Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Digital Reality

Digital Reality symposium in Glasgow Hilton 1995

On Monday afternoon the 20th of May 1995 from 12.00 - 16.00 hrs. a workshop is planned with the following subjects:

          -Digital Reality:
    The effects of digital imaging on professional photography (Robert Schilder)

          -Photo Phase One digital back
    (From: Studio Workshop)

         -Dicomed retouching station
    (From: CETA, London)

         -Internet & WWW
    (with the kind help of Glasgow school of Art)

         -Future of studio-photography
    short talk and questions (Dennis Savini)

Digital Reality symposium in Glasgow Hilton 1995, image made by Pieter de Swart
art by Pieter de Swart

DIGITAL REALITY (Robert Schilder)

The concepts of photography are breaking down.
Although a lot of photographers still haven't got a clue what digital photography is all about, it is of no use to give, at this workshop, the same summery of professional equipment over and over again. Instead, I would like to emphasize more on the state-of-affairs and on what can be done in the near future than on digital set-up and hardware. I think we're all pretty much aware that it all works now, but only a few of us are using a good part of the possibilities.

'There is no future for photography!'
The director of the 'Nederlandse Fotoinstituut', Adriaan Monshouwer (1994) , when I asked him for some help with our newly established gallery in the Hague simply stated, quite angrily actually, that there is no future for photography, so why go through all the hassle? Although, he was looking more from his point of view of course, photography as an art-form, this is not the most encouraging message.

I have worked for the design department of Philips, PCD in Eindhoven, the Netherlands for a long time; first as an in house photographer and later as freelance. About two years ago I was summoned in the office of one of the managers and got quite a serious lecture about the changes which were about to happen. They announced that as a result they would use my services far less than before; looking back now I must say he was only too right.
The same department is now working with the slogan: 'PCD around the clock', meaning that after working on a certain project in Eindhoven (Neth.) for a full day, work goes on (in the night here but) in daytime Australia. In the morning it can be evaluated and followed up in Eindhoven again.

Are budgets going more to moving images? Or is it just one of the things brought about by MTV? I think we have ruined our own advertising market by gross overfeeding. The amount of images is so enormous that it cannot be but markets are loosing their attention.

Another major issue is the deterioration of quality; Who needs advertising? Who needs quality-photography? Can we really get through to people's minds and if not, do we know how to change this?

Digital Imaging
There will be no need to convince anyone that the different computer systems are all working now. Scanners are producing larger files than most printers need. The number of filters we can use in Photoshop software are mind-blowing. Possibilities are growing faster than market demands or our minds could ever predict.
Sometimes the urge to start working with computers comes more from being afraid to stay behind than the actual need to use all these numerous possibilities.
But it is changing all faster than we expected and for many photographers the uncertancies have still not been taken away.
Do we really find it useful or is it just forced upon us?

Now that we all have a Powermac and Photoshop and we all have access to the Internet, what are the real advantages?

For me one of the biggest advantages is that it communicates easier and faster.
The urge to network. We are all convinced about the fact that digital imaging is enlarging the possibilities of the photographer, even if it is just used as a tool in creative imaging

Dennis Savivi:
Einen gesunden hang zum Masochismus.
Berührungsangst oder Desinteresse?
Die Anwender ist die grösste Fehlerquelle. Die Systeme arbeiten sauber und technisch auf hohem Stand bs.
Digitale Kameras nicht allein betrachten aber auch die nachfolgende Stufe der Bildbearbeitung
Produktionsmittel sind greifbar geworden
Daten sind sofort kontrollierbar und verfügbar
Der Fotograf kann mit diesen neuen Mitteln sein Werk von A-Z selbst bestimmen, gestalten und abschliessend bearbeiten
Die digitale Fotografie selbst ist nicht kostengünstiger als die traditionelle Produktionsart, aber die Gesamtkosten einer Produktion werden dem Kunden gefallen.

