First presented in 2011, carriage trade's Social Photography exhibitions have become both a tradition and an ongoing survey of cell phone camera use. What began as a novelty medium seven or eight years ago now provides currency for the $100 billion picture mill of Instagram, which funnels 95 million images a day through its social media network via opaque algorithms that determine the order and context of what we see.
Unlike social media formats on our phones which encourage endless scrolling through a "bottomless bowl" of images, Social Photography cell phone pictures exist both online and in the gallery. Faced with a group of photographs in the exhibition space, any of which can draw one's attention or focus, accidental associations present themselves through proximity (their order is based on when images are emailed to the gallery) underscoring the alternative of seeing cell phone images in a physical setting free of social media filters.
Matching cell phone technology's near universal use, Social Photography embraces both the intentionally of artists and photographers who employ cell phone cameras for study or end use, as well as the casual non-professionals who might find themselves in the right place at the right time, and everything in between. Not limited to visual artists, the participants also include writers, curators, musicians, students, etc., reflecting the accessibility and ubiquity of cell phone camera technology.
Functioning simultaneously as a benefit exhibition to help support upcoming programming at carriage trade, there is no particular theme guiding Social Photography VII. Participants 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.
Less a sanctioning of an evolving medium than a hybrid of a traditional exhibition format and the wider net of social media, Social Photography continues to function 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.
Published: September 2019
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink: Full color
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