Exposed Synthetic is an archive of the effects light has on digital sensors and reveals images that are singularly unique to this technology. With the camera pressed directly up to the light source, eliminating any sense of scale or surroundings, its images focus on the light itself: abstract patterns and intense and surprising colour appear from fluorescent bulbs, led screens, and CRT monitors and other light sources. At first these images appear to be by-products of post-production manipulation with no grounding in reality, however the opposite is true, they are a pure representation of reality, a reality that our eyes cannot see. By using the ubiquitous phone camera, this project strips away all the frills of the digital. There is no post-production manipulation applied to these images. This is an intentional choice that connects the images with the analogue practice of straight photography. However, these images are inherently digital. The noise and pixels reveal themselves in the details and there is no attempt to hide these artefacts. In no way can the images that make up the work, Exposed Synthetic, be classified as anything other than photographs. Everything about them is inherently photographic, including the methodology behind their creation, their conceptual underpinnings, and their presentation. By connecting the quote, “Photography is painting with light”, to the work contained in Exposed Synthetic I explore the connection between colour fields and abstract paintings. Through the digital method, the idea of painting with light can expressly be seen.
Exposed Synthetic is about light in its purest form. The chemical process that analogue photography has used for years is unable to produce images like these. The frequency of the bulbs and the refresh rate of older screens, combine with the particular quality of current small digital cameras combine to create this effect. Considering the current rate of technological innovation, it is possible that in a number of years we will not be able to recreate any of this. The pace of technological advancement mean current lighting methods and digital cameras can be replaced in a matter of months. The images contained in Exposed Synthetic examine the link that connects the analogue and the digital world without dismissing the benefits of either. The lights sources are all artificial, as natural light does not change drastically between the two methods. This artificial quality is fitting considering the proliferation of these types of light surrounding us, (advertisements, exterior and interior illumination, etc), in our increasingly digital world. Exposed Synthetic uses the proliferation of phone cameras as the production method and the subject matter simultaneously. Photography will always be a medium that is difficult to define and it will only become more difficult as the digital technology becomes even more impressive. Theories such as “post-media” have already proposed that digital will blend photography together with other mediums under that umbrella term (Shapely 6). However photography, whether digital or analogue, will always be about light; either sensorily or chemically recorded. Exposed Synthetic uses light as the subject and the pure, abstract, expression of it in digital photography. By adopting the practices of analogue shooting and rebuffing the temptation to manipulate the digital file, the abstract-looking photographs that make up Exposed Synthetic are simultaneously embracing the history and the future of photography. Shapely, Greg. “After the artefact: Post-digital photography in our post-media era” Journal of Visual Art Practices 10.1 (2011): 5-34. Print.