want to express my deep appreciation to Pedro
for inviting me here today. Our discussions on photography and life
over the last 13 years have encouraged experimentation and speculation.
And Pedro’s and Trisha’s significant involvement and
collaboration with the California Museum of Photography have brought
us a series of extraordinary exhibitions.
On this ZoneZero’s tenth anniversary I heartily congratulate
Pedro for a web site whose vision is treasured around the world.
Even before ZoneZero, Pedro explored in his own work the enormous
potential of digital photography to change the way in which we think
about and construct photographic images. Digital photography has
allowed Pedro to redefine the decisive moment as the digital moment
and move the document into the realm of magic realism.
ZoneZero’s 10th anniversary and fotoseptember bring together
people from around the globe to celebrate photography. But such
a celebration is I think curiously anachronistic. For with the advent
of the computer, photography has ceased to be a separate discipline,
indeed on some very significant level photographic practice as such
has ceased to exist. Never before in history has a single machine,
a single instrument, become the main tool for creative endeavor
the computer, rather than just providing a medium and a technology
has signaled the seamless integration of all visual, audio, cinematic,
and performative media. The computer does much more than integrate
the data behind music and videos, photographs, and performance.
Rather it has reaffirmed what in actually has always been the hallmark
of the vanguard: the indivisibility of human expression, the seamless
continuities of what we have come to think of as discrete media,
and the unlimited potential for the intermingling and amalgamation
of all creative disciplines.
Today I’d like to share with you five individuals we have
recently shown at the California Museum of Photography whose artistic
hallmark is this intermingling of disciplines. [When we first spoke
about this symposium, Pedro asked me to speak about the architecture
of photography, and as you will see I have taken him quite literally,
because the photographers about whom I speak are at times perhaps
more architect than photographer.] Their work is based on a world
which they fabricate, rather than on the real world which lies before
their camera. They all work with extensive stage sets rather than
with the virtual world of the computer, but it is the concept of
the virtual, the artificial, and the hybrid that animates their
I have chosen to tell you about them because, while their work at
times may appear to be digitally derived or altered, none of them
uses digital technology. Rather their work is made possible more
by the conceptual basis than the technology of new media. Hypermedia
provides the ideology and strategy for their practice. They all
share a distrust of traditional photographic genres, a desire to
reconstitute traditional narrative, and a sense of their work as
an investigation into the nature and foundations of visual communication.