A New American Picture

In my previous post responding to the exercise ‘Is appropriation appropriate’ I commented that I thought Doug Rickard’s project ‘A New American Picture’ (http://www.dougrickard.com/a-new-american-picture/) tried too hard to repurpose the images by photographing the images on his computer screen. I’ve been thinking again about this and am now not so sure about my dismissive response.

Is photographing a computer screen any more cheating than using a scanner to copy images from a magazine? I copied these images from a holiday adverts in a newspaper magazine and cropped them to remove any identification of the original purpose. I’m borrowing (appropriating?) the idea from Richard Prince who has similarly used magazine advert photographs as a basis for his work.

I wanted to retain the sense of exciting travel possibility but remove all evidence that these were originally adverts. I’ve no plans to do anything else with this as an idea (not yet anyway) but really it was to try and draw a parallel with what Doug Rickard has done.

Is my using a scanner to get these images really any different from Rickard photographing his screen? We are both using an intermediate technology to reuse existing images to show a different meaning to the original intention behind the images. In fact mine are probably ‘cheating’ more since I have edited the original advert.

In retrospect I think my initial reaction was rather based on the fact that he didn’t need to do this; since the images were already on his screen he could have just saved them as they were. It’s not wrong to do this and having now thought more about it I’m beginning to get a better idea of what he meant here.

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