Grösse Investitionen.
Mayor disadvantage is that it is becoming unclear who is doing what?
Ad-agencies are turning into servicebureaus and photographers into reprohouses. New ways of collaboration are needed
The learning curve proves much longer than expected. It is taking up far more time than expected to learn how to use the equipment.
If your client is not using the possibilities it may be even harder to communicate. We all seem to be waiting for the other person to start using it.
Working cross-platforms is one of the hardest things there is.

The almost unlimited distribution power of the internet
There is no way back. All the new possibilities for improving quality are far too important for that.
No longer an utopia, now it is possible to get tailor-made solutions: set-ups for your personal and your clients situations. From lay-outs to archiving and from retouching to sending an invoice, from private-banking to ordering material. Capture, storage and output; it is all possible on one and the same system. What is more it is all getting more user-friendly.
In my opinion pretty soon you will be working with your clients and service bureaus in your own network of specialists. It could even be a way of making your life easier.
Practical experiences have shown, that only with a thoroughly tested system you will be able to work in a reliable way. All components: computer, software, cameras and light have to be adjusted to each other. And one should not forget to take the next person into account who has to work with this chain of data. These things should be considered even before you start buying equipment. One of our experiences of the survey we did is that there is a definate different preferences in every country or even city.
Important also is the connection to the next step. meaning that you can read the lay-out of your clients and that you speak the same language as your output bureau. For this reason you might want to sit down and talk to them before you start to invest in equipment.
What we show you in this workshop are easy solutions, simple Mac's and PC's with global access

A network of specialists is the way in which it should work and for our Circle easier communications are also the way for the near future. Not just because it is great fun to do, but first of all because it is necessary. Keeping an open eye on what's happening and an open mind toward any changes.
It is a pity that your client is not using all the possibilities yet, because that would bring back the market we are all looking for.
*in some cases it is already possible to work on a distance or to get material from sources far away
*now it is possible to send colour corrected output ready for printing.
*Robert Steinberg makes iris-negatives for platinumprints.
*Richard Benson: stochastic screening == cristalraster, high quality printing of old photographs.
*Iris printers print on any surface already since 1994
*dye-sublimation: dyes are diffused into the image tot 11x170 larger: inkjet
*Cactus: electrostatic printing for high-quality output groter dan Iris 54Ó breed! dot pattern
*Fuji Fujix Pictrography 3000 400 dpi printer uses silverhalide and thermal technology

Digital Reality symposium organised by Robert Schilder CIRCLE-24

Advantages of Digital Imaging:
The reverse of one of the most common complaints is that the client has possibilities to use copyrighted material in any way he likes?
-It is giving us more control in the making and marketing of our work. (Hotshoe)
-It is possible to retouche and enhance what has already been photographed.

-complete in-house production services

Kontakten van het vorig jaar:

Welke foto's:

Global attitude moet er nog inzitten, dus feiten over werelddelen.
artikel over stijl: style as a social phenomenon
waarom kiest een klant voor een bepaalde fotograaf
still photography in multimedia
and digital presentations

uses of digital imaging
Verhaal van Anthony
Lithografen zijn in het voordeel wat betreft softwarekennis.

Fotografie is de laatste schakel die nog niet gedigitaliseerd is.

dayrates versus marketing
hoe voordelig is het om te netwerken

no rules photography
zou hiermee duidelijk moeten maken hoe we onze eigen markt aan het verzieken zijn
We worden ingehuurd om een idee vorm te geven en daar veranderd geen computer iets aan.
neue bildsprachelemente werden möglich. Photography was never a reliable means for representing reality, even though to a certain point it might work well in doing so. More often it served to create a new reality. In a similar way, new media is functioning today to the point of limitless manipulation, losing any connection to the represented object.

