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Visual Arts: Photography is “More Dead than Ever”, Says Wim Wenders

Renowned filmmaker and photographer Wim Wenders has declared photography to be “more dead than ever”, thanks to the rise of smartphones.

In a BBC video, Wenders said while “billions” of pictures are taken every day, photography “is more dead than ever”.

“The trouble with iPhone pictures is nobody sees them,” said Wenders. “Even the people who take them don’t look at them anymore, and they certainly don’t make prints.”

While more cameras today come with features meant to assist people in creating photographs, Wenders suggested these might impede creativity. “I know from experience that the less you have, the more creative you have to become,” he said.

Wenders also said selfies do not count as photography. “I take selfies myself, of course,” said Wenders, “but it’s not photography. Looking into a mirror is not an act of photography.”

Wenders is not alone in having this sentiment. Mexican photojournalist Antonio Olmos also said that phone cameras represent a threat to photography. “Photographers are getting destroyed by the rise of iPhones,” said Olmos.

“The photographers who used to make £1000 for a weekend taking wedding pictures are the ones facing the squeeze. Increasingly, we don’t need photographers – we can do just as well ourselves.”

For this reason, Britain’s Nick Knight refused to be identified as a photographer. “I think photography stopped years ago and we shouldn’t try and hold back a new medium by defining it with old terms,” Knight said in an interview with The Business of Fashion’s Tim Blanks.

“I call it image-making — please could someone get a better description of it — because that’s what I do… So it’s based on image. That gets away from the thing of truth. Photography has been saddled as the medium of truth for so many years. That’s where its criticism has always been directed, ‘This photograph has been manipulated’ … I’m very pleased that image-making has freed itself from those constraints.”

Do you share any of this view? Is photography dead, and has “image-making” taken its place?

Event/Exhibtion: BBC British Film Festival

BBC First British Film Festival is coming to Australia’s cities in its fourth year around.

Presented by Palace Cinemas, the festival features a spread of international award-winners, crowd favourites and Australian premieres that boast British culture, humour, and traditions.

This year, the festival focuses on diversity, with a black woman-directed film, A United Kingdom, opening the event.

Festival director Clare Stewart said her selection better reflects society at a time the film industry is seen as too white and men-oriented.

“We have a very diverse audience and the stories we bring to the screen should be reflecting that audience,” said Stewart.

Highlights include A United Kingdom (directed by Amma Asante), The Banksy Job (Ian Roderick Gray and Dylan Harvey), I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach), and Whisky Galore (Gillies Mackinnon).

Festival dates:

Sydney – October 25 to November 16
Canberra – October 25 to November 16
Melbourne – October 26 to November 16
Perth – October 27 to November 16
Brisbane – October 27 to November 16
Adelaide – November 2 to November 23

For more information, head to BBC First British Film Festival website.