Synecdoche & Haiku: Photography Beyond Ubiquity

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Michael Rubin

Fine art photographer, Director - The Rubin Collection

Everyone has a camera. Two billion new photographs are created every single day – this is more than all the photographs created, in aggregate, from the birth of photography for the next 150 years. But the photos we’re creating are generally disposable, unmemorable, and generally only of interest to a small group of close friends. What, then, is photography for? What can we do to make our photos better?

Rubin will describe the movement in photography called “Modernism,” evolved 100 years ago as cameras were first proliferating into the public sphere. Then he will show how he moved from the merely utilitarian role photography had assumed by adopting two literary concepts—synecdoche and haiku—that he literally and metaphorically applies to every day photography. In an hour your relationship with your camera may transform past the image, past the cliché, back to a way photography used to be: unique images with purpose, structure, humor and beauty.

Photo: “New York” 1946 © Elliott Erwitt