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Ruth Van Beek
Courtesy Max J. Marshall, photography Ruth Van Beek

Introducing the world’s first ever Snapchat exhibition

Is this controversial new photography show a really lame idea or a stroke of pure genius?

Of all the social media apps, Snapchat is probably the most polarising. Initially designed as a way to send images and videos which self-destruct immediately after viewing, the majority of its original users were drunk 15-year-olds. Now though, it's gaining traction with a more mainstream audience, with people now freely using it as a form of everyday communication. 

Taking advantage of this rising popularity are curators Max J. Marshall and Paul Paper. Their new exhibition, This Is It/Nowis the app's first photography exhibition – allowing users to view work for one day at a time before disappearing into the virtual ether. Featuring six photographers – one for each 24 hour period – the show will allow users to view each photo or video for a few seconds at a time before it vanishes. 

“Snapchat seemed like a great platform to explore some of the questions that interested us,” Marshall explains. “ One of the features uniting artists presented in the show is their exploration of the idea of manipulation with regards to the photographic image. Snapchat being a medium that offers a seemingly “immediate” experience, we were interested to investigate this clash between seemingly manipulated content and a straight channel offering an immediacy of experience.”

Due to Snapchat's extremely limited editing functions, each photographer has been encouraged to approach the project in new, more challenging ways. Images are manipulated physically, outside of the app, as opposed to within it. For example, where one artist shoots his own iPhone playing short indiscernable snippets, the other places actual pieces of plexiglass in front of the camera's lens. 

“Given that most of the artists had never used Snapchat before, I think it has gone very well,” Marshall adds. “Each person has created works that reflect their individual concerns and artistic practice. The feedback we have been getting from the artists regarding their experience has been extremely positive.”

The exhibition ends tomorrow (September 13) with a panel discussion. More information is here. You can view it on Snapchat via username: thisisitnowshow