“As one who daily traffics in images, I take seriously the interplay between vision and reality. I believe in the potential of photographic process to reform or re-envision our reality by presenting unique ideas and perspectives.”
Traditionally defined as having unusual foresight and imagination, visionaries have often faced negative repercussions for challenging societal conventions. Galileo Galilei, for example, was hounded by the Catholic Church for publicizing his observational hypothesis that the Earth revolves around the Sun and is not, in fact, the center of the universe. This is telling as the destabilizing effect of Galileo’s belief had the power to literally shift humankinds’ worldview off-center. Many more free thinking individuals in society have been persecuted as dangerous while still others have been celebrated for their clairvoyance, the acceptance or rejection being largely dependent on the historical and political context of the day.
Today’s world remains similarly dependent upon visionaries to look deeply at the world as it is and envision the potential successes and pratfalls of the future. Numerous essays have been written, for example, on the significant impact of creative science fiction writers in helping to shape the research and experimentation of scientists. By indulging in the imagination and sharing their thoughts, writers such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne inspired legions of tinkerers to tease out potential facts and fantasies contained within the stories.
As one who daily traffics in images, I take seriously the interplay between vision and reality. I believe in the potential of photographic process to reform or re-envision our reality by presenting unique ideas and perspectives.
Although the digital age is not without its own challenges, the photographers in this exhibition, entitled “New Visions”, thankfully operated without fear of censorship or persecution. All of the photographers who took part in this show have struck-out into unexplored territory and attempted to test the limits of their image making ability as well as our perceptive faculties. While shaping this exhibition I was repeatedly confronted with visual information at once strange and disturbing. Overall I was quite impressed with the multiple applications of digital imaging technologies as well as the widespread use of seemingly outdated analog processes that collectively seemed to remake the world with fresh eyes and an open mind.
Michael Itkoff is a Founding Editor of Daylight Magazine, a print and online publication. Daylight has become one of the premier showcases for contemporary photography, by collaborating with established and emerging artists, scholars and journalists. Itkoff has been a reviewer for New York Photo Festival, En Foco, Critical Mass, ASMP and Santa Fe Center for Photography. He has been a recipient of the Howard Chapnick Grant for the Advancement of Photojournalism (2006), a Creative Artists Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Arts Council (2007), a Puffin Foundation Grant (2008) and recently published his monograph, Street Portraits, Charta Editions 2009.