Digital imaging is giving much more possibilities to portray the 'image' of a certain assignment. Most advertising is about emotion
Wat we nodig hebben is iets wat uitdaagt.
Challenges the way we read
subverting messages and creating alternative readings of an image
Wat is anders dan in alle andere toekomst filosofien
wat is het duidelijk nieuwe idee in het verhaal

"culture of contentment":
de 'kultuur' van een zelfgenoegzame en welvarende bovenklasse, die zich afkeert van de problemen van de onderklasse die zij zelf heeft gecreëerd. (Volkskrant)

computers zijn a-sociale media

de tijd die mensen ter beschikking hebben blijft gelijk.
dus gaan ze nog scherper selekteren op inhoud.

informatie-overvloed leidt tot ontlezing?
Het voordeel van het kunnen zoeken op een enkel woord

"Reklame is een dood lichaam dat blijft lachen": Oliviero Toscani, Benetton-fotograaf
Benetton's design-school fabrica in Catena di Villorbo bij Treviso
Adformatie 12/10/95:
relatie gebruik internet / nooit van internet gehoord:
Amerika    12%        20%
24 miljoen internet gebruikers= 11 procent van de bevolking boven 16 jaar
18 miljoen gebruiken WWW. zijn over het algemeen beter opgeleid en hebben een beter inkomen. 31% 1x per dag en gemiddeld 5 uur en 28 minuten per week.
Duitsland      2%        78%
Frankrijk      2%        71%
Nederland      3%        51%
Zweden      5%        27%

Fits is 'the postscript of imaging' partnership Kodak and IVUE?
eigenlijk niks meer van gehoord???
The future image report opzoeken

Photo CD is functioneler en goedkoper dan digitale fotografie
Digitale technieken veranderen noch het doel noch de functie van fotografie.
Het zijn alleen de middelen, de gereedschappen die veranderen.
Digitalisering is onafwendbaar maar er is meer tijd voor nodig om tot een economisch verantwoorde implementatie te komen.
Zelfde artikel: Gerdo Schepel: er zijn nou eenmaal early adopters nodig om de technische ontwikkelingen op gang te kunnen houden

Mediauitgaven in Engeland daalden in het vierde kwartaal 1995 van 9 naar 5%:
nieuwe economische recessie
De dingen nemen meer af dan wordt toegegeven.

tags: digital reality, circle-24, glasgow, robert schilder, mns photocolour, dennis savini, intercolor,

Tuesday, 30 March 2021


Janusz Fogler/publisher
WAiF 02-595 Warszawa ul.Pulawska 61 Poland
Dear Mr. Fogler,                              the Hague, 13/08/00
I am working on a book about 'Trends in Photography & Graphic Design' and found Mr. Horowitz willing to participate. I have attached a small piece of text below about this project and you can find more information on my website. Of course, with the examples of his work there should be some text about him and his philosophy. We found the text as given below appropriate to go with his work and Mr. Horowitz asked me to contact you for permission to use it. If there is anything I can do to provide you with additional information, please let me know.

