Introduction to GUP #36 - New Realities




With the twenty-first century only in the beginning of its second decade, we decided to focus on what has been, ever since its earliest days, a significant motivation in our visual media: to see with new eyes. In other words, to discover 'new realities'.

Beyond the question if what we are witnessing today is or is not an unprecedented revolution in photography, we believe it is safe to say that the works of people like Koen Hauser, Danielle Kwaaitaal and Nermine Hammam are clear proof of artists having taken the concept of 'drawing with light' to the next level. Something that is also reflected in the works of emerging talents such as Alma Haser and Debbie Tea.

While fully embracing digitization and accepting that the plethora of synthesised images will continue to grow, it has nonetheless become difficult (if not impossible) to make a distinction between pictures that are 'real' and those that have been altered. In fact, as Phil Toledano points out with his A New Kind of Beauty series, plastic surgery and its ilk have even steered the corporeal away from the limits of the given.

We experience no sense of certainty from what we look at today. This is what makes it all the more enjoyable to look back and see the staged underwater photographs of Bruce Mozert again. His subaquatic portraits were made in the 1930s, a time well before the digital age. The models and the photographer were indeed there, under the surface.

But are Robin Schwartz' pictures of her daughter's magical relation with the animal world not fake? And what's the deal with Kerry Skarbakka's falling men? Welcome to a fresh and delicate real world!

Erik Vroons, Chief Editor