Blog Post | From Paul’s Desk

Sitting here staring at the mosaic of detritus stuck on the wall in front of my desk – exhibition invites, photocopies, reminder notes, a workflow diagram, St John Ambulance First Aid at Work Certificate, cartoons, Fire Extinguisher Colour Coding Card and photos, lots of photos. My eye is drawn to a small note – ‘Photography is Dead.’ I’ve seen this written a lot and I’ve heard it said even more. Clearly it’s wrong. Photography isn’t dead in fact its thriving. More photographs were taken last year than any previous year since its invention and more will be taken next year. Instead, if the statement read ‘Photography has Ended’ then I’d nod in some sort of agreement. Without getting too philosophical about it, there is a difference between ending and death. After all, everything, including art, has a beginning and an end. So what has ended in photography? It depends where you sit. Some will say the ability to earn a decent living from it. And others will say its ‘power.’ By that they mean the ability of the still image to change and influence events as it once did (think of the famous Napalm Girl photo in Vietnam, an image that helped end that war).

From Paul's Desk

Yet last week a single photograph of a drowned child, 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, held in the arms of a Police Officer changed events – that photograph singlehandedly prompted a huge outpouring of anger at the lack of help being given to refugees by European governments. Photography may well have changed, parts of it even ended, but its undeniable that it’s ability to symbolise and burn an event into our collective consciousness is as strong now as it has ever been.