Thank you for your help and looking forward to hear from you,
 Robert Schilder
With this publication, I would like to explain relations between professional photography and graphic design. ZOO Design, (a small idealistic graphic design publisher) has taken the initiative to publish a series of books on various topics relating to graphic design. This is the fifth part of the series, other parts were about printers, pictograms (icons), design & smell and one about paper & design. Dutch graphic design has a long standing reputation, this however is the first bilingual part of the series, giving me the opportunity to show an international perspective with an enormous potential of interesting contributions. Being a professional photographer for many years now, allows me to give my side of the story. From the design side there are of course other experts as A.D.Coleman, Jan van Toorn and Daniel Pinchbeck.
In 1989 I founded CIRCLE 24, an world-wide foundation of professional photographers who keep each other informed about trends and developments. It is really a loosely organized bunch of friends with a lot of contacts in all different fields of a wonderful profession and this gives  a tremendous advantage in compiling all the material.
With the Circle, I also organized a large number of photography exhibitions world-wide; many of these new trends stem from art-photography. So much has happened in an ever faster way, that I would like to restrict the time span of the articles roughly to the last ten years. First of all: what were significant trends in concepts and visualization and how different were they in various parts of the world? What I intend to show is photography as finished artwork. Secondly it is clear that, in this short time span, both professions have changed tremendously. You will be aware of the enormous possibilities brought by new computer programs, and of the tensions this has caused between designers, digital photographers and printers leaving clients often wondering who is doing what and who is right. For all these glitches are existing solutions, developed by experts in respective fields and this forms also a part of the trends and way of working. Lastly what will the near future bring and what more is there to desire?
With pleasure, I recommend you the opinions of all participants.
Robert Schilder
Robert Schilder wrote:
Dear Mr. Horowitz,
I had another look at your fantastic website and have taken the liberty to take parts of the text from there. Together with Robert Bowen's entry in 'Digital Image Creation' I have compiled the following text; a main text instead of the interview and Mr. Bowen's remarks next to the photograph.
-When I just mention the names of Robert A. Sobieszek and Robert Bowen under the text as shown below, would that be covering copyrights?
 I don't see any problems as long as the text accompanies my work, but it would be preferable to write to my publisher in this matter. It is just a formality. You mention our correspondence, etc. Please contact: Janusz Fogler/publisher WAiF 02-595 Warszawa ul.Pulawska 61 Poland 48 22/845 53 01 office 48 22/845 55 84 fax If you are  interested in the English version of my book, WAiF is the place to that may still have some copies still available.
-Is Robert Bowen still doing (all?) your computer work?
I stop working with Bob almost three years ago. He never did all my computer work, but worked with me on some major projects in the past. Now, time permitting I do all my digital imaging myself.
-Are you shooting digital now?
Every once a while I use digital capturing equipment. I am certain it is the way of the future, but we are still not there yet. Digital equipment offering high enough resolution is very expensive and frequently awkward in use. For now I prefer to shoot most of my images on film and have them digitized on drum scanners.
-May I use your 'birthegg' photograph with this text and could you send it
 to me digitally? (max. size is 14cm. wide, 300dpi and high-quality jpg) This image is an example of my own digital work, including concept, photography and imaging. See attached jpg
There is room for one more photograph, for instance one which shows you at work. That could be color or b/w, as you wish, and could be even a little 'humorous'? 

See attached jpg. It is a self portrait I created for a poster to promote my recent retrospective exhibition traveling now in Poland.
-It is my personal intention to send this book to the press worldwide, in fact that is all what I am getting out of this: a solid network. There will be two books printed: one in Dutch and one in English. Of course you will receive a final text-check before going to print an a copy when it is printed.
Looking forward,
best regards,
Robert Schilder
Main text:
"Astonish me!" Alexey Brodovitch challenged his students. Actually, the former creative director of Harper's Bazaar was quoting the earlier "Étonnez-moi!" of the Russian ballet master Sergei Diaghilev, but with his
charge Brodovitch set the stage for more than half a century of modernist design in America. Design - whether it was illustrational, typographic, or photographic - was obliged to be provocative and new; otherwise it would disappear within the quotidian white-noise of that which assaults us visually. "I hate imitation and cliches," he said to a class in 1964; "I hope we can discover a new way of communication... You should provoke me and only then can I provoke you back. I believe in this backfire technique."
The model of contemporary design and photography Brodovitch promoted in his classes and promulgated in the pages of Harper's Bazaar between 1934 and 1958 was a fertile, energetic, and sophisticated laboratory - a sort of one-person Bauhaus - in which such notable photographers as Richard Avedon, Hiro, Art Kane, Arnold Newman, Irving Penn - and Ryszard Horowitz - refined their personal visions and styles. 

