Technology Fetishism in Amateur Photography Practices Close to The Post-Digital Era

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Hartono Karnadi



People, including amateur photographers, have been experiencing development on digital technology. Amateur phothographers are those who practicing photography as a hobby and join a photography club. They are motivated to improve their selves, to sosialize, and to participate in a photography contests. Although at first people doubted the quality and performance of the digital tecnology, until now it has been growing to become a fetish. In the practice domain, it is cherished as a god-powered machine able to do incredible tasks. This research aimed at studying the psychological and sociological conditions of amateur photographers at the shift of technology from analog to digital photography and close to the the post-digital era. Technology transformation has brought about significant impacts on photographers’ perspective about creating, displaying, and publishing photographs. It also influences visual styles in photography; technology fetishism in each period brings up a particular style. The qualitative data were collected from literature study and interviews with senior photographers famous for their achievements among the amateurs, especially those who joined the Salonfoto Indonesia. These senior photograpers experienced the shift on technology from analog to semi digital to digital and now they are facing the post-digital era. Shift on technology certainly demanded them to adapt and also change their thinking framework toward the new operating system, tools, and platforms. At the early stage, this transformation changed their paradigm. At first, they considered digitalization as a sophisticated confusing machine so that they tried to maintain the traditional values of analog photography that put priority on manual processes. On one hand, the increasing performance of digital technology offer effectiveness in the way that it simplifies the troublesome manual works. On the other hand, some questions arise: what phenomena will happen to amateur photographers’ creative process close to the post-digital era? Is digital technology the only tool to create outstanding photos? The result of this study shows that fetishism on digital technology in amateur photographers’ practices does not automatically become the only method employed in exploring their creativity sources. Digitalisazion in photography is an outcome from a hybrid technology that will always work hand in hand with its initial traits: the analog. Based on the aesthetical experiences of the amateurs, it can be concluded that digital technology functions only as a computing system to perfect the creative works. Technigue is important but not the most important one.

Keywords: fetishism, amateur, technology, analog photography, digital photography


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Budi Yuwono, aka Budi "ccline" is a digital imaging artist, living in Sleman, Yogyakarta.