Theme

Blueprint

By 2017, both photography and graphic design are in a fascinating transformation process. These disciplines raise questions about their traditional origins and try to reinvent themselves. Many photographers explore how they can use the ‘traditional’ camera differently and use graphic design, including its spatial and tactile capacities to convey their view of reality. You could almost speak of a visual revolution that plays with prevailing conventions, and forces are bundled to dismantle the idea that camera-vision equals truth. A counter-reaction to our contemporary media culture full of ‘Fake Truths’, journalistic image editing scandals and brightly polished ideals and realities.

Who would’ve thought that it would surmount to this, when in 1843, ‘Photographs of British Algae’ was published, labeling British botanist Anna Atkins as the first ‘recognized’ female photographer. Her special collection of 307 blueprints of British seaweed species is one of the first photo books in modern history. These historical blueprints still show an intricate combination of scientific research, technical mastery, and wondrous beauty. Although this photographic process has almost become redundant and is, in its practical application, replaced by various digital applications, the term Blueprint is still vividly used as an analogy in our daily expressions; as a plan of execution or a prototype of an existing object or reality.

Fotofestival Schiedam has therefore chosen Blueprint as its fifth festival theme. To emphasize that reality as expressed in photography can no longer be perceived as straight-forward or as a realistic blueprint. New techniques and applications that blur boundaries and change the fiber of both media, offer opportunities and challenges for the future of visual culture. They have the capacity to express narratives that changes our perception of reality and truth, emphasizing that those -larger than life- concepts are subjective and ever-changing, and are foremost in the eye of the beholder.