Social Photography V
First presented in 2011, carriage trade’s Social Photography exhibitions have catalogued the rapid transformation of cell phone photography over the last several years. From a novelty medium existing between the (then) more important voice and text functions of mobile phones, to the engine behind the gargantuan image processing mills of Instagram and Facebook, cell phone camera images have become a ubiquitous presence in our lives.
Functioning as a bene t exhibition to help support upcoming program- ming at carriage trade, there is no particular theme guiding Social Photography V apart from how the cell phone camera is most often used. Both artists and non-artists email images from their phones to carriage trade which are then formatted, printed on 5” x 7” paper and sold online and in the gallery during the exhibition.
With many cell phones awash in a constant stream of social media imagery, the opportunity to pause and reflect on any given image is in short supply. Providing a physical alternative to the perpetually vanishing images on Instagram, Social Photography pictures “stay put”, existing as a contemporary image archive of roughly 200 cell phone camera subjects and preoccupations.
Less a sanctioning of a new medium than a hybrid of a traditional exhibition format and the wider net of social media, Social Photography also functions as a means to sustain and expand carriage trade’s community, which exists in the combined spheres of online experience and the irreplaceable physicality of the exhibition space itself.
While the increasing sophistication of cell phone technology is leading to a professionalization of the medium, the ubiquity of cell phone cam- eras and the speed with which the images are transmitted has led to an almost unconscious pictorial transmission of our day-to day lives. With an open-ended policy on submissions and an intentionally wide range of participants, the goal of Social Photography is to take regular measure of a perpetually evolving image-making technology with broad implications for visual culture.