Millions of images are uploaded to social networks every single minute (about one hundred thousand only to Flickr). They are mostly cellphone snapshots taken just to feel ourselves as part of the social network mirage. Captured with the will of seizing the time (All photographs are memento mori, as Susan Sontag wrote), paradoxically they fade as soon as they come, quickly becoming old useless stuff a bare few hours after they are shot. Even those who define ourselves as photography lovers frantically share our images without any chance to watch them for more than a few seconds. On account of our natural evolution, we are prone to imitate the world around us in order to discover patterns and find out explanations, and yet we watch so many pictures that we can't see any of them. So mighty is this deluge of images that, apparently, it makes more sense to adopt/recycle/rework preexistent photographs to create/prescribe new meanings, than to add new pictures to the wild, unleashed stream. The value or quality depends now on the usage. We define this fact as post-photography, at least as long as we don't find any other better term, paraphrasing Joan Fontcuberta.

But the fact that millions of people are taking pictures at any given second doesn't mean that taking pictures has no value. Millions of people have sex every minute around the World,  and that doesn't mean that having sex is an irrelevant act. We can have sex or we can make love, though, and there are subtle differences.

That said, contemplating photography can help us contemplate the world and understand ourselves. Nevertheless, contemplation requires a lofty perspective, an ambitious vision, a position achieved by gathering thoughts, efforts, and experiences to make sense of old meanings and discover new ones. Otherwise we fall into narrow-mindedness, intolerance, provincialism, and eventually a lack of mutual understanding.

That's one of the reasons why, as a society, we need Art. A life jacket for the Great Deluge of the Images.

And this is one of the reasons I keep photographing, trying to supply mirrored windows, framed with a purpose, whose final meaning can only be provided by the discerning observer. Since all of us are compulsively prone to name things, inside my narrow circle of friends we have resolved to call this Photosophy.


José Luis Briz, January 2018