What is Contemporary Photography?

September 29, 2015
What is Contemporary Photography?

What is meant by the expression, “contemporary photography”? Contemporary photography could be described as a photograph from our own time, compared to an image from a much earlier period. A relevant definition of the word contemporary is: “happening in the same period of time..of or in the style of the present or recent times… .” (1) Contemporary Photography is actually somewhere in the space in time between today, and the earliest inception of the medium. There are no bookends to defining a period for “Contemporary Photography”. It is a rolling and evolving view of photography from a contemporaneous moment in time. There are additional windows in this time period. Other terms used for these other windows for looking at photography might be “Vintage Photographs” (2) or “Modern Photographs” (3). What we refer to as a contemporary print is not a label that permanently attaches to an image. Instead, it is a reference to an image created that reflects our values, challenges and perceptions today or, in reference to a contemporaneous period for that image. (4)

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