These developments tell us something about the medium photography. It is, and it will forever be, this strange medium, still so poorly understood, struggling with the conflict between taking something from the world with a machine (of sorts) and imposing the human will and desires upon that. The New Pictorialism expresses this struggle, and our collective unease and fascination with it.
from The New Pictorialism, Joerg Colberg
There is some connection here between moments of transition in terms of the technology of photography itself and related shifts on the level of culture, so that “true” Pictorialism at the end of the 19th Century and beginning of the 20th was, in many ways, a response to the rise of mass consumption (including of images, facilitated by newly available technologies), while our own moment of change, which sees the photograph become more and more intangible, seeks to recreate the textures of analogue photographic material, as a kind of nostalgic attachment to the cultural certainties that these represent. Yet, the increased consumption of images that leave no physical trace, made with phones and shared on social media sites, is as much linked to our contemporary economies of speculation as Pictorialism was to the realities of modern industrialization.