Embodying the monster

Margrit Shildrick, ‘Introduction’, pp.1-8, in:

Shildrick, M., 2002. Embodying the monster: encounters with the vulnerable self, Theory, culture & society. SAGE Publications, London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif.


What are the figures of difference that haunt the western imaginary, and what would it mean to reflect on, rework and valorise them?

On the one hand, I turn to the monster in order to uncover and rethink a relation with the standards of normality that proves to be uncontainable and ultimately unknowable.

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Labors of Likeness: Photography and Labor in Marx’s “Capital.”

Daniel A. Novak, 2007. Labors of Likeness: Photography and Labor in Marx’s “Capital.” Criticism 49, 125–150.


This essay provides a new technological and discursive context for Karl Marx’s
theory of the laboring body and reproduction, and in doing so, seeks to change
the way we read Marx’s relationship to visuality, photographic reproduction, and
mechanical realism.

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Review of Gisèle Freund’s La Photographie en France au dix-neuvième siècle: Essai de sociologie et d’esthétique

Walter Benjamin, ‘Review of Gisèle Freund’s La Photographie en France au dix-neuvième siècle: Essai de sociologie et d’esthétique’, 1938

Benjamin, W., Leslie, E., 2016. On photography. Reaktion Books, London.

Research into the history of photography began about eight to ten years ago.

Gisèle Freund’s study represents the rise of photography as conditional on the rise of the bourgeoisie and is successful in making this conditionality comprehensible in relation to the history of the portrait.

Setting out from the portrait technique that was most widespread during the ancien régime, the costly ivory miniature, the author illustrates the various procedures which around 1780 – that is, 60 years before the invention of photography – pushed for acceleration and price reduction and, thereby, a wider diffusion of the demand for portraits.

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Philippe Dubois’s L’Acte photographique

Roger Cardinal. 1992. Philippe Dubois’s L’ Acte photographique. History of Photography 16, 176–177. https://doi.org/10.1080/03087298.1992.10442546


[…] roughly speaking, Dubois suggests, the nineteenth century emphasized the documentary sobriety of the camera, while the twentieth century has foregrounded its transfigurative or abstractive propensities – the author points to a third position based upon the tenet that ‘one cannot theorize about photography except in terms of its referential inscription and its pragmatic efficacy.

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Trace-Image to Fiction-Image

Dubois, P., 2016. Trace-Image to Fiction-Image: The unfolding of Theories of Photography from the ’80s to the Present. October 158, 155–166. https://doi.org/10.1162/OCTO_a_00275


After the incredible impact of the posthumous publication of Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida in 1980, we saw, throughout the decade, a great number of more or less theoretical books, of special issues of journals (as well as new journals), of French translations of important texts, and countless colloquia on this theme, all of which bear witness to the extraordinary moment of vitality of this period at the end of the Structuralist years, a period that opened onto essentialist, phenomenological, and even ontological questions.

It was, we could say, a period of invention of “photography as theoretical object.”

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The Image as a Networked Interface

Yael Eylat Van-Essen, ‘The Image as a Networked Interface: The Textualization of the Photographic Image’, pp.259, in:

Rubenstein, D., Golding, J., Fisher, A., 2013. On the verge of photography: imaging beyond representation. Article Press, Birmingham, UK.

Mitchell proposes relating to pictures as to living entities with needs, which we should try to relate to on their own terms.


The suggestion that we attribute a subjectivity of their own to living images, as opposed to examining them according to the meanings they create, can be seen as sequential to thought rooted in the theories of Nietzsche and Heidegger, and later, in the works of other theoreticians such as Gilles Deleuze and Jean-Luc Nancy, who sought to relate to a work of art using the question of its “being”.The image, according to them, has its own being that is not derived from the object it represents. It is not a copy or an imitation of something external to it; it is an autonomous entity in its own right.

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Modulation after Control

Yuk Hui, Modulation after Control, New Formations 84-85, On Societies of Control, ed. J. Gilbert and A. Goffey, 2015, 74-91.


In control societies, Deleuze proposes, we can observe a new form of operation that is no longer about the enclosure of space. To be more precise, it is no longer a control that explicitly and directly imposes its violence or force on individuals; and nor does it archive their obedience according to its institutional and social code, as we can see in the example of prisons.

Rather, this new type of control is characterised by creating a space for the individual, as if he or she has the freedom to tangle and to create, while their production as well their ends follow the logic of intangible forces. If we understand the first form of control – direct intervention – as moulding [moulage], then this second form of control can be understood in terms of modulation.

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Now and Then: Commodity and Apparatus

Victor Burgin, ‘Now and Then: Commodity and Apparatus’, pp245-xxx, in:

Burgin, V., 2018. The camera. Essence and apparatus. Mack, London.



[In reference to an essay Burgin published in 1969]

[…] my essay proposed that art was to be neither made nor judged in accordance with purportedly timeless aesthetic values, but should rather be conceived in response to its broader historical situation. 

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Photography as Industrial Occupation for Women

Jabez Hughes, ‘Photography as Industrial Occupation for Women’, 1873, in:

Anthony’s Photographic Bulletin, vol. 4 (1873), pp.162-166; originally published in the London Photo. News.

and pp.29-36, in:

Palmquist, P.E., 1989. Camera Fiends & Kodak Girls: 50 selections by and about women in photography, 1840-1930. Midmarch Arts Press, New York.


A little army of of workers were sudden//ly called forth to put it in practice, and now that it has definitely taken its place as one of the art industries, the question may fittingly be asked, by those interested in spreading the domain of female labor, whether this art offers a fresh outlet for women’s energies – whether this supplies to them a new field of legitimate, honorable and remunerative labor.

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Photography from a Woman’s Standpoint

Catherine W. Barnes, ‘Photography from a Woman’s Standpoint’, Anthony’s Photographic Bulletin, vol. 21, no. 2 (January 25, 1890), pp.39-42

pp.63-67 in:

Palmquist, P.E., 1989. Camera Fiends & Kodak Girls: 50 selections by and about women in photography, 1840-1930. Midmarch Arts Press, New York.


I have been asked to say something to-night on photography viewed from a woman’s standpoint. Having trained myself to look at it simply as a worker, you must pardon me if I, occasionally, in the interest of the subject, step off my own special platform.

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