The past several decades have seen our assumptions about photographed reality challenged; we now understand that photographs can capture a counterfeit representation of people, places, and things in the real world. Despite these manipulations however, these pocket-sized frozen moments in time continue to offer a way of seeing and remembering the “real thing.”
During the 1960s and ’70s artists explored photography’s potential to reach beyond mechanical reproductions of conventional subjects. Artists such as John Baldessari, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Christian Boltanski, Sarah Charlesworth, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, and William Wegman began appropriating camera-made images and using them in new ways that often confounded established ideas of appropriate subject matter. Their images — photography as well as video — addressed broader and more complex issues than was possible with existing media, especially that of straight photography.