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Contemporary Photography

Of all artistic mediums, photography is perhaps the most dependent on technological advances. Because of this, photography's methods and uses have greatly evolved since its invention. Contemporary photography is reflective of this evolution and progress. In the '80s and '90s, the incorporation of new media such as video, performance, and installation by artists redefined art and helped make photography one of the prominent artistic mediums.

As the definition of art expanded, so did the definition of photography. Fashion photographers became artists in their own right, with their work increasingly shown on museum walls.

Conceptual photography was also an important genre within contemporary photography, along with the use of photographic images for social and political critique and awareness. With the arrival of digital manipulation in the 21st century, a photograph's ability to depict reality is now a mere option rather than a must.

Quick Facts

  • Barbara Kruger's collages mixing photography and graphics helped bring issues of feminism and sexual inequality to the forefront
  • Andreas Gursky's "Rhein II" sold at Christie's New York in November 2011 for $4,338,500, making it the most expensive photograph ever sold at auction
  • Cindy Sherman's "Untitled #96" was sold in May 2011 at Christie's New York for $3,890,500, making it the second most expensive photograph sold at auction

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