Vilém Flusser. ‘The Photograph as Post-Industrial Object: An Essay on the Ontological Standing of Photographs’ Leonardo, 19:4, 329-332, 1986
The Latin term ‘objectum’ and its Greek equivalent ‘problema’ mean ‘thrown against’, which implies that there is something against which the object is thrown: a ‘subject’. As subjects, we face a universe of objects, of problems, which are somehow hurled against us. This opposition is dynamic. The objects approach the subject, they come from the future into the subject’s presence.
The shock between subject and object occurs over the abyss of alienation which separates the two. The present tendency is to relegate this shock from human subjects to automatic apparatus. Automatic cameras may serve as an example.
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Warfield, K., 2017. MirrorCameraRoom: the gendered multi-(in)stabilities of the selfie. Feminist Media Studies 17, 77–92. https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2017.1261843
Mark Deuze (2012) suggests that in our increasingly mediated lives, perhaps we are the medium. Theorists of Internet and social media studies have tackled similar befuddling questions where we’ve become at once producers and consumers—pro-sumers (Alvin Toffler 1980)—or simultaneously producers and users—produsers (Karl Fahringer and Axel Bruns 2008). Studying audiences at this period in history is like “wrestling with a jellyfish” (Justin Lewis 2013) because, among other things, audiences could be both always and everywhere (Peter Vorderer and Matthias Kohring 2013) or everywhere and nowhere (Elizabeth Bird 2003).
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Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin, ‘Digital Photography’, pp.104-112, in:
Bolter, J.D., Grusin, R., 2003. Remediation: understanding new media. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
Many remediations are reciprocal in the sense that they invite us to imagine each medium as trying to remediate the other. In such cases, deciding which medium is remediating and which is remediated is a matter of interpretation, for it comes down to which medium is regarded as more important for a certain purpose.
Computer photorealism is trying to achieve precisely what digital photography is trying to prevent: the overcoming and replacement of the earlier technology of photography.
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Zahid R Chaudhary, ‘Sensation and Photography’, pp.1-35, in:
Chaudhary, Z.R., 2012. Afterimage of empire: photography in nineteenth-century India. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis; London.
How might we reorient our understandings of colonial representations if we shift our focus to that interface between bodies and world that is the precondition for making meaning?
In Afterimage of Empire I argue that, following the well-traveled routes of global capital, photography arrives in India not only as a technology of the colonial state but also as an instrument that extends and transforms sight for photographers and the body politic, British and Indian alike.
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Junko Theresa Mikuriya, ‘Introduction’, pp.1-9, in:
Mikuriya, J.T., 2017. A history of light: the idea of photography. Bloomsbury Academic, London.
Its apparent instability belies its generosity; its hospitality is such that its boundaries are porous and mutable, inviting the encroachment of others. Hence photography is often considered to be overly reliant upon its surroundings; attempts to define and to theorise photography would reduce it to a set of cultural, social, political or technological productions, identifying its history solely as the development of the photographic camera, or the inevitable outcome of a changing aesthetic sensibility.
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Birk, L., Foley, S., 2013. Afghan box camera. Dewi Lewis Publishing, Stockport, England.
Gulbert would recite prayers and verses and blow on the camera, and then take out the photographs announcing, “A MIRACLE!”
In Afghanistan in the 1950s a simple hand-made wooden camera known as the kamra-e-faoree began to be used widely in the country for the first time.
Further afield in industrialised Europe and North America, patented relations had already appeared in the 1910s; whilst the photograph process the camera used was first introduced by William Henry Fox-Talbot in 1840s England.
In contrast […] to photography as a thing of the elite, the kamra-e-faoree brought photography to the common man and quite literally, to the street.
Only a narrow pavement slot was required to fit a camera, a chair and a cloth backdrop. The chair in which the customer posed for the portrait could also serve the photographer as a perch on which to rest or even sleep in quieter times. The camera lid provided a handy platform on which to place a pair of scissors and box of photo paper as well as hold a mug of tea and a saucer of sweets.
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Allan Sekula, ‘The Body and the Archive’, pp.3-64, in:
October, Vol. 39 (Winter, 1986). MIT Press.
The sheer range and volume of photographic practice offers ample evidence of the paradoxical status of photography within bourgeois culture. The simultaneous threat and promise of the new medium was recognized at a very early date, even before the daguerreotype process had proliferated.
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Allan Sekula, ‘On the Invention of Photographic Meaning’, pp.84-109, in:
Burgin, V. Ed. 1982. Thinking Photography. Palgrave Macmillan, London.
The meaning of a photograph, like that of any other entity, in inevitably subject to cultural definition. The task here is to define and engage critically something we might call the ‘photographic discourse’.
A discourse is defined as an arena of exchange, that is, a system of relations between parties engaged in communicative activity.
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Joel Snyder & Neil Walsh Allen, ‘Photography, Vision, and Representation’, pp.143-169 in:
Critical Inquiry, Vol.2, Autumn 1975.
Is there anything peculiarly “photographic” about photography – something which sets it apart from all other ways of making pictures?
[…] for most of this century the majority of critics and laymen alike have tended to answer these questions in the same way: that photographs and paintings differ in an important way and require different methods in interpretation precisely because photographs and paintings come into being in different ways.
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Joel Snyder, ‘Picturing Vision’, pp.157-171, in:
Yates, Steve. ed. Poetics of Space: A Critical Photographic Anthology. University of New Mexico Press, Albequerque.
Our willingness to accept photographs as natural and mechanical records of what we see underscores the power of our belief that certain kinds of pictures achieve significance because they are “natural” – meaning that such pictures are related to what they depict in exactly (or roughly) the same way vision is related to what we see.
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