Excerpted from the Hunter Drohojowska-Philp article, Getty's Experimental Photographs and Paris Photo on KCRW:
One of the most conspicuous and critically appraised aspects of recent photography has been the rise of the photograph made without a camera or at least, without a camera as it has been traditionally employed. In other words, without the very invention that had once seemed so revolutionary, the ability to quickly capture and reproduce an exact picture of the real world.
But cameras, now reduced to being cellphone accessories, have come to seem less important to these artists than processes by which prints were made. These are photographs made with light, chemicals and photo–sensitive papers just as they were in the pre–digital era.
An engrossing selection of this work is on view at the Getty through September 6. Organized by Virginia Heckert, now acting director of the photography department. The show reveals the strengths and pitfalls of such a methodology and posits its place in the larger history of the medium.
Much of the history of photography was dedicated to idea of perfecting the technical ability to make a flawless print, controlling the silver tones and later the colors, avoiding scratches or other distracting bits on the surface, seducing viewers into leisurely acceptance of these apparently accurate scenes.