Mercer Street ©2011 Wendy Whitesell
After much deliberation and negotiations with the piggy bank, I finally broke down and bought an iPad 2 yesterday... I snapped these shots with its camera function -after I left the Apple store- while meandering through the West Village and Washington Square. Later, I downloaded the app 'Snapseed' and mixed up some vintage-y post-production. The retro effects beg the question, besides the obvious aesthetic, why are we so drawn to these dreamy, yesteryear filters; faded Polaroids, ragged and splattered emulsion, crackly tints, and greenish /sepia tones, etc? They seem to be dominating social media lately and are understandably intriguing...After a quick thought, these two aspects of photography came to mind:
One, it's a visual step into fantasy... Photography is often limited to an act of documentation or simple memento, but as an art form, fantasy, sensation, and emotion are key elements to pushing a picture as an experience in and of itself. It can be an invitation to a created world; maybe one with associations you recognize, but view in a more fantastical or dreamlike way... Two, it's a simulated memory; an echo to our own past, or a past environment these subjects or effects once played a part maybe before our own existence. Their coordinates are the same, but the atmosphere and energy around them is different. What's compelling is they are in our presence, but with vintage editing, we can experience a collective 'memory' by photographing the subject in the here and now, but present it as if it may have looked in it's own era. I'll be thinking more about this as I work the images from both ends; a vintage film camera and iPad app. It's ridiculous amounts of fun and compelling food for thought.
6th Avenue © 2011 Wendy Whitesell
Washington Square Arch © 2011 Wendy Whitesell