Why Photography Now? 15 artists / 1 Question

Wang Yishu, Untitled, inkjet print, 2005

(The first in a two-part series from assistant curator of photography Lisa Sutcliffe, who organized both of our current collection exhibitions of Asian photography: The Provoke Era and Photography Now. Lisa posed a single question to the artists whose works are included in Photography Now.)

Photography, with its ability to “mirror” reality, has a more direct connection to the visible world than most other media, including painting and sculpture. It can also alter our perception of reality, either through the artist’s unique perspective, or by manipulation. Examining artistic decisions can reveal quite a bit about how a photograph is understood. Why was this picture made? Who is the intended audience? What did the artist decide to keep inside the frame or to crop out and how does that change our interpretation of the scene? Or perhaps the artist digitally manipulated the image to create something from his or her own imagination. In the digital age, the photographic medium is being redefined and artists are freer to create whatever image they imagine.

Photography Now: China, Japan, Korea presents SFMOMA’s recent acquisitions of photographs by artists working in Asia, and was conceptualized as a companion to our current exhibition of postwar Japanese photography. Even as globalization and technology have allowed for faster and more fluid cross-cultural influence, the artists represented in the show embrace varied approaches and offer diverse personal visions. Many record the changing urban fabric and the development of a new migratory population. What they all have in common is an interest in expressing themselves with photography. READ THE INTERVIEWS

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