Lauching tonight, Glitch is an exhibition of both accidentally and artistically 'broken' images, taken from Getty Images' collection of stock photos. Here the curator, Getty's Paul Foster, discusses how the failures of technology bring a humanity to these images that's hard to find in perfect photography.
It’s an image of an uncanny landscape, recognizably rocky and sandy, but then there’s the hills of a place called the Taurus-Littrow Valley. It’s like any other unevenly exposed night-time photo taken by an amateur. But if it came up on your smartphone timeline you’d read 'December 1972'. The tourist, a science tourist, is 238,000 miles from home, and he is an astronaut on Apollo 17. Over 40 years later, in a culture of pervasive smartphone and social imagery, the mistake, the ‘fail’, the ‘Glitch’, is the currency of social media.
In 2014 the ‘Glitch’ aesthetic has become part of everyday social currency through photo-sharing. The smartphone images we take and send each day are often out-of-focus, badly framed, with content that presents everyday life as a series of abstracted forms, communication shortcuts – ‘here is my dinner’; ‘look at my feet’. And if the photo looks a little bit too professional don’t worry, there’s the smartphone software programmed to re-create the visual effect of ‘glitch’ such as lens flare. The ‘fail’ is so desirable we now have systems designed to perfect and simulate ‘glitch’.
Read on to learn more about the Glitch aesthetic trend. This image is courtesy of NASA, the others are from Getty's Glitch exhibition.