Ultimately, it does not matter that many of Horowitz's photographs were created for advertising or editorial purposes. What matters is their completeness, their singularity, and their unparalleled innovation. Ryszard
Horowitz's photo-compositions are ultimately a set of early excursions into the imaginative as opposed to menu-driven options artists now have in fabricating the potential worlds that lay before us, worlds of con-sensual hallucinations and poetry and astonishment. As an artist of these new cyber spaces he shows us what inventions are possible, what complete visual freedoms are now available for fashioning images of considerable provocation, and what unparalleled scenic wonders are latent in the latest electronic and computer technologies at hand - and all this in the service of Brodovitch's mandate: "Astonish me!"
Robert A. Sobieszek
"The most important heritage I got from my country is an understanding of art, painting in particular.
A photographer ought to be able to use in his work the whole achievement of art history, and his work should be a sum of artistic experience from the past". And for the new technology and how he has harnessed it, Horowitz says: "I exchanged the darkroom for the computer. I don't intend spending the rest of my life trapped in electronics. It is a certain stage for me, one of the techniques which I am applying at the moment, because it suit my present creative purposes best."
And the future? "Where I am now is closest to where I began as a painter," Ryszard says, "where I have a blank canvas and I can do anything. I never had either the technique or the patience as a naturalistic painter to achieve what I can now achieve by combining photography with digital techniques. The complexity gives me the means to achieve my ideas, so I am finally able to use the medium to project my inner dreams and fantasies, all using the most communicative medium that there is. The paradox is that I am drawn increasingly back to simple imagery again. When Jo Peter Witkin gave me his print I felt a jealousy. This was something he had photographed and produced in his own darkroom. I miss the control that comes from that solitary creative process."

Next to the photograph:
The aesthetic genius of Ryszard Horowitz's photography is squarely rooted in a strategy of unqualified provocation. Regardless of its intent, whether the work was done for advertising, editorial, experimental, or strictly personal reasons, his motivation for the past two decades has been dominated not only by a need to make images that are compellingly and startlingly original, but also to defy the very logic by which photographic narratives are read and iconic emblems comprehended. His visual fantasies are not taken from a crude realist world; they are formed purely by an overactive and joyful imagination that plays with equal amounts of the unexpected, the uncanny, and the oneiric. His means range from the hard physics of conventional camera optics to the sophisticated morphings of the latest electronic software. Part magician and wry humorist, part consummate craftsperson of cut-and-paste montages, part techno-jock and hacker of virtual irrealities,

 "This type of computer imaging has much in common not only with set design, but also with special-effects films. The goal of special effects is the mastery of nature through tricking the eye. In order to aid in the suspension of disbelief, the viewer is in collusion with the effects artist in the sense that both parties really want the illusion to work.The principal requirement needed to allow this process to succeed is photo realism. Trompe l'oeil pictures work because of the intellectual co-perception of two divergent forms of surface information: illusory space and the medium's own actual two-dimensionality (the pixels, monitor, paint, canvas, grain or noise)".
Robert Bowen in 'Digital Image Creation'
Thanks for your interest. Sincerely, Ryszard
Please visit my web site at:



Circle of 24 photographers 

NOVEMBER 21 .1995 
Dear Robert,
Persona ro; Ltd. 325 Soi Kantabutr l. Sukhumvit 63. Bangkok 10110. Thailand. Tel. 381-6564-5 Fax. 3816567 

I'm very sorry for the late reply. I just had a Polaroid Exhibition all works were done on Polaroid. I'm sending you samples from my work on a CD (low resolution) as you had earlier requested. After being busy with the exhibition I had to go to Australia and Singapore on an assignment. Came back and was hit with a flu for 1 week. Today I'm feeling better and I 'm rushing this package to you may be you can use it. 

The titles of my work are as follows. 


