Lomography's Prophecy of the Analogue Future No. 5 is ‘Film & Paper ensure Originality, Authenticity and Eternity’…But what exactly is ‘Authenticity’? Let’s take a closer look…
What is Authenticity?
When something is ‘Authentic’, it’s real, genuine and truthful. On the other hand, when something is inauthentic there’s a sense in which it isn’t being true to itself or is giving a false impression of how things are in reality.
Authenticity in Philosophy
The idea of Authenticity was a core part of the Existentialist Philosophies of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. They believed that all around us, every day, there are external factors trying to change and influence us – For example, salespeople try to tempt us into buying things we don’t want or need and TV shows project an image of an ideal person that we are supposed to aspire towards. The existentialists believed that being ‘authentic’ involves being true to ourselves and our feelings despite these external temptations. Sartre thought that we are free and responsible beings, and that we must act as such by not giving in to these pressures and temptations which we face.
Authenticity in Art
Think of your favorite works of art and, more specifically, your favorite photos. Why do love them so much? What makes them special to you? Well, one of the ways we normally value artworks is because we feel that they capture or express something differently – They aren’t clichés or copies. They aren’t just saying the same old things in the same old way. They are original and real. They are Authentic.
Sartre thought that one of the most Authentic art forms was Jazz music. Like Lomographers, Jazz musicians are ‘in the moment’ when they produce their art. They aren’t thinking about results, nor are they are trying to conform to an ideal of how they should be – They are just doing what they love, following their feelings and expressing their freedom.
Be true to yourself and to your art…
Now consider the process when you take an analogue photo. You load the film into the camera. You take a photo and light shoots through the shutter and hits the film. You hold the print in your hands once it’s been developed. You feel the paper, you see the grain. You are holding something real. Something original. Something Authentic.
Want to learn more about Authenticity and Existentialism? Read this Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry