Through the Off-center Looking Glass

Photographer Miko Lim

Model Zippora Seven, Melissa Haro, Melanie Ribbe, Andrea

Photography has grown over the decades to be- come a fusion of art and technology. With the advent and rise of digital cameras, the artistic approach to photography has changed dramati- cally within the last ten to fifteen years.

One artistic movement, snapshot aesthetic, has become popular among photographers today. Snapshot aesthetic – the concept originates from ordinary people taking photos of their everyday lives – focuses on an off-center sub- ject involved in an everyday situation. Another aspect of the movement, which dates back to the 1960’s, is the lack of ‘seeing’ the edges of a frame through a camera’s viewfinder.

However, according to the Los Angeles-based Museum of Contemporary Art’s research, snapshot aesthetic involves the subject at the central column of a photograph. The result is the random filling of space due to other ac- tivities on the sides of the subject. When the movement began in 1958 via the works of Rob- ert Frank, photographers captured subjects in their everyday activities. For example, photog- raphers Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedland- er wandered the streets of New York City to capture glimpses of people in urban life. Thus, snapshot aesthetic did not involve a framed, manipulated image.

current issue