The 21st Century Obsession
‘The 21st Century Obsession’, a pivotal societal element, and our go to Doctor, Therapist and Best Friend: our ‘mobile phone’. Captured through multiple images Ingrid Walker creates an exploration into societies dependence, obsession and reliance on technology, demonstrating its disconnecting presence on almost all individuals. Walker’s images evoke a sense of self-questioning as we are ultimately confronted with our own realization of our individual obsession and reliance on technology.
Intrigued by our individual perception of the obsession of technology, Walkers concept is highly influenced by the work of John Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’ (Berger, 1972). Berger comments upon the individuality of perceiving images and the messages that we identify from them. He states, “Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak” (Berger, 1972). Walker’s work is very much influenced by this statement as her concept of ‘The 21st Century Obsession’ is demonstrated visually, through individuals using their technology in iconic areas in Brighton. The clear presence of technology in Walkers images allows persons to take their own individual message from the photographs and question how technology is present and disconnecting in their own lives.
Best exemplified by street photographer Martin Parr, who’s photographic projects take an intimate, satirical and anthropological look at aspects of modern life; Walker captures moments in time to present a snapshot into the reality of an individual’s life. Much like Parr, as a photographer, she becomes a fly on the wall as they both capture societies reliance on technology through the art of street photography. With no definite starting era, Street Photography has developed throughout time exploring and representing societal changes from soldiers at battle in World War II to Walker’s interpretation of society now.
Despite the influence of Parr on Walker’s images, her work holds a clear air of originality through her antiquated styled images, an artistic choice that reinforces her concept of ‘The 21st century obsession’. Her images allow spectators to view them as if they were vintage, captured in the past, reinforcing her notion of our obsession with our technology, and allowing us to question whether we want our society to be presented as such. Walkers concept is further reinforced through the locational aspect of her images, captured in the hustle and bustle of Brighton Lanes, the images become quizzical and highlighting as we ourselves question whether we are guilty of neglecting our surroundings and disconnecting ourselves from reality.
To answer what an individual may personally take from Walkers collection of images based upon ‘The 21st Century Obsession’ would be impossible as “The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe” (Berger, 1972) However, Walkers intentions are not to force a message upon individuals, but allow them to individually think, question and consider their reliance on technology and its disconnection between themselves and their reality.
Berger, J., 1972. Ways Of Seeing. 1st ed. U.K, U.K: Penguin.