FOTODOK, space for documentary photography, asked author, critic and scientist Fred Ritchin to recommend best international documentary practices, determined by the theories from his latest publication Bending the Frame. Given evolving media and political climates, including the billions of images now available online from diverse sources, the purpose and effectiveness of media, in particular visual journalism, has been called into question. Ritchin addresses the emerging potential for visual media to impact society by asking: how can images promote new thinking and make a difference in the world?
What are we to believe? We have access to more information than we have time to absorb and it is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate independently through this giant reservoir. How do we get to the information that is relevant and important to us? There is a growing desire for filters to help us understand what is happening in the world around us: filters to provide useful context, parameters and a grip on the endless flow of data.
FOTODOK and Fred Ritchin asked ED, a collective dedicated to restoring the value of photography through editing, to look at Ritchin’s proposed best practices and to analyse them based on their ‘frame-bending’ qualities. ED consists of an artist, an image editor, a graphic designer and a philosopher, all of whom have their own approach to documentary photography and the given practices. ED formulated eight terms – ethics, realness, collectivity, use, beauty, process, immediacy, presence – which they use to filter information, generating a better understanding of international documentary practices and their meaning. Combining their knowledge, professional experience and personal judgment, the collective will explore new possibilities for documentary photography.
Outcome: unknown. Join the ride; it’s going to be exciting.