In 2005, Switzerland's premier photo institution, the Musée de l'Elysée (www.elysee.ch) in Lausanne, celebrated its 20th anniversary by organizing an exhibit called Regeneration: We are all photographers now, which showcased the rise of amateur photography in the digital age and its inevitable mutation into its own full-fledged art form.
The museum looked at the work of those using digital cameras, as well as cell phone cameras and webcams. It is considered to be the first show to look at the way high tech is revolutionizing photography. Originally, the exhibit was presented both at the museum and (no surprise here) online. It then traveled to places like London and, believe it or not, Fort Collins, where it is right now.
The Colorado version of the show is called Regeneration: 50 Photographers of Tomorrow and is being presented at the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art (201 South College Avenue, Fort Collins, 1-970-482-2787, www.fcmoca.org), where it's been installed in the large mezzanine gallery and in the smaller space on the third floor.
The diplay brings together an international cast of participants, and though the idea behind the effort has to do with the increasing role of hobbyists in the medium, many of the included artists have photographic or art educations, and so are actually professionals, even if they use the same point-and-click methods as the self-taught artists.
Given the intentions of the show's organizers at the l'Elysée, there's no real theme; instead, the digital prints are meant to survey a wide range of approaches. Nonetheless, enigmatic figure studies — people set in unlikely situations — seem to dominate. A good example is Bianca Brunner's "Limbo 5" (pictured), a color digital print depicting a young woman in a fancy dress walking away from the camera in waist-deep water. It's hauntingly beautiful and has a vague otherworldly quality. Brunner, a Swiss artist, is one of the biggest names in the show.