Wednesday, 3 March 2021


Tim Besserer Grafenhaus Herrnhaag
(text is from 2000)

The trend, or rather novelty here is large inkjet printing. With this relatively new technique it has become possible to make huge prints even from 35mm negatives. Tim Besserer used it to make his exhibition in ‘Grafenhaus Herrnhaag’

Tim BESSERER invitation to exhibition Grafenhaus
Reflections on ‘Magic Moments' Zones of transition, black and white, parallel, interpenetrating and interdependent universes. Are we all here? Present and centred, correct and corrected - omnipresence withheld although we are always and forever at the outset of spatial and temporal infinities, so it seems - at all times and in all places.
Integral elements of archetypal flux, shape changers, appearances, ideas, ephemeral forms. Senses and sensibility, Sinn Schein realities of flatness in-depth. It's not a case of either/or but of both/and - so it is said - for the Devil he is hidden in detail!

Dr. Patrick Patridge, July 2000, Frankfurt-am-Main.

Tim Besserer Grafenhaus Herrnhaag
Tim Besserer Grafenhaus Herrnhaag
Tim Besserer Grafenhaus Herrnhaag
Tim Besserer Grafenhaus Herrnhaag
Link to publications:  Unionsverlag
Bio:,  ausstellungen

Saturday, 21 November 2020


Why this project" -Robert SCHILDER (the Netherlands)

Why this project?
With this publication, I would like to show the relation between professional photography and graphic design.
It enables to show an international perspective with interesting contributions from people with great skill and influence. Not only renowned photographers are contributing such as Ryszard Horowitz, Sam Haskins, Gérardo Suter and Milton Montenegro but also young talents like Melissa Hribar, Linder VanderZande and Sabine Korth.

I'm working as a professional photographer for many years. In 1989 I founded CIRCLE-24, an international foundation of professional image-makers who keep each other informed about trends and developments in photography. It has grown into a group of friends with a lot of contacts in various disciplines, which gives me an enormous advantage in compiling the material for this project.
I organized quite a number of photography exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad. Many new trends stem from art photography. The relation between art photography, exhibition design and graphic design is obvious.

In photography and in graphic design a lot has changed especially in the 1990's. Professional photography and graphic design were from then made by using computers and this proved an enormous turn around and challenge. Developments were that fast that I wanted to restrict the contributions for this project to approximately this particulair decade. To give a complete view is impossible but I have tried to make a coherent story and a positive showcase of the rich scale of new possibilities in photography and graphic design.

By including more information about the participants I hope to encourage further insight. To make techniques more accessible there is a list of experts and books on the last page.

First, what were the most important trends in concept and visualisation and how different were these in different part of the world? How were they applied in a graphic design or exhibition?
Secondly it will become clear that also the definition of both professions, photographer and graphic designer, has changed tremendously in a short period of time. A photographer is no longer a photographer in the traditional meaning of the word and also the graphic design profession has changed and extended enormously. You will be aware of the vast possibilities of new computer software and printing techniques and of the tensions this has caused between designers, digital photographers and printers, often leaving clients with the question: "Who is doing what and who is right?” About the how and why of these theoretical and technical questions a lot has been published. For many indistinctnesses nowadays solutions exist, developed by experts of the concerning specialities; solutions which have become a part of the trends and ways of working. And lastly: what will the future bring and what wishes remain?

Digital Reality Symposium in Glasgow organized by CIRCLe-24
New applications and new definitions
The techniques have changed, what brought new possibilities. At the same time the discussion has risen to give a new meaning to the profession. Festivals like Montage93 (LINK) of the Rochester Institute of Technology of 1993 and the 'Design beyond Design' symposium at the Jan van Eijk Academie in Maastricht have made these changes visible. The photography festival has shown especially the rich scale of possibilities to produce an image; the Jan van Eijk Design Symposium concentrated on redefining visual communication.

