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.
Fed into and viewed on a "slot machine" scroll where one might "hit the jackpot" of likes, cell phone pictures are largely experienced on our phones. When presented as prints within the convention of a gallery setting, the basic components of the viewer’s relation to the space within which they encounter these images are present. Faced with a group of photographs, any of which can draw one’s attention or focus, the accidental associations through proximity (the order of the grid is based on when images are emailed to the gallery) underscore the alternative of seeing cell phone pictures in a physical setting free of social media filters.
Matching cell phone technology’s near universal use, Social Photography embraces both the intentionality 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., (see partial list of contributors below) 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.