiar with contemporary art as museums specializing only in modern and contemporary, one feels an obligation to present information on process. On the other hand, as someone who has worked across media my whole life, the question that keeps popping in my head is, why should we care whether Furunishi or other photographers use a digital process?

The narrative of technology that dominates the history of photography has come more and more to the surface with digital technology. I have some hunches why, but would love to hear some other viewpoints out there. My hope is that we can lay our cards on the table, purge our deepest technological secrets, and move on.

Category: New Pictures, New Pictures 1: Noriko Furunishi


4 Responses

  1. peterberge says:

    I think Paul Graham has it right, digital doesn’t change the basic decisions you make as a photographer – DOF, speed, what to point and when to click the shutter. It does change the post-processing, a lot, but that seems to me to open up even more artistic avenues.

    Loved Graham’s talk. I was at the Tate in early September and they were displaying several of his photos which got me to do a little more research on him, including finding out that he was speaking at the MIA. His talk gave me a much deeper understanding and appreciation for what he is doing (now all those colored curbs make sense!).

  2. Amanda says:

    I am really inspired by Noriko Furunishi’s process of using large format negatives to digitally piece together skyless landscapes. Only in person can you appreciate the scale and beauty of her craftsmanship.

  3. Lorika says:

    I also am inspired by Noriko Furunishi’s pictures. They are otherworldly, even though they are made up of bits of our world. Makes me want to play around in Photoshop and see what I can make out of some of my shots.

    And, I agree with PeterBerge that digital vs flim doesn’t change the act or inspiration for shooting, it just changes the “darkroom” processing. Although, I shoot things now that I never would have tried to do with a film camera – because it would waste too much film! (flying insects, low light still life’s etc.) Using digital, I can shoot a butterfly 100 times and end up with a few stellar photos, but with film, I would never think- or know until the butterfly was long gone – that I could get a decent shot.

  4. E says:

    In David’s essay he mentions how desensitized we have become to looking at landscapes. I admit that I often catch myself dismissing landscape photography. Ansel Adams, who is a household name in photography, is recognized by everyone and their grandma from the poor reproductions of his masterful works online. His technique and genius is forgotten when you glance at your Moon and Half Dome coffee mug. Sad, but true.

    Noriko is truly presenting an alternative view of a landscape that is fresh compared to photographers in the past. This doesn’t make her a better photographer, but it does set her apart for making something new in an age where we are bombarded with images. She made me stop and really look.