At about the same time CIRCLE-24 organized s symposium in Glasgow to show and discuss what the situation was now and what to expect of the future. Studio Photography
For more than 7 years I was employed by the Design Department of Philips. After that period, when I had started my own studio, I still did a lot of work for Philips Design. Thanks to the good relationships that were maintained with Philips, I was notified in time that photography would form a much smaller part in the design process in the future. Also marketing departments would use less and less photography.
Computer aided design developed to such an advanced level that photography of products became less necessary. Being a studio photographer, I had worked a lot for kitchen and bathroom manufacturers. Complete sets were built and a lot of models had to be hired. That type of market also has changed tremendously. During the last decade studio photography has become more illustrative than before.
Martin Evening (LINK) predicted in 1996 that in the near future 35% less professional photographers would be needed. I'm afraid that he was right. The fact that every year thousands of young people are graduating from academies is not helping either. And it makes one wonder how they are planning to earn their money.

Nobody has foreseen the extent in which digital techniques could change the goal as well as the function of photography. Computer software like Photoshop (LINK), Eclipse and Imaginator have obscured the borders between the different disciplines and a new phenomenon 'digital image manipulation' has emerged. Every person who is a little handy with the computer can obtain fantastic results easily. Experimenting is the key to success. The program is not just there for the benefit of photographers; it has, on the contrary, also been the cause of shifts in profession. Another advantage of the computer: internet gave me the possibility to ask the same questions to all contributors of the book, whether they are experienced professionals or young designers.

Illustrative photography
By photographing the image in parts and by illustrating these parts with the computer an optimal use is made of the potential. It has become possible to achieve a whole new style with a specific image language. The end results, which started as photographs in the very beginning, make clear that most of their creators were originally photographers; they know the possibilities and boundaries of techniques.

Sometimes it seems as if photographers make photographs first of all to impress other photographers; bragging about smarter solutions and showing off possibilities and ways of expression which were still enclosed in chemical processes, are examples of that.
Also, photographers really want to make a statement that photography is an art form, which defeats the object of communication.

Intrinsic to the photographic process is that it reproduces something what has been, no matter how manipulated or altered. The use of computers makes it very well possible to mix photography with other illustrative techniques (art, painting, printing techniques) or different media (film, sound). Because the possibilities of making photographs have enlarged so much, the word photographer no longer covers the whole spectrum. In Germany the term photo-designer (Urs Schwerzmann LINK) is known for a long time and to me it seems a better name.
All these changes have given photography a different identity. Merely making a reproduction of reality (straight photography) is no longer its sole purpose. What matters more is what photographs represent. Which role will photographers be able to play in the future?

Many photographers were still very uncertain about all this digital stuff. Theywere not willing or quite able to understand what had changed. They could not accept that their profession, build up with so much care, had changed so radically. The demand for photography, the making of photos, had changed. Darkrooms were no longer necessary and all the techniques learned at school could be left behind. New skills had to be learned. We, photographers, were expected to stay informed about new possibilities and techniques, but it was a steep learning curve, not to mention the necessary financial investments to be made. Staying behind in this commercial rat race would mean irrevocably a restriction in potential market.

Graphic Design
For years graphic design meant the design of artwork. Because of the computer and the new media the profession had grown enormously. As graphic designers were concerned with multimedia and the web, they had to deal with more aspects than before: not only with text and images but also with film, video, sound and not to be forgotten the social aspects of 'interactivity'.

Because of the changes in content of graphic design the demand for photography has changed. Established photographers cannot fulfil this demand. The market for photography has changed!

The demands have changed that much that the work of a graduate, be it unsharp or false coloured, will sometimes be preferred over the work of a professional who is exercising his profession for 25 years. It even seems that the more rules of lighting, colour fidelity, sharpness or permanency can be thrown overboard the better it is appreciated. Blurred unsharpness, false colours, the more the better!
The LOMO is a small Russian camera, which has become very popular just because of its shaky quality; even so popular that a LOMO-culture (LOMO LINK) with a real fan club has emerged.

Trends are an interpretation of ’certain movements at the source’. We think trends, we design trends and we are inspired by trends. We borrow a little of everything and in this way try to develop our own style a little further.

