Photography functions both as a Mass Medium and as content for other Mass Media. It can be used as a means of documenting events and as an artistic medium to entertain/comment . The CBC News has been running a series of articles exploring Ottawa‘s past through archival photography. As with any form of Mass Media, these pieces of media reveal target audience, values. beliefs & ideologies, and convey intended and unintended messages.
The Anglo-Irish police officer in front of a French Canadian owned store reveal/suggest the cultural-socioeconomic structural lines of Canadian society . To further cement this image a truly Canadian, note the shop window. Red Rose Tea, advertised for sale in the shop window, is a classic emblem of Canada. Red Rose Tea was a beverage company established by Theodore Harding Estabrooks in 1894 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. It is considered an iconic part of Canadian culture and many consumers have a strong emotional attachment to the brand ( Only in Canada, eh ? Pity….. ).
The white working men pose depict their social class and the style of clothing of the time. Notice the little girls to the left dressed in very adult clothes of young ladies. Childhood was seen as miniature adulthood and girls & women had roles to fill that were as defined as the men posing in the shot.
The young girls in the following shot, infant Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and her sisters, resided in Ottawa during the WW II, they too had roles to play, even as children. They were emblems of a social structure, a society & people under threat, and the Yousuf Karsh portrait is intended to portray/represent a mother and her children who have sought sanctuary.
The potential of heroism & compassion can also be portrayed in scenes of tragedy and calamity , as the following images demonstrate.
Clicking the images will take you( new tab) to original CBC articles which include more images and information. Consider the values, beliefs & ideologies the that the CBC is trying to convey about Canada, Canadian culture and Ottawa, in our 150th year.
The 7th Principle of Mass Media Scans is, A new mass media technology will initially borrow the content and imitate the conventions of the mass medium that is currently dominant in a society. As the technology advances, the new medium will consume the older medium, turning it into content. This principle and the media text produced in this manner is what is called Necro-Media. This post features some examples of Necro-Media.
While exploring posts from fellow photography bloggers, I came across some tagged as Polamatic. The Polamatic app enables you to convert your phone shots into a retro aesthetic that turns the shot into a composition that has the features and qualities of an old Polaroid picture. I have some experience producing the Polaroid look, and PaintShop Pro imaging software includes a simple Polaroid frame effect which allows for the creation of Polaroid Transfer effects. As a challenge and an experiment, I used two shots I had taken at the local bowling alley, when my daughter was participating in the weekly Special Olympics bowling night. I tried to emulate as closely as possible the frame & look produced by a Polamatic app. It took a bit of time to create & modify the frames, and the viewer can judge for themselves these first attempts.
Let’s now consider how this all fits in with the concept of Necro-Media. To begin with, the app itself is such an example. The app allows the user to take digital photographs with their phone and turn them into digital representations of old Polaroid pictures. The Mass Media technology allows the user to imitate the codes and conventions of an earlier medium, Polaroid Photography. What I attempted in my experiment was to use other software to imitate the app. In one sense I was just doing the same thing as the app, so that is an example of the same type of Necro-Media. In another way, I was applying the principle to the app itself, by trying to emulate the Polamatic app’s features, including the use of dirt/scratches/folds and colourful text font. The final compositions are Necro-Media of Necro-Media.
The Steppin’ Out title for the first composition, brought to mind the classic jazz/swing standard, Steppin’ Out With My Baby, composed by Irving Berlin in 1948 and first performed by Fred Astaire in the movie, Easter Parade. I selected the 1993 video of Tony Bennet ‘s rendition of the song.
The music video was very successful at the time of its release. Helping to bring Bennett to the attention of a much younger generation, it established him as an elder statesman of a passing generation of entertainers. It formed a bridge bridge between very different times. We can see this video composition as both a homage to the past, and as an example of Necro-Media.
The first obvious component is the use of B&W to emulate the old classic Fred & Ginger movie musicals of the 1930s. The choice of wardrobe combines the Fred & Ginger style with elements of the contemporary look of when the video was released. The choice of camera angles, distances and staging also plays homage to the past. The mix of the older tap dancer ( could not find his name ) and the younger contemporary black dancers widens the target audience, while acknowledging the past and visually reflecting how much has changed in both the American entertainment industry & society.
As the technology advances, the new medium will consume the older medium, turning it into content. This is both figuratively and literally true in this video. Besides all the aesthetic imitation and use of codes and conventions, take note of what is included in the limited number of props. Included were, the early phonograph with the horn amplifier, the large records, the microphones included both 1930s nightclub that Bennett walks up to begin singing and a close-up of a radio studio microphone. The later goes with the old radio being tuned . The other technological prop was the fan typical of the early movies as a symbol of emotional heat and cool music.
Mass Media technology and the forms of media it generates are constantly changing and adapting. New art forms are created and old one respond to the impact, some adapt while others disappear, still others become specialty forms of art and communication. The recent changes in the WordPress Reader demonstrate this, but that is for another post. So now I will conclude & post this analysis; let’s see how it looks on the Reader.
Mass Media technology creates opportunities and can fill social needs when appropriate problem solving is applied to daily living conditions to the whole range of society.
Anmol Tukrel, a 17-year-old grade 12 student at Holy Trinity School in Richmond Hill, has created an app that helps visually impaired people identify objects and text. Tukrel’s free iPhone app, iDentifi, allows users to take a photo of virtually any object, and then describes that item in great detail back to the user. People can also take photos of text and have it read back to them, in one of 27 languages. Tukrel hopes it makes every day tasks — like picking out the can of pop you want — easier for people who are visually impaired.