Many new trends make use of graphic elements and techniques: something added to the image. A photograph with a text in it is not a graphic design though. Photographers borrow from designers and designers from photographers. We sit on each other’s chair and like to interfere in each other’s matters, matters we had no former knowledge of. Sometimes we even think to know better. This leads to strongly varying results and irritation concerning the interference of the other party.

We have a lot of know-how, but too little know-why. We know more about the world seen from space than about our neighbours. We are bombarded with information we don't need. That surplus of information influences our way of seeing. A fatigue emerges which is difficult to change into real interest.

It is not just in the profession of photographers and graphic designers that the world has changed so much during the last decade. Art has become virtual, museums have become interactive. (LINK) Moreover the changes in cultural structure demand a more careful communication in advertising and design (INIVA LINK). Contemplating on the complex cultural values has become more important now that different views meet more easily. This forms a challenge not only for investigating ways of communication but also for designers, photographers and artists (Universes LINK).

We, photographers and graphic designers, would like to communicate more with our images than merely recording the event: we desperately want to be different. Though this is not new since Marshall McLuhan (McLuhan LINK), the medium has become the message. But to throw away all our hard learned values for this, is something hard to accept. We will have to occupy ourselves more with the message, what we want to convey, than with the image itself, that is making nice pictures. It will be a challenge to build on this new tradition, making use of all the possibilities. Maybe we can learn to see again? ('Ne pas plier' LINK)

Although the problematic period for photographers is caused by a complex of factors the situation nowadays reminds me of the little boy who has been given all the possible toys he ever wanted and was thrown in a state of paralyses.
Photographers themselves will have to establish a new definition of their profession. What are the new qualities and skills a photographer will need for the future? Facing and approaching are the right solutions for (fearful) innovations. What established structures will have to disappear? What will takes its place, what will emerge after photography? Could it be, that a whole new profession will develop, combining all these specifications?

Friday, 20 November 2020


Feng Mengbo (1966) is a young Chinese artist who lives and works in Beijing. His work combines his experiences as a child of the Cultural Revolution with contemporary Western technology and the visual language of video games. His interactive CD-ROM ‘Taking Mt. Doom by Strategy’ mixes the video game ‘Doom’ with images from the Chinese revolutionary opera ‘Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy’.
Feng Mengbo at the DOCUMENTA of 1997 in Kassel, Germany
'My Private Album. 1996'
Interactive installation

The original idea was to build an archive of photos and audio recordings of his family. Soon he realized, that it does not only belong to him but to all Chinese families. Nevertheless, he still liked give the work the title "My Private Album." (From the artist's video channel)

Feng Mengbo Veenman drukkers Open Borders Open Minds

this work was used by CIRCLE-24 for an advertising campaign 'Open Borders, Open Minds' of VEENMAN DRUKKERS (NL) 




Feng Mengbo
Address: Xinyuanjie 51-2-201
Beijing 100027, P. R. China


1966 born in Beijing
1985 graduated from the Design Department of the Beijing School of Arts & Graft
1991 graduated from the Printmaking Department of the Central Academy of Fine
Arts, Beijing


1994 'Game Over: Long March', Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong

1992 Art Asia, Hong Kong
1993 China's New Art, Post-1989, Hong Kong Arts Festival and Taipei
1993 Mao Goes Pop, Melbourne, Australia
1993 the 45th Venice Biennial, Italy
1994 New Art From China, Post-19889, Marlborough Gallery, London
1995 Visions of Happiness (Ten Asian Contemporary Artists), Tokyo, Japan
1995 Configura 2 (Dialogue of Culture), Erfurt, Germany
1995 Kwangju Biennale, Kwangju, Korea
1995 Des del Pais del Centre: Avantguardes Artistiques Xineses, Centre d' Art
SantaMonica, Barcelona, Spain
1995 Der Abschied Von Der Ideologie, Hamburg Culturbehorde, Germany




Digital Reality

  On Monday afternoon the 20th of May 1995 from 12.00 - 16.00 hrs. a workshop is planned with the following subjects:           -Digital R...